Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Patrick O’Donnell Burke-Gaffney (1888-1965)


Born at Dublin, Ireland in January 1888, he received degrees in Economics & Literature (1908), Mathematics & Geology (1911) and Engineering (1912) from the National University of Ireland. He emigrated to Canada in April 1913 and worked for the Canadian Pacific Railway until June 1915, when he joined the Good Roads Branch of the Manitoba provincial government. Appointed Bridge Engineer in April 1916, replacing Manson Ainslie Lyons, he was responsible for the construction of numerous bridges around the province. He was later a district engineer for the Canadian Johns-Manville Company. He retired in 1953.

He served as President of the Association of Professional Engineers of Manitoba (1938) and held a number of other executive positions with the organization. He was President of the Dominion Council of Professional Engineers of Canada, and a member of the Building Code Advisory Committee and National Research Council of Canada, and a Technical Advisor to the Asbestos Trades of Winnipeg.

He and wife Mary Louise Henebery (c1888-1977) had five children: Thomas Edward “Ted” Burke-Gaffney (c1916-2001), Rev. Desmond Patrick Burke-Gaffney (1917-1976), John Joseph Burke-Gaffney (1921-2012), Frank Burke-Gaffney (?-?), and Rev. Mother Mary Burke-Gaffney (1927-2016).

He died at Winnipeg on 13 July 1965 and was buried in the St. Mary’s Cemetery.


Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 14 July 1965, page 30.

Obituary [Mary Louise Burke-Gaffney], Winnipeg Free Press, 2 September 1977, page 75.

Pioneering in Highway Bridges for the Province of Manitoba and the Engineering Profession by George A. De Pauw, 1993.

Obituary [Thomas Edward Burke-Gaffney], Winnipeg Free Press, 17 February 2001, page 53.

Obituary [John Joseph Burke-Gaffney], Winnipeg Free Press, 25 January 2012.

Obituary [Mary Burke-Gaffney], Winnipeg Free Press, 14 November 2016.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 3 April 2020

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