Thelma Pepper Biography



  • Born 1920 Kingston,  Nova Scotia.
  • Parents Operated L.D. Stevens General Store, Kingston, N.S.
  • Grandparents operated S.S. Stevens Lumber Company, Kingston, N.S.
  • Both Father and Grandfather passionate photographers and naturalists with major influence. Many hours spent in darkroom printing pictures.





  • B.S., Acadia University, Wolfville, N.S., 1941.  (Acadia Entrance Scholarship, Tennis Team)
  • M.S., McGill University, Montreal, QC (Major: Botany), 1943.





  • Husband Jim (1920 – 2003) – Professor and Head Organic Chemistry Department, University of Saskatchewan.
  • Four Children – All U of S graduates and varsity athletes. Encouraged children to find something they could excel in to support self-confidence in early formative years.





  • Strong literacy and creativity advocate –  improves personal wellbeing.
  • President Brunskill Elementary School Parents Advisory Council. Created first public school library in Saskatoon.
  • Saskatoon TV Panel Member – “Guidance of Children’s Reading: Pre-school Through the Fifth Grade”
  • Dedicated volunteer reader: Hospitals, senior residences, public schools and to the blind.
  • Key role in developing arts program at Saskatoon’s Sherbrooke Community Centre. In house restaurant named “Peppers” in honour of contribution to Sherbrooke Centre.





  • Passionate sports enthusiast – tennis, curling, bridge (500 Master Pts. and still playing).
  • Member Saskatoon Natural History Society – Banded birds under supervision of Dr. Stuart Houston, “Golden Eagles” hiking club and rare bird alert team member.
  • Saskatchewan Native Plant documentation – Over 150 native plants professionally mounted.


Vocation – Photographer


  • Rekindled youth interest in photography at age 60.   Photography provided a strong feeling of belonging; to a craft she enjoyed but more to identify with place and people of Saskatchewan – her adopted home – that she loved so much as an adult and as a mother and wife.
  • Productive and influential Saskatchewan photographer from age 60 to present, at age 97.
  • Nine Canada Council and Sask. Arts Board grants.
  • Four major photography exhibitions documenting the places and people of Saskatchewan, including audio interviews with subjects. Exhibitions travelled to art galleries and museums across Saskatchewan and to seven provinces and the Yukon Territories.  Exhibitions currently stored in permanent collections across the province including: Remai Modern; The Saskatchewan Arts Board; U of S Kenderdine Art Gallery; Mackenzie Art Gallery; and Sherbrooke Community Centre.
  • “Light Unleashed – The Photography of Thelma Pepper” – a 30-minute documentary film televised on both SCN and Access TV. Winner of 2009 SMPIA showcase Award.
  • National Film Board – “A Year at Sherbrooke” chronicles Thelma’s ongoing leadership in creation of arts programming for long-term residents.  World premiere Toronto, 2010.
  • Chosen “Patron” Of Saskatchewan Libraries Week, 2012.
  • 2014 Saskatchewan Book Awards – Book of The Year finalist – “Human Touch – Portraits of Strength, Courage and Dignity”
  • Lieutenant Governor’s Arts Award – Lifetime Achievement Award (2014).
  • Provides closing remarks a Saskatchewan Arts Awards (2016)
  • Artist Talks at schools and community groups. Latest Amy McClure House in Saskatoon, 2017, at age 97.