Memorable Manitobans: George Johnson (1920-1995)
Physician, MLA (1958-1959), MLA (1959-1962), MLA (1963-1966), MLA (1966-1969), Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba (1986-1993).
Born at Winnipeg on 18 November 1920, son of Jonas and Laufey Johnson, he attended local schools and the University of Manitoba (BSc 1941). He served in the Royal Navy from 1941 to 1945 in the North Sea. After his military discharge, he returned to Winnipeg and attended the University of Manitoba Medical School, graduating in 1950 and moving to Gimli to establish a medical practice.
Elected to the Manitoba Legislature in 1958, he entered the Cabinet immediately and served there under Premiers Roblin and Weir. Re-elected in the 1959, 1962, and 1966 general elections, he served as Minister of Health and Public Welfare (1958-1961), Minister of Health (1961-1963), Minister of Education (1963-1968), and Minister of Health (1968-1969). He was responsible for bringing the early stages of Medicare to Manitoba. In 1986, he was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, serving to 1991.
In 1943, he married Doris Marjorie Blondal (1921-1996) in New York and they had six children. In recognition of his community service, he was inducted into the Order of Canada (1986) and the Winnipeg Citizens Hall of Fame (1994) and he received honorary doctorates from the University of Winnipeg (1992) and University of Manitoba (1995).
He died at his cottage at Gimli on 8 July 1995. He is commemorated by George Johnson Middle School in Gimli. His papers are at the Archives of Manitoba.
Birth registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 10 July 1995, page 13.
Obituary [Doris Marjorie Johnson], Winnipeg Free Press, 1 April 1996, page 14.
Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
We thank Oliver Bernuetz for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 14 March 2021