Memorable Manitobans: Donald Leatham “Don” Aiken (1914-2004)
Born at Winnipeg on 25 May 1914, son of James Aiken and Mabel Marguerite Leatham, he spent several years in Aberdeen, Scotland. He returned to Manitoba in 1933 and became the editor of the Manitoba Commonwealth, a publication affiliated with the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, and participated in election campaigns and rallies. In 1937, he attended the Central Normal School and went on to teach at Merridale School. During the Second World War, he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force, trained as a navigator and trained other navigators at Rivers before going to Europe.
After the war, he returned to Winnipeg and worked as a reporter and editor at the Winnipeg Tribune. He continued working in the newspaper industry and in public relations until he retired in 1979 after which he was editor of the Manitoba Business Magazine (1979-1984). He was President of the Winnipeg Press Club (1950) and Executive Secretary of the Manitoba Press Council (1984-1990). In 1984, he published a book entitled It Happened in Manitoba. He was a member of The Nor'Westers (1988) and he received a Preservation Award from Heritage Winnipeg (1992).
On 4 August 1939, he married Dorothy Anderson (?-?) at Holy Trinity Church and they had two daughters and a son, including Rebecca Aiken (?-?) and Donald Cameron Aiken (1945-2021), before divorcing in 1962. Later that year, he married Marion Agnes Louise MacBain (1924-2000) and they had a daughter. He was a poet, gardener, camping enthusiast, historian, photographer, and avid reader.
He died at Winnipeg on 3 November 2004.
Marriage registration [James Aiken, Mabel Marguerite Leatham], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Birth registration [Donald Leatham Aiken], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Engagements,” Winnipeg Tribune, 15 July 1939, page 15.
Marriage registration [Donald Leatham Aiken, Dorothy Anderson], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Divorce decrees made absolute,” Winnipeg Free Press, 25 January 1962, page 26.
This page was prepared by Ian Stewart.
Page revised: 4 September 2023