Memorable Manitobans: Ronald J. “Ron” Duhamel (1938-2002)
Born at St. Boniface in 1938, he spent most of his childhood near Pinewood, Ontario and completed his high school education at Rainy River, Ontario. In 1968 he graduated from Lakehead University with a Bachelor of Arts and later completed his masters and doctoral degrees in management and administration at the University of Toronto.
He had a lengthy career in education as a teacher, principal, consultant, director of education and regional director of education with the Province of Ontario. In 1979 he was named Assistant Deputy Minister for French language education in Manitoba and later promoted to Deputy Minister of Education for the province. From 1986 to 1988 he was a professor of Educational Administration at the University of Manitoba and elected to parliament for the first time in the 1988 general election and re-elected at the 1993, 1997, and 2000 general elections. During three terms in the House of Commons, he served as Minister of Veterans Affairs, senior minister for Manitoba, and Secretary of State for Western Economic Diversification, Science, Research and Development, and La Francophonie. In early 2002, he was appointed to the Senate.
In 1980, he was one of two Canadians who received the Young Leadership of America Award, which recognizes outstanding leadership potential in young men and women. In 1986, he was made a Fellow of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education for his contributions to education in Canada. In 1987, he was awarded the Lieutenant-Governor’s Medal for Excellence in Public Administration. In 2000, he was made a Grand Chevalier of the International l'Ordre de la Pleiade.
He died of cancer on 30 September 2002. He is commemorated by Ron Duhamel Park.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 4 October 2002.
“They will never be forgotten,” Winnipeg Free Press, 31 December 2002, pages A8-A9.
“Sage Creek park to be named after Ron Duhamel,” Winnipeg Sun, 3 October 2013.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 10 June 2020
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