Memorable Manitobans: William Hector “Bill” Gibson (1919-2004)
Born at Transcona on 17 March 1919 to Wilfred Gibson and Isabella MacIver, he attended Transcona Central School from 1926-1935, and then Manitoba Technical Vocational School, where he took courses in woodworking and stationary engineering. Graduating in 1938, he worked as a plumber’s helper until joining the Canadian National Railway in June 1939 as a carman apprentice (freight car mechanic), but took a leave of absence in the fall of 1939 to join the 19th Army Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery as a signaller. After taking training at the Signal School in Kingston, Ontario, he sailed to the United Kingdom on 10 December 1939. In 1945, he returned to Winnipeg as a sergeant on rotation leave after serving in the invasion of Sicily and Italy. He married Helen Milne (1921-2004) on 10 March 1945, and they went on to have three children.
Upon discharge from the Army, and following a brief posting to Camp Shilo as a signal instructor, he returned to the CNR to complete his apprenticeship. He worked in the freight car and coach shops, first as a carman, then as material manager, and then was promoted to assistant foreman. He retired in March 1979 as a supervisor, three months short of forty years of service.
In 1946, he joined the Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 7 and throughout his lifetime served as chairperson of standing committees, as well as sitting on the branch audit committee, branch colour party, two special building committees, and the special fire investigation committee. He also served on the graves committee, during which he requested the city to set aside additional land for future use in the military section of Transcona Cemetery. He also represented Provincial Command at the Provincial Command Council from 1977-1981 and was Provincial Command honorary president from 1985-1987. Throughout his distinguished years of Legion service, he earned many awards and certificates of merit, including the Meritorious Service Medal with Palm Leaf.
He was elected to two terms as a school trustee between 1952 and 1955, was appointed to the Transcona traffic board in 1952, and became a member of the Sons of Scotland in 1956. He was active in the Westview Home and School Association, the parents’ committee of the First Transcona Scouts organization, and was a member of the Transcona and District Pipers and Drummers Association. He held memberships in the Railway Carmen of America, the Railway Supervisor's Association, of which he was president from 1977-1978, and the Manitoba CN Pensioners’ Association. The City of Winnipeg honoured him by naming William Gibson Bay in recognition of his years of service to the community.
He died at Winnipeg on 19 September 2004 and was buried in the Transcona Cemetery.
Birth registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“William (Bill) Hector Gibson,” Canadian Obituary and Death Notice Archive.
This page was prepared by Lois Braun.
Page revised: 12 July 2021