Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Robert William “Bob” Lightly (1909-1985)

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Robert William Lightly
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Educator, school inspector.

Born at Swan Lake on 3 September 1909, son of William Robert Lightly (1873-1944) and Laura Evelyn Grogan (1883-1971), he was educated at West Treherne School then began teaching school at the age of 17, at Asham Point School (1926-1927) and Great Falls School (1928-1931). He taught at other rural schools and was Principal at Ninette High School (1931-1937) and Baldur High School (1937-1941). During the Second World War, he enlisted with the Royal Canadian Air Force around March 1941 and was stationed as an Education Officer in Manitoba, Alberta, Ontario, and England. On returning from military service, in 1946 he was appointed a School Inspector at Shoal Lake, succeeding E. H. Reid. In 1949, he was appointed Vice-Principal of the Manitoba Normal School (1949-1951) and two years, he became Principal (1951-1957), succeeding D. Bruce Moorhead. He became Chief School Inspector in 1957 and was later Deputy Minister of Education, retiring in 1974. In the 1960s, he served on a committee of the Manitoba Centennial Corporation. While teaching at Baldur, he met Edith Arvilla May Elson. They married at Treherne on 7 September 1942 and had four children. He died at St. Norbert on 23 March 1985.


Birth registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“Collegiate Clippings,” Baldur Gazette, 6 March 1941, page 8.

“Education department makes staff changes”, Winnipeg Free Press, 25 July 1949, page 6.

“R. W. Lightly named principal of Normal School”, Winnipeg Free Press, 3 October 1951. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B10]

“City inspector will head Normal School”, Winnipeg Free Press, 10 January 1957, page 3.

One Hundred Years in the History of the Rural Schools of Manitoba: Their Formation, Reorganization and Dissolution (1871-1971) by Mary B. Perfect, MEd thesis, University of Manitoba, April 1978.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 25 March 1985, page 35.

Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.

We thank Nathan Kramer for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 19 March 2020

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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