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Memorable Manitobans: Robert John Gourley (1878-1976)

Banker, businessman.

Born near Brampton, Ontario on 20 February 1878, son of William Gourley and Mary Jane Wilson, he came to Manitoba and worked with the banking firm of R. W. Gibson Company in Butte, Manitoba. In 1898, he transferred to the bank’s branch at Wolseley, North West Territories [now Saskatchewan]. Three years later, the bank branch was reorganized as Banbury, Gourley and Banbury. He withdrew from the firm in January 1902 and opened a branch of the Union Bank of Canada at Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta. Later that year, he was transferred to the bank’s branch at Souris. In March 1905, he went to Carberry to take over management of the Union Bank branch there.

He later served as President of Beaver Lumber, and was a member of the Board of Directors for the Toronto Dominion Bank, Monarch Life Assurance Company, and Westeel Products Company, and a member of the Canadian Committee of the Hudson’s Bay Company.

He married Laura Lyle Bray (?-1945) of Wolseley in 1902. They had five children: Helen Laura Gourley Lazier (b 1904), Herbert Byron Gourley (b 1905), Dorothy Grace Gourley (b 1906), Arthur Robert Gourley (b 1909), and Muriel Elizabeth Gourley (1915-2010). An active curler, he skipped a Strathcona Rink to the Macdonald Briar Canadian Curling Championship in 1931, and was President of the Manitoba Curling Association (1930-1931). He was a member of the Manitoba Club.

He died at La Jolla, California on 11 March 1976 and was buried in the Elmwood Cemetery.

Sources:

A History of Manitoba: Its Resources and People by Prof. George Bryce, Toronto: The Canadian History Company, 1906.

Ontario birth registrations, Ancestry.

1911 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 16 March 1976, page 27.

Obituary [Muriel Beth Gourley], Winnipeg Free Press, 13 March 2010.

We thank Fitz Matheson for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 5 May 2017

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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

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