Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Crawford Gordon (1914-1967)

Businessman, civil servant, aviation pioneer.

Born at Winnipeg on 26 December 1914, son of Crawford Gordon (?-?) and Ethel Flora Fortune (1883-1961), grandson of Mark Fortune, he attended Appleby College (Oakville, Ontario) and McGill University, graduating from the latter in 1935. He worked as an auditor for Canadian General Electric Company. In 1941, he was called to Ottawa by defense production minister C. D. Howe to become his assistant coordiantor. For his community service during the Second World War, he was made an Officer of the British Empire.

In 1947, he became the President of English Electric Canada and Vice-President of the John Inglis Company. During the Korear War, he returned to government service as co-ordinator of defense production. In October 1951, he was appointed President and General Manager of A. V. Roe Canada Limited, and its subsidiaries Avro Aircraft Limited and Orenda Engines, driving them through the 1950s to become Canada’s leading aircraft manufacturer. He directed the company’s ill-fated Avro Arrow supersonic jet program until he resigned in the aftermath of its cancellation in early 1959. He then formed his own company, Gordon Enterprises Limited at Montreal, and in 1965 was made President and Chief Executive Officer of the Michigan-based sporting goods manufacturer Shakespeare Company.

He resigned in 1965 and moved to New York City, where he died on 26 January 1967 from the effects of chronic alcoholism. He was survived by first wife, their three children, and his second wife.

Sources:

Birth registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“Crawford Gordon quits Avro post,” Winnipeg Tribune, 2 July 1959, page 38.

“Crawford Gordon dead,” Winnipeg Free Press, 27 January 1967, pages 1, 4.

Mark Fortune, Geni.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 18 November 2019

Memorable Manitobans

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