Memorable Manitobans: Laura Anne Orchard Loyns (1909-1983)
Educator, community activist.
Born at Graysville on 31 July 1909, second daughter and fourth child of Jeannie Anne Murray (1881-1964) and Harold Orchard, in 1912 the family relocated to a farm west of Miami on the first ledge of the Pembina Hills that became Glenorchie Farm Nursery. She attended Morton School, a short half-mile from their home. She completed Grade 11 at Miami School where she was active in baseball and basketball, the latter game significantly motivated by the success of the Edmonton Grads that were on at the top of the Canadian sports scene for women at the time.
In 1928-1929, she attended the Manitou Normal School initiating her life-long dedication to education and development of young people. Before marriage, she taught at Bracken School, Rothesay School, and Badger School. At Roland, she became involved with 4-H and remained active in its leadership and development. Married on 15 December 1934 to Hugh Richard Loyns (1911-1989) of Roseisle, the couple farmed within a few miles of the Glenorchie Farm. The “orchard” traditions in horticulture and floriculture were well represented on this Loyns farm including regular entries in several country fairs. Locally, she served on the school board attended by her two children; the environment in that role was far from gender-neutral, a characteristic of rural/farm communities that continued for decades.
Her community service blossomed from the late 1930s until retirement from farming in 1966. She was active in 4-H (including a 1959 highlight when she chatted with Nikita Khrushchev at an Iowa cattle feedlot), Miami Agricultural Society, and Miami Horticultural Society. She was a long-time member of the Rebekah Lodge of Manitoba and served for several years on the Oddfellow and Rebekah Selection Committee for the annual three-week United Nations Pilgrimage for Youth to New York City. In 1955 and 1961, she chaperoned tours of teenagers from three western provinces and three western states. She returned to teaching in 1958, at Roseisle School, serving for four years. Following a move to Vanderhoof, British Columbia in 1966, she upgraded her credentials and worked as a resource teacher at Vanderhoof Elementary School until 1974.
She died at Chilliwack, British Columbia on 28 July 1983 and was buried in the Miami Cemetery.
Marriage registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 4 August 1983, page 59.
Obituary [Hugh R. Loyns], Winnipeg Free Press, 13 October 1989, page 45.
This page was prepared by Alwyn Loyns and Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 8 July 2017
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