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Memorable Manitobans: Loa Henry (1938-2020)

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Loa Henry
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Educator, community activist.

Born at Winnipeg on 16 July 1938, daughter of journalist Ann Maud Donnelly Henry, sister of actors Donnelly Rhodes and Tim Henry, her first marriage to artist Lenard Gerald Anthony (1937-2018) ended in the mid-1960s, leaving her with four young children. She returned to high school to complete grade 12 and then took a one-year education program at the University of Manitoba to qualify as a teacher, all while raising her four children on her own. She subsequently taught for 25 years, mostly at Voyageur School (1968-?) and later part-time at Bannatyne School (?-?) and Strathmillan School (1983-1984).

In 1982, she met and, on 15 December 1984, married Jim Silver, with whom she happily spent the rest of her life, and had another child. With a loving family of five children and ten grandchildren, as the Globe and Mail described it, “Loa and Jim’s home was filled with love, laughter, family and friends.”

She was for many years a performer with and then Artistic Director of Nellie McClung Theatre, a feminist theatre company that broke down barriers and stereotypes on picket lines, in union halls, and for women's groups and feminist organizations. She was later the long-time Artistic Director of the Winnipeg Labour Choir, which performed for a final time on 15 May 2019 in a rousing celebration of the centenary of the Winnipeg General Strike. She later sang in the North End Jewish Folk Choir.

In recognition of her community service, she was a YWCA Woman of Distinction Award for the Arts (2004) and she received a Canadian Dimension “Person who Changed the World” Award (2005) and Grassroots Women Award (2008).

She died at her Winnipeg home of pancreatic cancer on 26 January 2020. A celebration of her remarkable life, attended by more than 250 people, was held at the West End Cultural Centre, where she had performed countless times.

Sources:

Birth announcement [Len and Loa Anthony], Winnipeg Free Press, 23 July 1960, page 30.

[Classified advertisement, Leonard Anthony], Winnipeg Free Press, 21 March 1967, page 31.

Canadian voter lists, Ancestry.

Obituary [Max Smith], Winnipeg Free Press, 26 December 1975, page 44.

Obituary [Lenard Gerald Anthony], Winnipeg Free Press, 21 July 2018.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 28 January 2020.

“Gift for teaching, passion for the stage, and energy to spare” by Kevin Rollason, Winnipeg Free Press, 4 April 2020, page B1.

We thank Jim Silver for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 16 April 2022

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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