Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Klaas R. “K.R.” Barkman (1893-1979)

Businessman, municipal official.

Born at Steinbach on 10 June 1893, son of Peter Toews Barkman (1862-1936) and Katharina Reimer (1866-c1940), he was educated at Steinbach School and went on to own and operate an automotive dealership. In 1921, moved with his family to Foam Lake, Saskatchewan where he managed a flour mill, served on Foam Lake Town Council for 18 years, and was instrumental in the establishment and operation of the community’s first hospital. The family returned to Steinbach in 1946, and he became Mayor of Steinbach by acclamation, serving from 1947 to 1958. While Mayor, he founded Barkman Hardware (1947) with his three sons, which later evolved into two entities: Barkman Plumbing and Heating, and Barkman Concrete Limited.

He was a member of the Children’s Aid Society Board, Chairman of the Bethesda Hospital Board for several years, inaugural Chairman of the Eastern Manitoba Development Board (1950), Vice-President of the Manitoba Urban Association, member of the Manitoba Good Roads Association (to which he was given a Life Membership in 1967), and Civil Defence Co-ordinator for the Steinbach area. He was also an active member in the New Horizons Club of Steinbach, the Mennonite Museum building committee, as well as the Mennonite Central Committee, Christian Missions, and other relief organizations.

On 21 October 1917, he married Maria Fast (1897-1985) at the RM of Hanover and had five children: Helen Barkman (wife of George F. Loewen), Leona Barkman, Arnold Barkman, Edwin Barkman, and Peter Barkman as well as several foster children.

He died at Steinbach on 6 December 1979 and was buried in Steinbach Cemetery.


1916 Canada census, Library and Archives of Canada.

Marriage registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“Peter Barkman, 74, pioneer Steinbach business man dies,” Winnipeg Free Press, 19 March 1936, page 2.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 8 December 1979, page 45.

Obituary [Maria Fast Barkman], Winnipeg Free Press, 11 August 1985, page 20.

This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.

Page revised: 28 February 2014

Memorable Manitobans

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