Father knows best Some notable Manitobans recall the words to the wise that dad provided

For many of us, our dads were our first teachers.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 15/06/2018 (1519 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

For many of us, our dads were our first teachers.

Maybe your dad taught you how to drive a car (and change a flat), or how to throw a ball, or how to successfully negotiate a salary. But our lessons from our fathers aren’t always instructive. Our dads also instil in us a work ethic, an adventurous spirit, a sense of humour, a moral compass.

It makes sense, then, that dad is who many of us turn to for advice — in adulthood, anyway. When you’re a teenager, dad’s advice is often unsolicited and usually met with an eyeroll or a, ‘I know, Dad.” But it was always appreciated, even if it was after the fact.

In honour of Father’s Day, which is Sunday, Free Press staffers asked 18 prominent Winnipeggers to share the best advice they’ve received from their dads. Apparently, dads are big fans of the Golden Rule.

Jen Zoratti

Gail Asper

President of the Asper Foundation, on her dad, Israel Asper:

“Go to law school and always have a career so you can look after yourself and not be beholden to your parents, husband or kids. Other advice: always say yes when asked to do something new and, when asked to take on a leadership role, do it. Worst advice: Never learn to type!”


RWB dancer Stephan Azulay with his father, Antonio Vargas.

Stephan Azulay

Royal Winnipeg Ballet corps de ballet dancer, on his dad, Antonio Vargas:

“I was immersed in flamenco at such an early age. I just would watch and imitate on my own. My parents were amazed with how much detail I could pick up even at an early age. My dad did teach me a lot of life skills outside of dance. Some examples that I remember are to keep my fingers back and use my knuckles when using a kitchen knife so I don’t cut myself, how to use a drill and hand tools, and making sure they are plumb. Also, not to watch a lot of TV or otherwise my eyes will turn square.”


Robin Carruthers (right) and son, Reid. (Supplied photo)

Reid Carruthers

Curler, on his dad, Robin Carruthers:

“My father has taught me to always be respectful and treat others the way you want to be treated.”


Brian Dobie

University of Manitoba Bisons football coach, on his dad, John Currie Dobie:

“My dad died 30 years ago but did give me good advice . He would tell me to always give people ‘their dues’ and respect them; he would say that you are not walking in someone else’s shoes, so until you do, be very, very careful about judging them. Most people are good people, so give them that chance to show it.”


Andrew Collier, general manager of the Winnipeg Goldeyes, with his father, Kenn. (Supplied photo)

Andrew Collier

General manager of the Winnipeg Goldeyes, on his dad, Kenn Collier:

“Two phrases he often said that I have tried to incorporate into my life are, ‘When in doubt, make a decision,’ and in the event things weren’t going well for me at a particular time, ‘This too shall pass.’ More important than the advice he gave, was the way he treated everyone he met. I’ve tried to emulate how he acted, trying to remember the Golden Rule when interacting with people.”


Kevin Donnelly (green shirt, back row) in a 1972 family photo. (Supplied photo)

Kevin Donnelly

Senior vice-president of venues and entertainment, True North Sports + Entertainment, on his dad Les Donnelly:

“I just attended my father’s 90th birthday a few weeks back (and my mother’s 88th). He celebrated the occasion by playing two rounds of golf that weekend, plus he flipped burgers for about 30 people after his 18-hole walk. We had a dinner in his honour and he gave a short speech, with nine of his 10 kids present, eight of his nine daughters/sons-in-law, 19 of his 22 grandkids and his one great grandkid. He’s a remarkable guy who’s led a remarkable life.

His speech included recalling his childhood in a two-room farmhouse on the Prairies during the Depression, one of eight kids. His stint in the navy with two trips through the Panama Canal before he was 18. He changed career by choice four times, and has volunteered throughout his entire adult life and has been an active member of the same parish for almost 60 years. He and my mother have been married for 63 years.

His words to the assembled throng were to enjoy a good scotch, play as much golf as you can, and to keep the faith. If you are able to do that, you will enjoy some good camaraderie, have some time to reflect, and maintain the ability to persevere.”


Rick Forney

Manager of the Winnipeg Goldeyes, on his dad David Forney:

“The best piece of advice my father gave me was to simply treat others the way you would like to be treated in return.”


Coun. Scott Gillingham (St. James – Brooklands) and his father, Grant Gillingham. (Supplied photo)

Scott Gillingham

City councillor for St. James-Brooklands-Weston, on his dad Grant Gillingham:

“My father’s consistent advice for life is to serve God, serve others and work hard. And he has always modelled that instruction for his children.”


Craig Heisinger

Assistant general manager of the Winnipeg Jets, on his dad Victor Heisinger:

“If you’re going to give the hockey business a try, you had better have a damn good backup plan.”


Coun. Cindy Gilroy and her father, Ernie, who was a city councillor from 1986 to 1992 and a member of the city’s executive policy committee when Bill Norrie was mayor. (Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press)

Cindy Gilroy

City councillor for Daniel McIntyre, on her dad Ernie Gilroy:

“My dad is someone I respect because that is one of the key lessons he instilled in me. He showed me how to respect views, traditions and people. He always encourages me to work with people, to find some common ground, to search for solutions even when differences seem insurmountable. I take these lessons into my work every day. I listen to my colleagues and the community and try to hear their concerns and then put them into action. He showed me that we don’t always have to agree but we can always respect each other’s opinions and ideas for the betterment of the city and the community.”


Wab Kinew with his dad, Tobasonakwut, and his sister, Shawon, in October 2012. (Supplied photo)

Wab Kinew

Manitoba NDP Leader, on his dad Tobasonakwut Kinew:

“My dad told me that in life and politics it’s important to give your opponent a way out where they can keep their dignity — to not “aim to humiliate” them. He experienced the worst of our country’s past: taken from his parents and put in residential school, segregation, racism. His resilient attitude is one of the reasons my wife Lisa and I named our new baby Tobasonakwut after my late father. This Father’s Day I’m happy this Tobasonakwut can grow up with his family, with opportunity, and with his grandpa’s example of how good can overcome bad times.”


Cindy Lamoureux, Liberal MLA for Burrows, campaigning with her father, Kevin. (Supplied photo)

Cindy Lamoureux

Liberal MLA for Burrows, on her dad Kevin Lamoureux:

“My father has been a major source of inspiration and support in my life both personally and professionally. Personally, he has taught me the importance of balance between work and play. In his own words, when you’re working, work hard! When you’re spending time with friends, truly enjoy those moments. Professionally, he has demonstrated to me that a career in politics is a career of sacrifice and that I will find happiness in serving others. My father has always been my biggest supporter and ally and I consider myself a very lucky daughter. Happy Father’s Day, Dad!”


Brian Pallister (right) in 1960 with his father Bill and brother Jim. (Supplied photo)

Premier Brian Pallister

On his dad, Bill Pallister:

“The night I was first elected he took me aside and he said, ‘If you leave politics with your family and your integrity intact you’ll be a wealthy man for the experience.’ We lost him less than a year later to cancer, but I’ll always treasure that great advice.”


André Lewis

Artistic director and CEO of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, on his dad Raymond Lewis:

“My father told me to be prepared to have three careers. I was lucky I followed his advice as I was first a dancer, then a coach, and now a leader.”


Fred Penner (right) and son Damien at a Winnipeg Blue Bombers game. (Supplied photo)

Fred Penner

Children’s entertainer, on his son Damien Penner:

“When Damien was born I remember thinking that I now needed to re-examine my perspectives about life and what I wanted to share with my son. My own father was a caring man but we didn’t spend a lot of quality time together, so I wanted to give that to my son, quality time and the awareness that he was surrounded by love. A message for all my children. Now he has grown into a wonderful father and a gentleman. I love him and respect his strength of character. A very Happy Father’s Day!”


David A. Robertson with dad, Donald Robertson. (Supplied photo)

David A. Robertson

Writer and graphic novelist, on his dad Donald Robertson:

“For me, one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received from my father, and one that I would certainly pass down to my own kids, is about identity. That it’s not something that is shaped for us, but something that we shape for ourselves. The things we learn from our past, and from those who came before us, gives us the knowledge we need to begin that process, but ultimately it’s up to us to determine who we are meant to be. I asked my dad something about identity once, about how I came to understand myself as a Cree man, and why he hadn’t been more hands-on, for lack of a better word. He told me, ‘I wanted you to find your own way.’ I wish that for my kids, and that I’m giving them some sort of a map to lead them to a good place.”


Mark Scheifele

Winnipeg Jets centre, on his dad Brad Scheifele:

“The best advice my dad ever gave me was to always have fun. No matter what you’re doing, make sure you’re enjoying every second it.”


Niigaan Sinclair

Winnipeg Free Press columnist, on his dad Sen. Murray Sinclair:

“My father once told me making someone laugh is the greatest gift you can give. Laughter heals, helps, and inspires people to think.”


Trudy Schroeder

Executive director of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, on her dad William Schroder:

“My father, William Schroeder (1933 -2013), was a teacher by nature and by profession. He encouraged and modeled diligence in work, devotion to family, and the joys of exploration of the wonders of our world in science, geography, history and art. There was always a project of some sort going on, and he exhibited genuine pleasure in researching and building models of his latest object of inquiry.

Direct advice was rarely offered, but he did offer some sage but somewhat unusual advice on the subject of marriage and selection of boyfriends. He told me that in selecting a quality boyfriend, ‘you should always check how organized and tidy he keeps the trunk of his car. You can tell a lot about how a man will treat a woman by the way he keeps the trunk of his car.” His second gem of dating advice was to determine the quality of a man by “what he does when the bus breaks down.”

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