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Margaret Morse

Health care worker.

She is a woman of historical importance, the central figure in the founding legend of speech therapy in Manitoba. Margaret Chown, as she was then, was a Nursery School Assistant in the Cerebral Palsy Clinic at the old Children’s Hospital, in 1951, when Dr. Wallace Grant, the Superintendent ofthe Hospital, asked her to go to Kent State University, in Ohio, to take post-graduate studies in Speech Pathology. The Kinsmen Club and the provincial government provided some financial assistance, and in return Margaret contracted to come back to the Children’s Hospital and establish a Speech and Hearing Clinic. Her return to Manitoba put the treatment of children in our province with speech difficulties on a professional basis. Over a career of 35 years, she persuaded five other hospitals, one by one, to establish speech therapy services, and contributed some of her own working time to these hospitals. She retired from the last of these, the Victoria General Hospital, in 1995, having seen, and provided the impetus for, great improvements in the treatment of children and adults with communications disorders in our province.

In the course of her career, Margaret Morse became adept in the skills of lobbying, fundraising, and publicity, and developed many powerful contacts in the Manitoba community.  It is no surprise, then, that she has been a force in volunteer organizations. As a life-long member of All Saints’ Church, she has been active in most of the Church’s activities and organizations. She has worked with fundraising and development for the School of Medicine, and with fund raising for St John’s College. She was a long-time and valued member of the Volunteer Committee of the Winnipeg Art Gallery, of the Women’s Musical Club, and of the Foundation to promote the artistic legacy of the composer, Sonia Eckhart-Gramatté. She has worked with refugees, immigrant groups, and in seniors’ programmes.

The Manitoba Historical Society is in her debt, in particular, for chairing one of its most important Committees, the Sir John A. Macdonald Dinner Committee. This is its most important single fundraising events, and under Margaret’s guidance the Dinners raised almost $40,000 in much needed revenue, while providing an elegant and entertaining evening on what usually turns out to be the coldest night of the winter. Her Committee attracted such dinner speakers as the Honorable Justice Murray Sinclair, the journalist Jake Macdonald, the Honorable John Turner, and the historical troubadour, Mike Ford. The care and attention to detail that Margaret and her Committee brought to the Dinners made everyone who attended feel that they had done something important.

In recognition of her contributions to the Manitoba Historical Society, Margaret Morse received the Douglas Kemp Award in 2007.

Sources:

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 1 November 2012

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