Memorable Manitobans: Avis Birdina Maude Clark (1883-1971)
Born at Toronto, Ontario on 8 September 1883, daughter of Henry Bradford Clark and Sarah Newcombe and niece of C. W. Clark, she was first-cousin to C. K. Newcombe and Harold Newcombe. Educated at Harbord Collegiate (Toronto) and McGill University, she also took a course of studies at the Sorbonne in Paris. She came to Manitoba where she taught French at Kelvin High School and Daniel McIntyre Collegiate, retiring from the latter in 1943. She was active in the Winnipeg Teachers’ Association and helped to set up the Winnipeg Retired Teachers’ Pension Plan. She also assisted in the formation of the Manitoba Branch of the Canadian Consumers Association, and took an active role in the control of milk prices for consumers.
Instrumental in the 1938 acquisition of the Gordon House for the University Women’s Club, she served as UWC President from 1945 to 1947. She also served on the executive of the Canadian Federation of University Women. For 28 years, she lived with Roland McWilliams and Margaret McWilliams including during the period of their residence in Government House. Following Margaret’s death in 1952, she married Roland on 3 October of the following year. She died at her Winnipeg home, 901-71 Roslyn Road, on 23 April 1971.
Ontario birth registration, Ancestry.
“Former Lt.-Gov’s. widow dies,” Winnipeg Free Press, 24 April 1971, page 12.
Margaret McWilliams: An Interwar Feminist by Mary Kinnear, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1991, page 40.
We thank Peter Allison for providing additional information used here.
This profile was prepared by E. James Arnett and Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 6 September 2013
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