FYI

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Notable Manitobans who died in 2011

  • Print

Jan. 6 -- Norma Walmsley, 90. She advocated for women's rights in Canada and around the world. Born and raised in Winnipeg, Walmsley was part of the very first squadron of women recruited by the Royal Canadian Air Force, rising to become senior officer in charge of women's division supplies for Canada and overseas. She was head of the political science department at then-Brandon College. She was co-founder of the MATCH International Centre, an international development agency operated by Canadians working in partnership with women around the world. She was honoured with the Governor Generals Award in commemoration of the Persons case, the Queens Silver and Gold Jubilee medals and named an Officer in the Order of Canada in 1993.


Jan. 12 -- Lionel Bouvier, 83. Private school students have him to thank for schoolbooks and school buses. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1952 and began his ministry at Holy Cross. He came to St. Emile Parish in 1960 and founded St. Emile Catholic School that same year. Three years later, realizing the province didn't cover schoolbooks or bus rides for private-school students, he encouraged six families and 21 students to go on strike for more than three months. That action culminated in the provincial government passing the Shared Services Act, leading to all students in the province receiving transportation and books.


Jan. 12 -- Ross Houston, 66. He was known as Mr. Perfect on the piano. He grew up in Norwood and showed talent on the piano at an early age. He accompanied Royal Winnipeg Ballet dancers and students in the studio for 44 years and for years would play the celesta during performances of the Nutcracker.

 

Jan. 16 -- Ron Thompson, 68. He told people in Brandon what their weather would be like. He worked at the now-defunct CKX TV where he gave weather forecasts for 37 years. He was known for his end phrase "Easy does it, my friends."

 

Jan. 17 -- Knut Haugsoen, 75. Architecture was his career but jazz music was his love. He was born in Norway and loved American jazz. He became an architecture professor at the U of M and taught for the next 38 years, all the while working on music. He formed a band, Vikrama, and released four CDs, one of which was nominated for a Juno award. He was about to release a new CD when he died.


Jan. 19 -- Zelma Zitzerman, 75. She loved writing and wrote childrens books using characters she came up with while making up stories for her own children. One of her characters, Trumpet the Elephant, later starred in a comic strip, which ran in 55 Gannet newspapers.


Jan. 20 -- Bill Werbeniuk, 86. He helped the local Ukrainian community after a career working in mental health. He came here from Ukraine and received degrees at the U of M. He joined the department of health and social development and rose to become Winnipeg regional director and then moved to become executive director of regional operations with Manitoba Health and senior mental-health planning officer. But he took early retirement to join the Ukrainian Canadian Congress and serve as executive director. He also served on the board of numerous Ukrainian organizations including the Holy Family Home, Ukrainian Canadian Professional and Business Federation and the Osvita Foundation.

 

Jan. 22 -- Merv Dillabough, 73. He opened the first SuperValu store while working with Westfair and later owned his own Canadian Tire. He was chairman of the Brandon Kiwanis Club and the Helping Hands Board. He was honoured with the YMCA Peace Medal in 2002 and was chosen by the Brandon Chamber of Commerce as Business Person of the Year in 1995.

 

Jan. 23 -- Elizabeth Buhler, 111. It was her long life that made her famous. She was born in Russia, but she was never officially certified as the oldest citizen in Canada because her exact date couldn't be verified due to Soviet Union leader Josef Stalin's destruction of all birth records. She married Isaac in 1924, and moved to Canada in 1925 with only a basket of possessions. She and her husband farmed south of Winkler and raised six children. Family members credited exercise and a good diet with her longevity and she could still sing childhood hymns on good days when she was over 100. She left 23 grandchildren, 55 great-grandchildren and 39 great-great-grandchildren.


Jan. 26 -- Henry Dadson, 96. He worked in insurance and contributed to the community. He was the comptroller of Monarch life Assurance and assistant general manager of Fidelity Life Insurance. He was a president of the Naval Officers Association of Winnipeg, and served as rear- and vice-commodore of the Winnipeg Canoe Club and treasurer and vice-president of the Winnipeg Ski Club. He also served as president of the St. Vital Family YMCA and chairman of the Winnipeg Community Chests budget committee.

 

Jan. 27 -- Michael Van Rooy, 42. He was a rising literary star. He was the author of three Monty Haaviko thrillers and was promoting his fourth when he died on a book tour. His first novel, An Ordinary Decent Criminal, was released in the U.S. last year. He was chosen as one of the city's arts ambassadors for its 2010 Cultural Capital of Canada campaign.

 

Jan. 28 -- Abe Arnold, 88. He was an advocate of human rights. He was editor of the Jewish Western Bulletin in Toronto and Vancouver, and worked on the Jewish Federation/Combined Jewish Appeal in Montreal as public relations director before coming to Winnipeg. He was western regional director of the Canadian Jewish Congress in Winnipeg and founding director of the Jewish Historical Society of Western Canada. He was key to creating the Manitoba Association for Rights and Liberties and served as its executive director. He was also an author whose books included Judaism: Myth, Legend, History and Custom from the Religious to the Secular.


Jan. 28 -- Chuck Green, 54. He was a zookeeper who didn't keep animals. A big supporter of the Winnipeg music scene, he was the co-owner of the Osborne Village Inn, which includes the bars The Zoo and Ozzys.


Jan. 30 -- Roy Bailey, 95. He was one of Carberry's original potato farmers and he once hosted the Queen. He was born on a farm in the Prosser District and had a successful cattle operation before switching to potatoes and joined a few area farmers to help establish the potato-processing plant in Carberry. He served as chairman of the early vegetable growers group that led to the Keystone Vegetable Producers Association. He spent several years as reeve of the RM of North Cypress and chaired the Carberry Hospital board. He was chosen by the Red River Ex as Mr. Manitoba Farmer in 1967 and, in 1970, he hosted the Royal Family -- the Queen and Prince Phillip and their children, Prince Charles and Princess Anne -- at his farm during the province's centennial. He was inducted into the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2007.

 

Feb. 2 -- Jean MacDonald, 102. If not for her, a beloved poem might not have been written. She was the story lady at the recently opened William Avenue public library and spoke at clubs and organizations in the city. She went on a winter walk with British children's poet Rose Fileman when she was in the city in 1929, and from that experience the poet wrote In Winnipeg at Christmas. She later was an adjudicator for drama and poetry festivals and taught at St. Mary's Academy.


Feb. 6 -- Anna Denby, 81. She was a pioneer of Thompson. She volunteered for numerous organizations, including organizing the community's Royal Canadian Legion Ladies' Auxiliary and serving as its president. She also created the city's walk-in blood bank and acted as convener for several years. She was elected to city council in 1970, only the second woman ever elected to council there, and served until 1977.


Feb. 10 -- Verna Van Roon, 90. She helped preserve Charleswood. She was a trustee on the Assiniboine South School Division for 12 years and through her influence, the Pembina Trails Voices choir was founded. She helped create a war memorial to Charleswood veterans. She helped preserve the Assiniboine Forest, Wellington Crescent bike path, and Caron pioneer farmhouse and, with her husband, was instrumental in establishing the Charleswood Museum. She was honoured with the Governor General's Caring Canadian award and the Queen's Jubilee Medal in 2002.


Feb. 13 -- Allan Arnott, 86. He helped others farm while farming his own land. He and his wife operated their large grain farm in Darlingford. They also ran co-operative programs with the University of Manitoba and private companies. He started Arnott Seeds and Arnott Family Farms and served on the National Farm Debt Review Board. He was honoured with the Manitoba Seed Growers Association's Outstanding Service award in 1972 and the Canadian Seed Growers Association's Robertson Associate award in 1983. With his wife, he was inducted into the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2009.

 

Feb. 13 -- Gerhard Ens, 88. He was in his first year of teaching when the Second World War broke out. He was granted status as a conscientious objector, but was stripped of his teaching certificate. After the war, he joined the Mennonite Collegiate Institute in Gretna -- because it didn't require a teaching certificate -- and stayed there for 30 years, serving as principal for the last nine. He was a founding member of the Mennonite Historical Society, which created the Mennonite Heritage Village museum in Steinbach, served on the board for 50 years and was its president until 1997. He also did a weekly half-hour radio show in Low German for 30 years and edited Der Bote, a German-language newspaper, from 1977 to 1990.


Feb. 18 -- Brian Hansell, 68. He garnered several world drag-racing records. In 1968 in Oklahoma, he piloted a dragster to a national class record of 8.98 seconds to win a National Hot Rod Association title. The last dragster he co-owned in 1988, was the No. 2 vehicle in the world. He was also the youngest, original co-founder of Dynamic Machine.

 

Feb. 20 -- Margaret McRitchie, 82. Thank her for computers in school classrooms. She worked as a business education teacher at Miles Macdonell Collegiate in 1963 and rose to department head. She was part of the first staff at Kildonan East Collegiate, where she introduced microcomputers to the classroom in the mid-1970s. Because there were no textbooks available, she wrote two of her own, which later became North American standards and were translated for the Spanish-language market.

 

Feb. 23 -- Robert Thorlakson, 87. He specialized in colorectal surgery, but loved the arts. He got his medical degree from the University of Manitoba and postgraduate in England before working at the Winnipeg Clinic until his passing. He was past president of the American College of Surgeons and the Canadian Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. He was also founder and past president of Manitoba Opera, Opera West, the Federation of Professional Opera Companies of Canada, and the Manitoba Conservatory of Music and Arts. He was honoured with the Centennial, Silver and Golden Jubilee medals and named an Officer of the Order of Canada.

 

Feb. 27 -- Jacob Banman, 92. He helped make Steinbach the auto city. As a child, he came to Canada with his family and settled in Landmark. He bought land on Highway 12 in Steinbach and established an Esso station and coffee bar in 1953. Three years later, he became a Volkswagen dealer and in the years to come he founded Nissan, Hyundai and Honda dealerships in the community. He was a founder of the Steinbach Fly-In Golf Course and Steinbach Grace Mennonite Church and he served on the board of the Steinbach Chamber of Commerce and Steinbach Credit Union. He was awarded a lifetime membership in the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba.

 

March 2 -- Bill Bowman, 85. He was a prominent pediatrician who expanded the profession in Manitoba. He established the pediatric department at the Manitoba Clinic in 1955 and taught pediatrics at the University of Manitoba. He was president of the medical staff at Children's Hospital and Grace General Hospital. He was chairman of Manitoba Blue Cross from 1979 to 1986.

 

March 4 -- Roma Hawirko, 91. She graduated with a PhD in bacteriology and was a professor at the U of M. She was on the board of the Canadian Citizenship Federation and president of the Altrusa Club of Winnipeg. She was chairwoman and founding member of the Language Bank of Winnipeg, a volunteer interpreter service for new and potential Canadians.

 

March 8 -- Violet Seeman, 99. She taught generations of nurses. She graduated from the Winnipeg General Hospital School of Nursing in 1935 and later got her nursing degree from McGill University in 1953. She taught at the Winnipeg General Hospital School of Nursing and then was hired as associate director of nursing education at the Grace Hospital before teaching health-care workers at the Municipal Hospitals. She was a president of the Manitoba Association of Registered Nurses and was made an honourary life member of MARN in 1993.


March 11 -- Ralph Thompson, 90. He designed many of the buildings we see today. He was born in England and graduated from the University of Manitoba with a gold medal from the faculty of architecture. He spent his working career with GBR Architects and while there designed the former Winnipeg International Airport, Polo Park Shopping Centre, St. Boniface General Hospital, Grace Hospital, Health Sciences Centre, and buildings at the universities of Manitoba, Winnipeg and Brandon. He was made a fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada in 1990.


March 12 -- Caroline Golembioski, 95. She farmed in Brokenhead until retiring in 1972. She was chairwoman of the St. Joseph's Polish National Church and served on the Beausejour Hospital board. She ran a catering business in the area, cooked in a couple of Beausejour restaurants, and was responsible for baking and decorating a 225-kilogram cake the community used to commemorate the country's centennial.


March 16 -- Lucy Lindell, 100. She helped found the Eriksdale Credit Union and Eriksdale Co-op and began the development of McEwen Park. Her efforts, along with others, culminated in the creation of the first Eriksdale Museum. She contributed community news for years to the Stonewall Argus and published a history book, Memory Opens the Door and her autobiography Rites of Passage.


March 18 -- Albert Horch, 93. He was 15 when his brother bought him a wooden flute he taught himself to play. During the Second World War he enlisted in the RCAF band and joined the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra after being discharged in 1948. He played 30 years with the WSO and left to teach full-time, teaching more than 1,300 students.

 

March 19 -- Sam Uskiw, 67. He was first elected as an NDP MLA for Brokenhead in 1966, and during the next two decades he was minister of several portfolios including agriculture, highways and transportation, highways, and natural resources. He was one of a few people instrumental in persuading Ed Schreyer to leave federal politics and return to provincial politics, where he became Manitoba's first NDP premier.

 

March 19 -- John Wachniak, 88. He served his country in the Second World War and made sure his fellow comrades were buried with respect. He worked in upholstery before joining his fathers auction business. He was a member of Ukrainian Canadian Veterans Branch 141 and was elected sergeant at arms in 1964, a position he held until he died. In his position he was in charge of all funerals in his legion and assisted at more than 1,000 of them. He was honoured with the legions highest award, the Palm Leaf.


March 20 -- Gino Nucci, 72. He served the first gelati in Winnipeg. He came to Winnipeg from Italy in 1961, but later went back to learn how to make gelati. It took 15 people to carry the gelati machine into his shop, Nuccis Gelati, on Corydon Avenue. Along with others, he helped turn Corydon into Little Italy.

 

March 22 -- Gerry Wilson, 73. His hockey-playing career was brief, but his effect on the game was huge. He was a talented minor-league player whose career with the Montreal Canadiens was cut short by frequent injuries. He became an orthopedic surgeon and team doctor with the Winnipeg Jets. While in Sweden, he recruited Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson for the Jets and is now considered a pioneer in bringing European hockey players to professional hockey in North America. His son, Carey, also played in the NHL, and his grandson Colin plays for the Nashville Predators.

 

March 25 -- Fred Lang, 100. Insurance, health and faith were three of the pillars of his life. He worked in the provincial and federal tax departments before founding Canadian Premier Life Insurance. His company later merged with Citadel Insurance where he became a director. He was chairman of the Manitoba Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation, the Manitoba Institute of Cell Biology and Health Sciences Centre. He helped found Bethesda Church and served as chairman of its elders board. He was vice-president of the Canadian Bible Society and was chairman of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada.

 

March 31 -- Reesor Bingeman, 91. He worked in insurance, but volunteered in Masonic life. He rose to become grand master of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba in 1979 and was grand secretary from 1980 to 1986. While there, he was the driving force behind the Masons Care campaign, which provided funds to purchase cars in perpetuity to take cancer patients from their homes to cancer treatment clinics. He was honoured with the Canadian Cancer Society's highest award, the Gold Award, for the driver program, and the Masons named an award after him to honour cancer drivers.

 

April 2 -- Sheri Breland (Telke), 38. While enrolled at the University of Winnipeg, she was a member of its Wesmen Women's basketball team in the early 1990s. She was on the team when it set a North American record 70th consecutive win on March 5, 1994. With the rest of her team, she was inducted into the Order of the Buffalo Hunt by the province.


April 5 -- Howard Levine, 86. He served in the U.S. Army 3rd Division under Gen. Patton in the Second World War. Wounded twice during the Battle of the Bulge, he received two Purple Hearts. He ran the family restaurant, the L&L Grill, as well as five others including Rancho Don Carlos where he hosted stars including Bob Hope and Barbra Streisand. He was a Shriner who was known as a circus daddy -- a top fundraiser for their children'cs hospital. He also volunteered at the Misericordia Hospital and with his wife ran the hospitals gift shop for more than 30 years.

 

April 8 -- Louise Adams, 86. She helped pregnant women in distress. She acted in radio dramas and with Le Cercle Molière in the 1940s. She co-founded the Pregnancy Distress Service, which offers counselling, pregnancy testing, emergency housing and food. With her husband she founded Serena Manitoba, which offers fertility awareness information and instruction in natural family planning.

 

April 10 -- Jocelyn Dubienski, 89. She pioneered many inclusive services for people with special needs. At an early age she lost her father and then five members of her family in an accident, but went on to become president of the U of M student unions women's association. After being a civilian code writer during the war and then a social worker helping returning servicemen, she became a rehabilitation counsellor with the province, spending 24 years helping people with disabilities. She pioneered, implemented and expanded several programs including workplace training, community-based residential living resources, and helping special-needs children go to school. She was honoured with a YWCA Women of Distinction Award in 1988.

 

April 13 -- Winston Moxam, 47. He was an award-winning filmmaker. He made the film From the Other Side, the winner of the National Coalition for the Homeless Film Festival, before moving to Winnipeg and making the 1993 short film, The Barbeque. He went on to make other films including Barbara James, winner of the best Canadian Feature Film at the 2002 Black Film and Video REEL film awards, and Billy, winner of the 2010 Human Rights Commitment Award from the Manitoba Human Rights Commission.

 

April 13 -- Jessica Bondar, 19. She had heart failure after contracting the influenza A virus and was waiting for a heart transplant. While in a wheelchair and using an external heart pump, she graduated from St. James Collegiate and was a comfort to others in the Montreal hospital's cardiac ward. She was looking forward to campaigning to promote organ donation when she died.


April 21 -- Ken Kostick, 57. He grew up in the North End and credited his parents for inspiring his love of cooking. He went on to work in TV and radio and hosted television shows Whats For Dinner?, Ken Kostick and Company, Counter Top to Table Cuisine, and He Said, She Said With Ken and Mary Jo. He also was the author of 15 cookbooks including The $10 Gourmet: Restaurant Quality Meals That Won't Break Your Budget.

 

April 23 -- Jim McPherson, 80. While getting his medical degree at the University of Manitoba, he played for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for five seasons from 1949 to 1953. He played in the Grey Cup and was named to the Western Canada All-Star team in 1952, and the Liberty Magazine All-Stars and the Sports Writers All-Star team in 1953. He spent most of his medical career at the Mayo Clinic. He was also national president of the Paso Fino Horse Association.

 

April 27 -- Peter Gould, 91. He founded Winnipegs Gould Manufacturing in 1965, primarily to build themed auto rides for amusement parks. It builds smaller-scale Model T replica cars and auto-themed vending carts for amusement parks around the world. The vintage auto ride at Tinkertown was produced by Gould.


May 6 -- Jack MacDonell, 92. He was the father of Canadian geriatric medicine. He was born in Edmonton and graduated from the University of Manitoba's medical school in 1943, before joining the armys medical corps. After receving a scholarship from the National Council of Jewish Women to visit hospitals and centres for the elderly in Europe, he began advocating a multidisciplinary approach to elderly care. He established three day hospitals in Winnipeg, including the first in Canada at Deer Lodge and was president of Age and Opportunity and the Canadian Society of Geriatric Medicine. He was awarded the Order of Canada in 1976.

 

May 8 -- Eddy Munroe, 49. He was an aboriginal artist. One of his main influences was his uncle, Jackson Beardy. His paintings, which feature female figures in rocks, hang in homes and offices around the world. On the same day, aboriginal artist Kurt Flett, 54, also died. He started drawing with pencil crayons when he was 11. His main influences were Jackson Beardy and Stanley Monias. He taught for 10 years, but then became a full-time artist.

 

May 9 -- Don Johnson, 80. He moved his family to the fledgling mining town of Thompson in 1963, and founded Don Johnson Jewellers and Johnsons Plaza Florist among others. He hosted Dawn Patrol on the local radio station. He was president of the Thompson Rotary Club, the Chamber of Commerce, the Highway 6 Association, and the Nickel Days Board. He was honoured with a Manitoba Travel Award in 1997 for his involvement in the building of the Rotary Suspension Bridge at Pisew Falls.


May 12 -- John Dradrach, 62. You probably didn't know his name, but if you took a cab you probably heard his jokes. He became known as the Joke of the Day cabbie. He drove a cab for 35 years with Duffys and Unicity. He would ask his passengers "Have you had your joke today?" and then tell them some of the corniest ones they'd ever heard. He even compiled a list of jokes to hand to people.

 

May 16 -- Elisabeth Peters, 95. She encouraged German language in the province. Born in Russia, she came to Canada with her mother and siblings in 1925, after her father was killed. She became a teacher in rural Manitoba and then a professor at the University of Manitoba. She advocated German-language programs in the province's schools. She wrote several plays and performed in a number of Mennonite Theatre productions and with her husband was instrumental in founding Westgate Mennonite Collegiate.

 

June 2 -- Bill Comaskey, 65. A long-time leader in Thompson, he immigrated to the mining community from Ireland in 1966. He worked at Inco for 14 years and then was hired by the provincial government, working as a mines inspector and director of the mining safety branch. He was elected to city council and then was voted in as mayor, a position he held for almost 16 years, making him the community's longest-serving mayor.

 

June -- Esther Genser Kaplan, 95. Her first community service was teaching English to Holocaust survivors through the National Council of Jewish Women. She was vice-president of the board of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and sat on other boards including the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. She was president of Shaarey Zedek Synagogue Sisterhood and then Midwest branch president of the National women's League of the Conservative Synagogues of America. She was a founding member and first president of Winnipeg ORT, part of the largest non-governmental network of vocational and technological schools and programs in the world. She helped plan and create the Manitoba-North Dakota Peace Garden as part of the board of the Manitoba Centennial Corporation and was appointed a founding board member on the National Arts Centre representing Manitoba. She was elected to the board of Fidelity Trust, the first woman in western Canada to be appointed to such a position.

 

June 10 -- Theo Dubois, 100. He began rowing in his teenage years and rowed his way to championships. He won four gold medals in the regional regatta in 1934, and by 1939 he had rowed his way to five consecutive singles championships. In 1941, he won the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada's athlete of the year, the first western Canadian to do so. He was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 1981.


June 16 -- Lilian Bird, 90. She was born in England but came to Canada with hundreds of war brides on April 10, 1946, to reunite with her Canadian husband in Portage la Prairie. She later founded the Manitoba War Brides Association in 1982, which met for the last time in 2006. She was one of more than 64,000 war brides and their children who came to Canada from 1942 to 1948.

 

June 17 -- Alan Gardiner, 80. He was born and raised in Winnipeg and was a commissioned air intelligence officer with the Royal Canadian Air Force who worked as an accredited newspaper correspondent with the Winnipeg Tribune and as an adjutant of an air intelligence unit during the Suez Canal Crisis in 1956. He joined the family firm of A.B. Gardiner and Co., funeral directors, and later was a founding partner of Perimeter Aviation. He served as president of Camp Manitou for Boys, and on the Metropolitan Board of the Governors of the YMCA of Greater Winnipeg. He later was chairman of Thunder Bay's Volunteer Bureau. He studied piano and voice training and appeared in several stage musicals in Winnipeg and Thunder Bay.

 

June 17 -- Mel Bruce. He played his first violin when he was six, learning to play by ear. He became a barber and owned a shop on Henderson Highway. He played his fiddle on CKSB in Winnipeg and played with several bands including Larrys Rand Boys and Mels Rythmares. He won many awards across Western Canada and the United States and released a CD on Sunshine Records.

 

June 17 -- Betty Fox, 73. The mother of Canadian icon Terry Fox tirelessly kept alive her son's crusade to cure cancer. She was born in Boissevain and raised in Melita. She met and married her husband Rolly Fox when she moved to Winnipeg.

Their son, Terry, became known around the world for running more than 5,000 kilometres in an attempt to cross the country after losing a leg to cancer.

Diagnosed when he was 18, Fox set out two years later to raise money for cancer research, leaving St. Johns in April 1980, and running 42 kilometres a day until he was forced to stop near Thunder Bay, Ont., when cancer appeared in his lungs.

He died on June 28, 1981, at age 22.


July 3 -- Ken Stewart, 74. Fishing was his profession and his passion. He grew up fishing on the Mississippi River and after getting his PhD in zoology he was a professor at the U of M for 34 years. He was a founding member of Fish Futures and spent hours educating the public and government about conservation. He co-wrote The Freshwater Fishes of Manitoba and was honoured with the Mary Scorer Award for best book by a Manitoba publisher. He trained Alaskan malamutes to pull sleds and later served as president of the Manitoba Sled Dog Association for eight years.

 

July 5 -- Ken Bishop, 73. His day job was creating a courier company, but his passion was sports. He worked at Eatons selling televisions when only 15, but later, after graduating from the U of M as a certified management accountant, worked for the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs. He won numerous Manitoba Curling Association events as a skip in his younger years. He established Road Runner Courier in 1974, later changing the name to Zipper Courier. From six drivers and a total of eight staff it went on to have 550 employees and become one of North America's 10 largest couriers. Selling the business to Dynamex in 1996, he became general manager of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers from 1996 to 1999. After that, he became CEO of Habitat for Humanity.

 

July 5 -- Iraida Tarnawecky, 87. She was born in Ukraine and became a renowned Slavic linguist. She came to Canada in 1949 and got her MA in German and Slavic studies at the U of M and her PhD at the Ukrainian Free University in Munich. She joined the U of M'ss Department of Slavic Studies as a sessional lecturer and rose to full professor. She was the first Canadian academic chosen in an agreement between the Canada Council and the former U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences to research the history of Slavic languages at the Linguistic Institute in Moscow and Kyiv. She held executive positions with the Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences in Canada, the Canadian Association of Slavists, and the Canadian Onomastic Society.

 

July -- Bill Gorrie. The longtime radio veteran at CKRC worked there for 25 years before joining the sales manager to buy the station. He became president and general manager of both CKRC and CKWG-FM. In 1988 he was elected president of the Broadcasters Association of Manitoba and in 1990 he was elected president of the Western Association of Broadcasters. He ended every on-air show he ever did with "Thanks for listening and until next time, God bless and good night."


July 9 -- Stan Dudeck, 84. He graduated from Tyndall High School and began teaching in Morris. Shortly after, he became a partner in a cabinet company and began building homes with Dudeck Construction. He bought land in St. Boniface and started Precision Fabricating which later became Paramount Windows and Doors. He volunteered for the Canadian Polish Business Association, the Canadian Polish Manor, and Holy Ghost Fraternal Aid Society. He was instrumental in the building of Holy Redeemer Parish.

 

July 11 -- Jack Warwick, 84. He played hockey in England for the Nottingham Panthers, pro baseball for the Washington Senators farm team in 1949, and baseball with the Elmwood Giants Man Dak League. He was inducted into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999, and with his 1952 football team, the Norwood Legionnaires which won the Canadian Intermediate Football Championship, he was inducted into the Manitoba Football Hall of Fame in 2006.

 

July 12 -- Ted Paterson, 88. He did two stints with the air force, retiring last in 1969, and volunteered on five United Way public relations committees across the country. He managed an executive consultants office before moving to Winnipeg to become the United Way's executive director, a position he held from 1971 to 1985. He organized and taught the UW's first continuing education course in public relations.

 

July 17 -- Ralph Borger, 80. He was a builder of sewer and water projects and also of hockey. He worked in the family business, Borger Brothers, and led the utilities division. He was chairman of the Manitoba Heavy Construction Association and the Western Canada Roadbuilders and Heavy Construction Association, and was an executive member of the Canadian Construction Association. He served almost four decades as a builder and administrator in minor and junior hockey with Hockey Manitoba and Hockey Canada, owning the Manitoba Junior Hockey League St. Boniface Saints for 28 years. He was a director of both the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame and the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame. He was named a life member and volunteer of the millennium by Hockey Manitoba and inducted into the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame in 2005.


July 18 -- Al Driedger, 75. After working delivering bread or shovelling coal for the railroad, he moved back to the family farm near Grunthal in 1972. He was elected reeve in the RM of Hanover from 1967 to 1972. He left farming altogether and was elected MLA in 1977. He served as an MLA until 1999, and was Minister of Highways and Transportation, Government Services, and Natural Resources in the Filmon government.

 

July 18 -- Lorne Huff, 72. He worked with the Canadian Wheat Board before joining the former Fort Garry Police Department. When it amalgamated with the Winnipeg Police Service, he was instrumental in starting its polygraph division. After retiring, he started his own company, Huff Polygraph and Investigations, which was hired by law firms and businesses.


July 21 -- Bert Luckhurst, 87. He was director of the province's Department of Industry and Commerce before going to the business sector and later becoming a business consultant. He was involved with numerous groups including as a director of the Red River Exhibition, president of the St. Norbert Foundation, now the Behavioural Health Centre, and Commodore of the Royal Lake of the Woods Yacht Club.

July 22 -- Peter Kondra. He received his PhD in animal genetics at the University of Minnesota and was a professor of animal science and principal of the U of M's St. Andrews College, work which culminated in the establishment of the U of M's Centre for Ukrainian Canadian Studies. He chaired the committee that reprinted the Ostroh Bible, was national president of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress from 1971 to 1974, national president of the Order of St. Andrew, and co-chairman of the Canadian Consultative Council on Multiculturalism. He received many honours including the Taras Shevchenko medal, professor emeritus at the University of Manitoba, and the New Millenium Multicultural Award from the province.

 

July 26 -- Richard Harris, 63. He was a well-loved coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He played at Grambling State University before being the first-round draft pick, fifth overall, of the Philadelphia Eagles where he played for three seasons. He then played for the Chicago Bears for two years and the Seattle Seahawks for three years. He coached the Portland Prowlers of the Indoor Professional Football League and was named the leagues coach of the year. He was defensive line coach for the Ottawa Renegades before joining the Bombers in 2006 as the defensive line coach. He rose to assistant head coach this season.

 

July 29 -- John Schaffter. He was an author and a teacher at Upper Canada College Preparatory School in Toronto before joining St. John's-Ravenscourt as its headmaster in 1969. During his tenure until 1978, the school became the first all-boys independent school in the country to allow girls. He went on to become head of St. Michael's University School in Victoria during which that school also became co-ed.

 

Aug. 2 -- Dianne Woods, 64. She was president of Ladies Curling at the Assiniboine Curling Club, but hockey became a big part of her life when her son started playing. She was vice-president of female hockey for the Winnipeg Minor Hockey Association when hockey was introduced for girls. She was executive director of Hockey Winnipeg for several years.


Aug. 5 -- Nirmal Rihal. Born in India, he studied medicine in Scotland before practising in Aberdeen, Kenya, and then Canada. He worked as medical officer of health for Western Manitoba and the Interlake region and rose to retire as the province's chief epidemiologist. He was one of the original Sikh immigrants to Manitoba and advocated the right of Sikhs to follow their religious practices. One of the results was that Manitoba was the first jurisdiction in North America to allow Sikhs to ride motorcycles wearing turbans instead of helmets.

 

Aug. 13 -- Bob Hazell, 77. He taught physical education at a few schools in Winnipeg. He was inducted into the Manitoba Basketball Hall of Fame in three categories: He was a player on the 1972 St. Andrews Super Saints, he was coach of the 1975/76 Super Saints, and in 2009 as a builder. He was also inducted into the Manitoba Sports hall of Fame because of his coaching. As well, he was inducted into the Manitoba Softball Hall of Fame.

 

Aug. 15 -- Myrtle Zimmerman, 90. She graduated from the Normal School in Regina and moved to Winnipeg after she was married. She taught in the Assiniboine South School Division. She served with the Home and School Associations and then was elected as a trustee for 18 years starting in 1970, and was also chairwoman of the board. She was president of the Manitoba Association of School Trustees and a founding member and chair of Winnipeg Technical College. She was president of the Interfaith Family Institute at the University of Winnipeg and was honoured with the Queen's Jubilee medal in 2002.

 

Aug. 16 -- Don Livingston, 86. He spent his life helping Morden. He served in the Second World War and when he returned he joined the familys hardware business before going into other business ventures. He joined the Kinsmen and other community organizations. He was honoured with the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal and the Commemorative Medal for the 125th anniversary of the country's Confederation. Livingston Nature Park in Morden is named for the contributions he and his wife made.

 

Aug. 18 -- George Dow, 81. He cared for Killarney residents, both in medicine and politics. He was a doctor in the town and area for more than 40 years, starting in 1956. He was on town council from 1977 to 1986, spending six of those years as mayor. He was named Physician of the Year by the Manitoba Medical Association in 1990 and awarded a life membership in the College of Family Physicians of Canada in 1999.

 

Aug. 20 -- Marty Bergmann, 55. He was director of Natural Resources Canada's Polar Continental Shelf Program, which supports dozens of research projects annually in the North and more than 1,000 researchers. He also helped bring government, university, northern people and industry together to share resources for research.

 

Aug. 21 -- Winifred Keep, 89. An English war bride, she was the last surviving member of the women who saved the Wolseley Elm. She joined 11 other local women in 1957 to encircle an elm tree growing in the middle of Wolseley Avenue. The city wanted to remove the tree as a traffic hazard. The women won when Mayor Steve Juba came and said the tree could stay, and they were later featured in a Life magazine story.


Aug. 25 -- Walter Dubowec. He worked with Deloitte and Touche and was appointed to serve on the Canadian Industrial Renewal Board and as auditor of Canada Ports Corporation. He was the first director of Ukrainian descent appointed to the Bank of Canada's board of directors. He was listed as 24th on a list of 25 of the province's most influential people by Winnipeg Business People magazine in 1990. He was the longtime president of the Joe Brain Foundation and while he was there, it contributed money to create the Walter Dubowec Endowment Fund for Ukrainian Studies at the University of Manitoba.


Aug. 27 -- Ken Hildahl, 61. He was director of operations at the Manitoba Government Employees Union when he joined the Winnipeg Blue Bombers board of directors. He was chairman of the board for five of his 10 years there, helping the Bombers go from almost defaulting on their payroll to helping spark the process that led to the building of a new stadium. He was also a senior executive at Manitoba Blue Cross before joining the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission as president and CEO in 2009.

 

Sept. 4 -- Jack McKinnon, 88. He was an investment dealer who formed his own company and then developed subdivisions around Lake of the Woods. He was responsible for the fundraising effort that led to the building of St. John Ambulance's Winnipeg headquarters. He was president of the Manitoba Council of the Order of St. John from 1961 to 1970, a volunteer with the United Way and a member of the Rotary Club.


Sept. 5 -- Russell Farrell, 75. He worked with Manitoba Highways, but hockey was his passion. He played 45 years as a goaltender in various leagues and then was a coach, manager and president of the Manitoba Amateur Hockey Association, now Hockey Manitoba. While president of the Selkirk Recreation Foundation from 1981 to 1993, he led the fundraising to build the recreation complex. He was inducted into the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder in 2003 and named Town of Selkirk citizen of the year in 1989.


Sept. 6 -- Jim Platt, 71. He co-founded the Assassins Rugby Club, which won its first championship in 1971. He later coached minor hockey, winning coach of the year awards in 1988 and 1989. He was inducted into the Manitoba Rugby Hall of Fame this year.


Sept. 9 -- Dolphie Roberts, 78. He was president and treasurer of the Afro-Caribbean Association of Manitoba and co-ordinator of Folklorama's Afro Caribbean pavilion. He was the financial assessor for the Jamaican Honorary Consulate in Winnipeg. He was honoured with the Government of Jamaica's Badge of Honour for his service to the community.

 

Sept. 10 -- Dan Ritchie, 86. With his brother, he expanded Industrial Catering, which served workers at construction sites, to 13 trucks. He founded the Millionaire Drive Inns chain. He commissioned and owned the River Rouge cruise ship for 27 years, expanding the company by adding another ship and a fleet of double-decker buses. With his own money, he founded the Pine Ridge Wildlife and Environmental Foundation for wild animals and for stray and injured animals.

 

Sept. 14 -- Alice Brown, 94. She was a teacher and historian. She taught at several schools in the Winnipeg School Division and was library supervisor in the St. James School Division, where in 1972 she was honoured with the Encyclopedia Brittanica School Library award for improving elementary school libraries. She was president of the Manitoba Historical Society and instrumental in creating the Century Farm program. She was honoured with the society's Manitoba Centennial Medal for her work in promoting the province's history.

 

Sept. 14 -- Buddy Tinsley, 87. He played a year with the American Football Leagues Los Angeles Dons before joining the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 1950. For 10 years, he was a fearsome tackler and perennial team captain, during which the team won the Grey Cup in 1958 and 1959. He was inducted into the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Hall of Fame, the CFL Hall of Fame and inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame as a player, championship team member and coach of the 1963 Canadian champion St. James Rams.

 

Sept. 22 -- Bea McKenzie, 97. She was one of the province's best female softball players. Born in St. Boniface, she played catcher for several women's softball teams and won several championships. She curled out of the Heather Curling Club and won the first-ever Mixed National Curling Championship in 1964 with the Ernie Boushy team. She was inducted into the Manitoba Softball Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 1994.

 

Sept. 24 -- Marge Hemsworth, 96. Her name wasn't in the iconic Winnipeg restaurant's name, but she was one of the people responsible for Rae and Jerry's success. Born in Deloraine, she moved to Winnipeg. With her husband, the Jerry in Rae and Jerry's, she worked 364 days a year, with Christmas being her only day off.

 

Sept. 26 -- Bob Westmacott, 66. He was a medical miracle when he was a baby. He was born in Winnipeg and grew up to work in the family glass business on Main Street. But he wouldn't have become an adult if not for the work of Dr. Henry Chown, who founded the Winnipeg Rh Laboratory in 1944. He was the first Rh-factor baby to survive.

 

Oct. 4 -- Mickey Militaire, 77. He helped found the Night Owls Patrol, which saw volunteer residents look around to keep their neighbourhoods safe. He helped save senior housing on Flora Place, which led to him being honoured with a community service award from the Community Education Development Association (CEDA).

 

Oct. 10 -- Peter Kramarchuk, 87. He was involved in the formation of Spruce Woods Provincial Park, the Seton Centre, and the Carberry Ball Park. He was honoured with a lifetime achievement award by the Carberry Chamber of Commerce in 2006.

 

Oct. 17 -- Betty Sobkowich, 85. She met her husband at a dance hall in the 1940s and with him played a major role in the formation of the Westview Dance Club. When she became legally blind due to macular generation about 22 years ago, she started ballroom dancing lessons at the CNIB. Earlier, when she had twins, she helped found the Twins and Triplets Club in 1957, an organization that is now nationwide.

 

Oct. 24 -- Alice Balsillie, 82. She owned restaurants including the Lilac in Elmwood and the White House in the North End. She was elected a city councillor from 1980 to 1983 and was a member of the board of Seven Oaks General Hospital from 1981 to 1990.

 

Oct. 30 -- Art Sparling, 81. He helped improve water quality in the province. He was a professional engineer who, while working with the provincial government, helped design and construct water treatment plants in the province. He taught at the U of M and established the department of environmental engineering.

 

Oct. 31 -- Paul Herriot, 81. His career was advertising and he was instrumental in forming the Advertising Standards Bureau of Manitoba. He served as special assistant to Premier Walter Weir in 1969. He was president of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce and the Winnipeg Executive Association.

 

Nov. 1 -- Norman Edie, 85. He graduated with an agriculture diploma at the U of M and worked with his father and brothers until getting his own beef and grain farm. He served on several boards, including Keystone Agricultural Producers and the Manitoba Cattle Producers Association. He was named Manitoba Farmer of the Year in 1974.

 

November -- Marian Yeo, 86. She was part of a group of writers who founded Canadian Dimension magazine in 1963 and was its first feminist editor. She was honoured with the magazines first Person Who Changed the World award in 2004. She also wrote in many art journals and exhibition catalogues and organized the Festival of Feminism in 1978. She was honoured by Mentoring Artists for Women's Art as a founding foremother of women in visual art.

 

Nov. 5 -- Peter Walker, 72. He hosted the television program Archaeology in Manitoba for more than 15 years on cable television and also co-hosted Heritage in Manitoba. He was employed by the province's historic resources branch and was honoured with the departments first Prix Manitoba award for promoting the importance of heritage to the public.


Nov. 11 -- Lloyd McKay, 68. He was born at the former Valley River Reserve and lived there until being sent to the Assiniboine Residential School in Winnipeg. He worked with Indian and Northern Affairs Canada until retiring for medical reasons, then became a consultant for several Manitoba and Saskatchewan First Nations. In his home community, he was elected band councillor and then became chief of the Tootinaowazlibeeng Treaty Reserve from 2008 to 2010.

 

Nov. 16 -- Mary Eady. She joined the CCF Youth movement when she was 18 and became one of the first women to work in a non-secretarial position in the Canadian labour movement. She edited union newsletters and rose to become treasurer of the federal CCF-NDP party. She was director of the province's women's bureau and later deputy minister of labour. Because of her contributions, Manitoba was the first government in Canada to pass pay-equity laws.

 

Nov. 20 -- Olga Memrick, 100. She was born in Ukraine. She went to Success Business College and became a paralegal. She was president of the Canadian Ukrainian Athletic Club and the Progress Credit Union board of directors. She was elected for two terms as a Winnipeg School Division trustee and chaired the boards Manitoba Centennial committee. She was branch president of the Ukrainian Catholic women's League of Canada and served as president of the UCWLCs Winnipeg region from 1974 to 1976.


Nov. 20 -- Jean Strath, 81. After graduation, she was one of the first home economists stationed in rural Manitoba. She helped initiate the first co-operative kindergarten program in the province in Souris in 1958. She ran unsuccessfully for the Liberals against Premier Sterling Lyon. She hosted a daytime radio talk show in Brandon in the 1970s.

 

Nov. 30 -- Barry Ursell, 94. Canada Packers was his employer, but badminton was his game. Introduced to the sport by his mother, he won many provincial singles, men's doubles and mixed doubles titles as an adult. After he retired and after he turned 65, he won 38 more titles in various categories, including all five events he entered -- the maximum he could enter -- when he was 75.

 

Dec. 3 -- John Holtmann, 61. He got a summer job at Vita Health and never left. He rose through the ranks and eventually bought the company's retail stores. He was on the board of the Canadian Health Food Association and a founder of the Health First Network.

 

Dec. 9 -- Bert Cheffins, 87. He was underage when he joined the military and was still helping the air force as a senior. He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1942 and later spent 35 years in the federal public service, beginning as an immigration officer and ending as chief of industrial development with Employment and Immigration. He spent years in the reserve and veterans organizations, including as a veterans rep on the board of Deer Lodge Centre. He was honoured by the premier for his work on the committee, which named more than 4,000 lakes and rivers for Manitobans killed in service during the Second World War. He initiated the building of a memorial in Pocklington, England, to honour all the men and women of 102 and 405 Squadrons who served there. He served in several positions with the Wartime Pilots and Observers Association, including president. He was the first honorary colonel of the air forces air navigation school.

 

Dec. 12 -- Hyacinth Colomb, 95. He was a trailblazer among aboriginal people. He was one of the first aboriginals employed by Manitoba Conservation, working there for more than 30 years. He was chief and band councillor at the Pukatawagan reserve and president of the Manitoba Trappers Association. He received the Order of Manitoba in 2001.

 

Dec. 13 -- Pat Gill, 72. He was an employee for 32 years in the U of M's faculty of kinesiology and recreation management. He is best known to generations of Bisons football players as the manager of the football team, a job in which he volunteered for 44 years.

 

Dec. 15 -- Doug Connery, 56. He worked on the family farm near Portage la Prairie and eventually ran the business operations of Connery Riverdale Farms. He was a director of Peak of the Market, past president of both the Vegetable Growers Association of Manitoba and the Canadian Horticultural Council, and was named Young Farmer of the Year in 1990. He was president of the Delta Beach Association.

 

Dec. 20 -- Ken Peter, 66. He ran the Ken Peter Dance Express in East St. Paul for many years and first worked with Rainbow Stage in 1957, when he performed in the Pot of Gold Variety Show. He joined the board of Rainbow Stage in 1993 and five years later became its executive director.

 

Dec. 23 -- Margaret Pidlaski. The woman who helped make Manitoba a leader in English-language programs for newcomers died Dec. 23 in a bus crash while on vacation in Peru. Pidlaski, the director of adult English-language programs for Manitoba Labour and Immigration, influenced such programs across the country and made Manitoba the envy of other provinces for its language training, her colleagues said.

"She was very committed to making sure newcomers are getting the highest quality of English-language education possible," said Pidlaskis boss, Labour and Immigration Minister Jennifer Howard. "(It) was developed with good intentions, but for a long time it was viewed as something you didn't need any particular training to deliver," Howard said. "She moved the standards up for that education. She understood how vital that was to learn and learn it well to be successful."

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 31, 2011 i2

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.