Memorable Manitobans: John Archibald “Archie” Carmichael (1916-2001)
Educator, social worker.
Born on the family farm near Hallboro on 13 April 1916, son of Donald and Edith Carmichael, he was educated at Oberon School, Neepawa Collegiate, and the Winnipeg Normal School. His teaching career began at Dumfries School followed by the Birtle Indian Residential School, then Justice School (1938-1939), Grosse Isle School (1939-1940), and Gunton School (?-?. He joined the YMCA War Services as a recreation officer in 1940. Besides teaching, he was also a community organizer staging such events as concerts and youth activities. In 1942, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force as a navigator and flew missions over Germany until he was shot down in 1944. He was a Prisoner-of-War at Salag Luft III until mid-1945.
After his military discharge he enrolled at the University of Manitoba receiving a BA in 1948 and a BSW in 1949. Upon graduation he joined the Child Guidance Clinic taking a year leave to attain his MSW in psychiatric work at McGill University in 1951. Upon his return he joined the Society for Crippled Children and Adults of Manitoba in 1954 as their Director of Services retiring in 1981 as Executive Director. During his years with the Society, innovations that he helped to introduce included the one of the first preschool programs for deaf children in Canada and acceptance of handicapped children into regular classrooms.
He completed his BEd in 1963 and was presented with an honorary degree from the University of Winnipeg in 1982 for his humanitarianism and work to remove architectural barriers for the handicapped. He received many international and Canadian awards. Upon his retirement, he volunteered with Canadian Executive Services Overseas spending three months in Bogota, Columbia as a rehabilitation consultant, five years working with the Mamawiwichitata Centre in Winnipeg and three months in Harare, Zimbabwe as a rehabilitation consultant.
He served with many organizations including the YMCA, Villa Rosa, MASW, CASW, Skills Unlimited, Council for Exceptional Children, Social Commission of Rehabilitation International, St. Andrew’s River Heights United Church, Rotary Club of Winnipeg, Winnipeg Winter Club, Ex-Airforce Prisoner of War Association, and the Winnipeg Fellowship Club. In recognition of his community service, he received a Manitoba Centennial Medal (1970) and a Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal (1977).
He died at Winnipeg on 26 August 2001 and was buried in the Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 29 August 2001.
“We will not forget them,” Winnipeg Free Press, 31 December 2001, page B3.
We thank Barbara Carmichael and Nathan Kramer for providing information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 22 December 2021