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Memorable Manitobans: Shirley Elizabeth Perret Loewen (1936-2022)

Community activist, philanthropist.

Born on a farm at Invermay, Saskatchewan on 21 December 1936, daughter of Charles and Zona Perret, her father died at an early age, leaving her mother to raise eight children. Graduating from school at the age of 16, she worked in a local bank until being accepted into a nursing program at the Saskatoon City Hospital. While there, she met William H. “Bill” Loewen and married him in 1958, moving to Edmonton where she nursed until the birth of their first child. The family moved to Winnipeg in 1965 and ultimately grew to five children. She assisted her husband in development of their businesses, Comcheq Services Limited and Telpay Incorporated.

Active in the community, she advocated on behalf of French immersion education for children, serving as a trustee for the Division Scolaire Franco-Manitobaine and overseeing development of the first all-French school built in St. Norbert, Ecole Noël-Ritchot. She served as Chair of the Women's Committee of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and a founder and donor to the St. Norbert Arts Centre where she was Board Chair for many years. She sat on the boards of Heritage St. Norbert and the St. Norbert Foundation. In her later years, she managed the WH and SE Loewen Foundation that sponsored artists, arts, and social service organizations. She was a candidate in the 1993 federal general election.

In recognition of her community service, she received the Prix Manitoba Award (1999), an award from Heritage Winnipeg (1999), and an honorary degree from the University of Winnipeg (2000).

She died at Winnipeg on 22 June 2022.

Sources:

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 25 June 2022.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 25 June 2022

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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