Memorable Manitobans: Thomas William Offen (1881-1959)
Editor and publisher.
Born at Ramsgate, England on 2 June 1881, son of Robert John Offen and Jane Day, he was educated at Ramsgate and apprenticed in the printing trade with J. T. Savage of Ramsgate. He then worked with W. Clark of Margate. He emigrated to Canada in 1903 and went to Saskatchewan, intending to take up a homestead but instead became employed with the Saskatoon Phoenix newspaper. He later worked on a survey party with Dominion Land Surveyor J. W. Tyrrell in Assiniboia and the North West Territories.
He came to Rivers in July 1908 at the town’s founding and established the Rivers Gazette. He was a member of the Canadian Press Association and the Canadian Weekly Newspapers Association (Second Vice-President). In May 1945, he sold the newspaper to Graham F. Barker and retired.
On 31 March 1906, he married Fanny Frances Maneer (1877-1944) and they had three children: Robert Offen (1910-?), Constance Annie Offen (1912-?), and Elizabeth Jean Offen (1918-?). He served as Secretary-Treasurer of the Rivers School Board, Secretary of the Rivers Board of Trade, and a member of the Rivers municipal council. He was a member of the Masons (Rivers Lodge No. 115), IOOF (Pacific Lodge No. 71), and Rivers Methodist Church. His recreations included curling and tennis.
He died at Brandon on 20 June 1959 and was buried in the Rivers Cemetery.
1911 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.
Birth and death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“30 years ago today,” Brandon Sun, 20 May 1975, page 12.
“Pioneer editor succumbs,” Rivers Gazette, 23 July 1959, page 4.
“Periodical publishers,” Rivers Banner, 4 July 2008, page 7A.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 26 November 2019