BIELER, Jean-Henri (1892-1978)
Born on November 20th 1892 in Lausanne, Switzerland, Jean-Henri Bieler is the son of Charles Bieler, Calvinist minister and teacher, and of Blanche Merle d’Aubigné.
He began his studies in Switzerland and, following his family’s move to Montreal in 1908, he completed his secondary studies at the High School of Montreal. He then studied law at McGill University.
Bieler interrupted his studies in 1915 to take part in the war effort. He served as administrator of the Number 3 Canadian General Hospital, managed by McGill University, in the vicinity of Boulogne-sur-mer, France. In 1919, he completed his law degree at Khaki University, a temporary wartime branch of McGill University located in Ripon, England.
Between 1919 and 1941, Bieler worked for the League of Nations in Geneva. He initially worked as the private secretary of Sir Herbert Brown Ames, financial director and Canadian delegate to the League. Later, under the direction of Sir James Eric Drummond, he continued to oversee the financial management of the organization and was involved in the construction of the Palace of Nations in Geneva.
The League of Nations reduced its operations during World War II, and Bieler was recruited as Assistant Treasurer by James Arthur Mathewson, the Provincial Treasurer of Quebec. He moved to Quebec City in 1941. Bieler served under the governments of Adélard Godbout, Maurice Duplessis, Paul Sauvé, Antonio Barrette and Jean Lesage. As Deputy Finance Minister, he played an important part in the nationalization of electric companies in Quebec and in the foundation of Hydro-Québec.
After retiring at age 74, he was elected president of the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec between 1966 and 1969.
Onward, Dear Boys, a volume compiled by his son Pierre Bieler, contains many letters that Bieler sent from the front during World War I, along with other personal correspondence.
He died in the Town of Mount Royal on February 17th 1978. He is buried at the Abbott’s Corner #1 Cemetery in Frelighsburg, Québec.
He married Raymonde de Candolle on February 14th 1930, daughter of Augustin Richard Émile de Candolle, botanist, and of Louise Frossard de Saugy.
– Patrick Donovan, June 2015
- BIELER, Marc. Notes manuscrites lors du dévoilement du portrait officiel de Jean-Henri Bieler au Morrin Centre, 16 août 2009. Unpublished document.
- BIELER, Philippe. Onward, Dear Boys. Montreal, Kingston: McGill Queen’s University Press, 2014.
- “Find A Grave Index,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/QV2K-GR42: accessed 25 February 2015), Jean Henri Bieler, 1978; Burial, Abbott’s Corner, Monteregie Region, Quebec, Canada, Abbott’s Corner Cemetery #1; citing record ID 74415144, Find a Grave, http://www.findagrave.com.
- LALONDE, Jean-Louis. “Bieler, Charles (1860-1946).” Société d’histoire du protestantisme franco-québécois. http://www.shpfq.org/node/18
- “Obituary: Bieler, Jean-Henri.” The Gazette (Montréal), 21 February 1978.