Memorable Manitobans: William “Will” Leach (1891-1976)
Born at Crewe, England on 28 May 1891, son of William Leach and Susan Bratherton, he was educated at the University of Manchester (MSc) and the University of Birmingham (PhD, DSc). During the First World War, he served three and a half years in the Royal Air Force. He had been teaching 15 years at the University of Birmingham when, in 1937, he came to Winnipeg as the Head of the Department of Botany at the University of Manitoba. He was a specialist in plant ecologist and physiology, writing three books: Respiration in Plants (1932), A Textbook of Practical Botany (1935), and Plant Ecology (1949).
In 1945, he was elected to the Royal Society of Canada. He was a member of the Scientific Club of Winnipeg, Winnipeg Camera Club (President, 1940), and Manitoba Society of Artists. He collected aboriginal artifacts. He and his wife Beatrice Boden lived at 841 North Drive, Winnipeg, and had a cottage on Caddy Lake in the Whiteshell. After retirement from the University in 1954, he moved to British Columbia and was replaced by E. Roy Waygood.
He died at Saanichton, British Columbia on 17 July 1976.
“Botany heads chosen,” Winnipeg Free Press, 12 April 1937. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B8]
“Dr. William Leach heads camera club,” Winnipeg Free Press, 29 February 1940, page 16.
“78 pictures exhibited by Manitoba artists,” Winnipeg Tribune, 6 March 1947, page 5.
“McGill man to head U Botany Dept,” Winnipeg Free Press, 8 July 1954, page 28.
Death registration, British Columbia Vital Statistics.
“Personalia [Obituary],” The Canadian Botanical Association Bulletin, Volume 10, Number 2, April 1977, page 15.
We thank Grant Sutherland for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough and Margaret Buffie.
Page revised: 25 March 2015