Elmer Ernest Roper was born in Ingonish, Nova Scotia in 1893. His family moved to Calgary in 1907, where he apprenticed as a printer and worked for the Calgary Herald. He married Goldie Bell in 1914 and the couple would have four children. In 1917 he became pressroom foreman for the Edmonton Bulletin. He started several businesses, including Commercial Printers Limited, Comset Business Forms Limited, and plastic Platemakers Limited.
Elmer Roper was active in the Labour movement. He was President of the Calgary Trades and Labour Council in 1916, and was Secretary-Treasurer for the Alberta Federation of Labour between 1922 and 1932. He was elected to the Provincial Legislature in 1942, and served until 1955 as the Leader of the Alberta Cooperative Commonwealth Federation.
In 1959 Elmer Roper won the Mayoral election, and did so again in 1961. Following his second two year term, in 1963 at age 70, Elmer Roper retied from politics. He and his wife retired to Victoria, British Columbia in 1975, and both passed away in 1994.
Mr. Roper was associated with the Edmonton Community Chest, the Edmonton Rotary Club, the Board of Governors of the University of Alberta, and the Canadian Red Cross Society. He was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from the University of Alberta in 1959.