Sen. Thomas Alexander Crerar was born on a farm in Huron County, Ontario in 1876. At age five, he came west with his parents to homestead in the Silver Creek District near Russell. There he received his schooling to age 12, helped on the farm and worked for others. He obtained his teacher’s certificate, teaching in local schools until he was able to acquire a quarter-section of Hudson Bay Company land.
He farmed with his wife, Jessie Hamilton, worked for others and operated a sawmill for several years. He was hired as manager of the Farmer’s Elevator at Russell and bought grain for a Winnipeg firm, Graves & Reilly.
When Grain Growers Company formed in 1906, Crerar became interested, attending a shareholders meeting in February 1907. In July 1907, he was elected a director and later that month became president of the company, serving to 1917. When the company amalgamated with Alberta Farmers Co-operative Elevator to become United Grain Growers, he served a further 12 years as president and general manager.
In 1917, he served as minister of agriculture in the Borden Union government and was responsible for the Wartime Food Control Board. He acted as leader of the Farmers Progressive Party in 1921. He again entered politics as minister of railway and canals in 1929; served as minister of mines and resources 1934 to 1935; member of the Cabinet War Committee and Cabinet Wheat Committee 1939 to 1945. He was appointed to the Senate in 1945 and retired in 1966.
Crerar had a keen and alert mind with fearless and forthright opinions which he expressed openly in his endeavors to improve the agricultural community.