Memorable Manitobans: Frances Isabel McKay (1907-1973)
Educator, administrator, author.
Born at the Rural Municipality of Kildonan on 24 July 1907, the middle daughter of Angus Matheson McKay and Annie Munroe McLeod (1871-1934), she earned a BSc (HEc) from the University of Manitoba in 1928 and later attended Cornell University. She taught at the Manitoba School for the Deaf (c1931-1935) then she joined the Department of Agriculture’s Adult Extension Service (1935-?) and became Director of Women’s Work (?-1942). From 1942 to 1943, she accepted a Swift fellowship in Applied Nutrition, writing a book that would see international circulation. While in Manitoba, she also served on the Manitoba Royal Commission for Adult Education, as well as other boards and advisory committees, including the Wartime Prices and Trade Board, and was a 14-year Executive Secretary of the Manitoba Women’s Institute and Councillor of the Federated Women’s Institute of Canada.
From 1955 to 1957, she served with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Baghdad, Iraq and moved to Ottawa, Ontario in 1960. There, she worked with the Federal Department of Northern Affairs and Natural Resources as Chief of the Northern Administration Branch’s Adult Education Section, and Head (1969-1972) of the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs’ Social Education Program of Indian and Eskimo Affairs Program, where she spent great amounts of time in the Arctic developing education programs and housing improvements. She was a member of the Associated Country Women of the World, University Women’s Club, lifetime member of Zonta International and President of the Winnipeg Zonta Club, as well as President of the Canadian Home Economics Association.
She died, unmarried, at Ottawa on 23 February 1973.
Birth registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 5 March 1973, page 33.
This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.
Page revised: 7 October 2014
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