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Memorable Manitobans: William Bissett “Bill” Ewart (1925-1995)

Physician, historian.

Born at Red Deer, Alberta on 13 May 1925, he lived briefly at Fort William (now Thunder Bay), Ontario before moving with his family to Winnipeg in 1936. He attended La Verendrye School, Laura Secord School, and Gordon Bell High School, graduating from grade 12 at the age of 16. Two years later, he enlisted in the Canadian Navy and served in the Pacific theatre during the Second World War. After his military discharge, he enrolled at the University of Manitoba, receiving a BSc degree in 1947 and a MD degree in 1952. He opened a medical practice at Ponteix, Saskatchewan and, two years later, he returned to the Winnipeg General Hospital for postgraduate training in internal medicine. He was Chief Resident (1957-1958) then studied gastroenterology in England. He was medical advisor to the Manitoba Department of Health (1959-1960) where he helped to develop nursing-home standards. He joined the medical staff of the Winnipeg Clinic in 1960.

He served for many years on the executive of the Manitoba Medical Association, was a board member of the Manitoba College of Physicians and Surgeons (1976-1990) and its President (1988-1989). He was a member of the Manitoba Health Commission (1977-1981) and he served on the executive of the Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature, President of the University of Manitoba Alumni Association (1970-1971), and President of the Citizens Committee on Public Education in Manitoba. He served as a civilian Aide-de-Campe to Lieutenant Governor George Johnson (1986-1993) and President of the Crescentwood Progressive Conservative Constituency Association.

His interest in medical history began during summer employment when he was a student, doing surveys of tuberculosis in northern Manitoba. He was said to be the first to try to persuade the Hudson’s Bay Company to transfer its archives from London, England to Winnipeg. After the transfer was made, he spent much of his spare time in the archives, recording medical information from the post journals of York Factory.

He died at Winnipeg on 6 March 1995.

Sources:

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 8 March 1995, page 30.

Dedication to William B. Ewart, Eighteenth-Century Naturalists of Hudson Bay by Stuart Houston, Tim Ball, and Mary Houston, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2003.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 27 January 2018

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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