Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Walter Edward Donnelly (1890-1969)


Born at Harwick Township, Kent County, Ontario on 8 January 1890, he was educated at St. Thomas High School, University of Toronto (BA), and Victoria College (DD, 1913). He was ordained in 1913 at London, Ontario and held ministerial charges around Ontario, at Gesto, Alvinston, Amherstberg, Exeter, Central Church at Stratford and Wall Street Church at Brockville before moving to Winnipeg.

He was the Minister of the Young United Church (1935-1958), after which he retired to the church extension board, and planned two churches in Fort Garry, at Windermere and the Westridge United Church, and serving as Minister at the latter (1958-1968). He returned to Young United Church as Minister Emeritus in 1968 and was granted an honourary degree (DD) from United College. He was a board member United Church Board of Christian Education, Trustee Board Community Centre for the Deaf, Manitoba Conference of the United Church (President), 25 year Board of Regents member, and Chaplain of the Kiwanis Club for 34 years. His hosted the ”Voice of Inspiration” radio broadcast on CKY, leading to the publication of three books of short sermons.

He and his wife Edith Van Velzer (c1889-1958) had five children: Burton Donnelly (1914-2002), Vera Donnelly (1917-2000, wife of Lawrie P. Grey), Nora Donnelly (1920-1996, wife of Clifton A. Worth), Doris Donnelly (b1928, wife of Robert Payne), and Lois Marion Donnelly (1928-1988, wife of John Gongos).

He died at the Winnipeg General Hospital on 30 October 1969 and was buried in the Garry Memorial Park. He is commemorated by Donnelly Street in Winnipeg.


“United Colleges arrange Ministers’ Summer Assembly,” Winnipeg Free Press, 20 July 1935, page 15.

“Minister’s wife Mrs. Donnelly dies at 69,” Winnipeg Free Press, 14 October 1958, page 29.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 1 November 1969, page 35.

Obituary [Lois Marion Gongos], Winnipeg Free Press, 7 July 1988, page 38.

Obituary [Nora Worth], Winnipeg Free Press, 29 December 1996, page B13.

Obituary [Vera Grey], Winnipeg Free Press, 21 January 2000, page C7.

Obituary [Burton Donnelly], Winnipeg Free Press, 3 August 2002, page C12.

This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.

Page revised: 14 February 2015

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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