Memorable Manitobans: Jon Aaron Christianson (1923-2010)
Businessman, MLA (1959-1962).
Born near Langruth on 23 November 1923, son of Bjorn “Bud” Christianson (1892-1956) and Ingibjorg Eyvindson (1892-1936), brother-in-law of John Benson Carroll, after serving as a pilot in the Second World War, he helped run the family John Deere and automobile dealership. As MLA for Portage la Prairie in the Duff Roblin government, elected in 1959, he was Manitoba’s first Minister of Welfare (1961-1963) and was instrumental in the decision to build the Portage Diversion. He was defeated in the 1962 and 1966 provincial general elections. In 1963, he was appointed to Historical Committee of the Manitoba Centennial Corporation.
With his brothers, he developed Koko Platz, a housing development in Portage la Prairie. He then took a Masters in Educational Psychology, taught grade six, and wrote Manitoba’s first study on the education of emotionally disturbed children. He went on to be first President of Mini Skools daycare centres, and personally opened 48 schools across North America.
After furthering his education at Los Angeles, California, he worked until retirement as a student counsellor at the University of Winnipeg. In retirement, he became co-founder and vice-chair of Canadian International College, an English-language university for Japanese students, with campuses in North Vancouver and Nelson, British Columbia. He supervised the conversion of David Thomson College into the original campus at Nelson, and he was in charge of the design and construction of the Vancouver campus, from land acquisition to opening and operations.
He married Alice Beverly Fairbairn of Lethbridge, Alberta and they had two sons.
He died on 15 December 2010.
“Alberta girl, J. A. Christianson wed at Portage,” Winnipeg Free Press, 8 September 1953, page 15.
“These Manitobans will help plan centennial,” Winnipeg Free Press, 13 September 1963, page 9.
Taming a Wilderness: A History of Ashern and District by Ashern Historical Society, 1976, page 257.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 17 December 2010.
Members of the Legislative Assembly (deceased), Legislative Assembly of Manitoba.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough and Oliver Bernuetz.
Page revised: 19 March 2021