Memorable Manitobans: Inderjit Singh Claire (1931-2004)
Educator, farmer, community activist.
Born at Pachmari, Punjab on 10 May 1931, son of Bhajan Singh Claire and Kishan Kaur Claire, he grew up and attended school at Churchak, Punjab. He attended DM College at Moga and Government College at Ludhiana, earning FSc and BSs degrees, later also acquiring a Master of Zoology from Jabalpur University. On 16 June 1956, he married Baljit Kaur Grewal and had four children.
In 1964, he moved to Scotland where he taught at Breahead Secondary School at Buckhaven in Fife County. The family moved to Canada in 1968, residing one year at St. Benedict, Saskatchewan before relocating to Hudson Bay, Saskatchewan in 1969. Over the next 18 years, he taught at Beauval, Saskatchewan (1983-1986), operated a 640-acre grain farm, sold insurance, involved himself in provincial and federal party politics, and furthered his education, earning a BEd (1972) and a post-graduate diploma in Education Psychology (1983). He had the distinction of being the first Saskatchewan Wheat Pool member of East Indian origin to be granted a grain-selling permit and was President of the Hudson Bay Teachers Association, Councillor of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation, and a Director with the Hudson Bay Credit Union.
He moved to Winnipeg in 1986 and taught at Maples Collegiate, served as a Councillor with the Seven Oaks School Division, and was a Junior high School Enrichment program coordinator. Though officially retiring in 1997, he went on to be General Manager of Duffy’s Taxi Limited, a member of the Manitoba Intercultural Council, Vice-Chairman of the Maples Youth justice Committee, three-term President of the Gurudwara Singh Sabha, Maples NDP candidate for the Manitoba Legislature (1995), and President of the Manitoba Sikh Cultural & Seniors Centre Incorporated (1999-2004). During his years in Canada, he worked on many electoral campaigns in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia. In recognition of his community service, he was awarded the 125th Anniversary of Confederation of Canada Medal (1992) and the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal (2002).
He died at Winnipeg on 6 May 2004 and is commemorated by the Inderjit Claire Park in Winnipeg.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 9 May 2004, page 10.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 12 May 2004, page 22.
We thank Kiran Cheema for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.
Page revised: 4 September 2021