Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Gordon Ellwood Johnston (1920-2005)

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Gordon Ellwood Johnston
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Businessman, MLA (1963-1966), MLA (1966-1969), MLA (1969-1973), MLA (1973-1977).

Born at Portage la Prairie on 15 October 1920, son of Scottish immigrants James Johnston and Selena Amanda Johnston, he attended the Portage Collegiate Institute. During the Second World War, he was a pilot with the Royal Air Force and, from 1943 to 1945, was a prisoner of war in Germany. On his return to civilian life, he worked as an insurance underwriter for the Manufacturers Life Insurance Company before working at the post office at Portage la Prairie from 1948 to 1952. He later operated “Johnston’s Solo Store,” a grocery.

He served on the Portage la Prairie city council from 1959 to 1962 and in 1962 was elected to the Manitoba Legislature for the Portage constituency. Re-elected in 1966, 1969, and 1973, replaced by Lloyd Hyde in 1977. From 1966 to 1968 he served as Executive Director of the Liberal Party of Manitoba and from 1969 to 1977 was House Leader. In 1978 he was appointed Manitoba’s Citizenship Court judge serving two three-year terms and retiring in 1984. From 1984 to 1998 he was Marriage Commissioner for Manitoba.

He was married twice, first to Myra Campbell Brown (1921-1971) with whom he had four daughters and two sons. His second wife was Maria ? and they had three children. He was a member of the Elks Club, Portage Rotary Club, Portage Golf Club, Portage Flying Club, and Royal Canadian Legion. In recognition of his community service, he received the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977.

He died on 7 November 2005.

Sources:

Birth registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

Obituary [Myra Campbell Johnston], Winnipeg Free Press, 5 April 1971, page 57.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 9 November 2005, page 37.

Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough and Oliver Bernuetz.

Page revised: 19 March 2021

Memorable Manitobans

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