Memorable Manitobans: Melbourne Francis Christie (1864-1944)
Born at Bowmanville, Ontario on 29 May 1864, youngest of ten children of Thomas and Catherine Christie, he was educated at Ontario high schools. He worked for a time as an office boy in the Upper Canada Furniture Company at Bowmanville. When the company closed, he went to Chicago then, in 1882, he moved to Winnipeg, arriving on his 18th birthday. He went to work for George Frame Stephens, who had recently started a paint business, rising to the position of Secretary-Treasure by 1911. He became company President in 1921 after Stephen’s death. In 1940, he succeeded George William Allan as President of the Great-West Life Assurance Company, after having served 20 years as a Director of the company. He later became its Chairman of the Board, being replaced as President by William Pitt Riley.
He served as Vice-President of the Manitoba Linseed Oil Company, and Chairman of the Manitoba Branch Manufacturers Association, (1910). He was a member of the council for the Winnipeg Board of Trades and Development Industrial Bureau. He founded, with Thomas Russ Deacon and J. L. Bulman, the prairie division of the Canadian Manufacturers’ Association. He served as Vice-President of the Employers’ Association and Vice-President of the Better Business Bureau, and President of the Winnipeg Board of Trade. During the First World War, he served on the Manitoba Executive of the Canadian Red Cross, heading the division from 1921 to 1922. He was a founding director of the Lakeside Fresh Air Camp for Children on Lake Winnipeg.
In 1905, he married Kathleen Campbell (?-?) of Winnipeg. They had one son. He was a member of the Manitoba Club, St. Charles Country Club, Fort Rouge Lawn Bowling Club, AF & AM, and Conservative party. His recreations included golf and bowling. Address: 112 Wilmot Place, Winnipeg.
He died at Winnipeg on 10 July 1944 after being struck by a streetcar. He was buried in the St. John’s Cathedral Cemetery.
Who’s Who in Western Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of Western Canada, Volume 1, edited by C. W. Parker, Vancouver: Canadian Press Association, 1911.
“M. F. Christie injuries fatal,” Winnipeg Free Press, 11 July 1944.
The Story of Manitoba by F. H. Schofield, Winnipeg: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1913.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 22 October 2021