Memorable Manitobans: Isabel Ross MacLean Hunt (1894-1990)
Born at Deloraine on 2 November 1894, one of ten children born to grain merchant John R. MacLean (1853-1913) and Alexina Isabel Campbell (1863-?), sister of George C. MacLean, Donald R. MacLean, and John MacLean, she grew up in Winnipeg, graduated in law from the University of Manitoba, and was called to the Manitoba Bar in 1916. She managed her brother Donald’s law firm while he served in the Canadian military during the war and later practised law on her own at Grandview.
On 25 December 1919, she married Albert James Hunt (?-?) of Cornwall, Ontario and resumed her practice at Winnipeg in 1923 when her husband died. They had two children: John MacLean Hunt and Dorothy Isabel Alexina Hunt (1923-2000, wife of Robert S. W. Campbell). For many years she worked in the legal department of the City of Winnipeg, and she was made a Queen’s Counsel in 1953, the first woman in the province so honoured. She was a founding member of the Portia Club and Winnipeg Soroptimist Club, and a member of First Presbyterian Church and University Women’s Club. In 1983, she received the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case.
She died at Toronto, Ontario on 1 January 1990. She was selected posthumously as a Manitoba Women Trailblazer.
Birth and marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Obituary [John MacLean], Winnipeg Tribune, 11 April 1913, page 8.
“City woman first QC in Manitoba,” Winnipeg Free Press, 1 January 1953.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 4 January 1990, page .
Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.
Obituary [Dorothy Isabel Alexina Campbell], Winnipeg Free Press, 5 August 2000.
We thank Lee Gibson and Sandra Martin for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 4 October 2021