Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Gordon Stanley “Stan” Howell (1927-2004)

Civil servant, musician.

Born at St. John’s, Newfoundland in 1927, son of Robert Efriam Howell and Susan Ryder, he spent his youth there, attending Bishop’s Field College and developing an appreciation for jazz music. He learned to play the guitar as a pastime but went on to perform professionally throughout his life. His career with the Government of Canada began at St. John’s and resulted in transfers to Toronto in the mid-1950s and Winnipeg in 1960. Along the way, he married Beverly Lorna Chafe (?-?), with whom he had two children, and after her death, Lorna Curtis, who brought her children into the blended family.

His transfer to Winnipeg saw him assume the position of regional director of Statistics Canada, the same position from which he retired in 1985. Between 1960 and 1985, he oversaw the regional completion of five Canadian censuses, at the same time mentoring many co-workers. He was known as an innovative manager who implemented proactive advancements in the workplace, such as the hiring of minorities and the promotion of women, in the days before government legislation mandated such actions. Along with his love of playing jazz music, he served as President of the Winnipeg Jazz Society in the mid-1980s, and was instrumental in working with the American consulate to create a US pavilion with a jazz theme for Folklorama. He was skilled in woodworking, had a talent for historical trivia, was a voracious reader and a collector of unusual objects, and enjoyed gardening.

He died at Winnipeg on 28 July 2004.


Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 4 August 2004.

This page was prepared by Lois Braun.

Page revised: 2 September 2020

Memorable Manitobans

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