Memorable Manitobans: Thomas Tofield Bower (1867-1968)
Born on a farm near Kingston, Ontario on 12 April 1867, son of John Plant Bower and Eliza Stafford, he taught school at Joyceville, Ontario from 1885 to 1888 then attended Queen’s University (Kingston). He came a railway mail clerk at Kingston in 1890, transferred to Toronto in 1898 then to Winnipeg in 1906. He was appointed Assistant Postmaster in 1908 and became Postmaster in 1921, overseeing the enlargement of the Winnipeg Post Office from a staff of 200 to one with 600 employees, with revenue increasing from $420,000 to $3,000,000 per year. During the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike, he broke a sympathy strike by postal employees by giving them an ultimatum to return to work within a week or be fired; 400 lost their jobs. For this action he was inducted into the Order of the British Empire. He retired in 1933.
On 26 November 1902, he married Mable Truax Hamm. They had three children: Perry Stafford Bower, Richard P. “Dick” Bower, and Rebecca Ann “Becky” Bower (1911-2011, wife Albert T. Hawley). In 1925, the family lived at 910 Dorchester, Winnipeg. He was a member of the Anglican Church and his recreations included tennis, fishing, and swimming.
He died at Winnipeg on 1 January 1968.
Birth registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.
“He remembers 1919 strike,” Winnipeg Free Press, 17 April 1967, page 40.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 3 January 1968, page 35.
“Bower funeral held,” Winnipeg Free Press, 4 January 1968, page 2.
Obituary [Rebecca Ann Hawley], Winnipeg Free Press 9 September 2011, page 33.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 31 January 2015
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