Memorable Manitobans: Edward Bruce Pitblado (1896-1977)
Born at Winnipeg on 23 February 1896, son of Isaac Pitblado and Almyra Campbell. He attended Alexandra School and Winnipeg Collegiate Institute then graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1920 and articled in his father’s law firm under Alfred Erskine Hoskin. He was selected as a Rhodes Scholar for Manitoba in 1922, and he went to Oxford in the spring of 1922. While there, he met a number of Canadians who would later reach prominence: Richard Bonnycastle, Kenneth E. Taylor, Mike Pearson, Roland Michener, and Jack Farthing. He competed in the 1924 Winter Olympics as a member of the British ice hockey team.
On return to Canada, Pitblado graduated in 1926 from the University of Manitoba Law School on the strength of his Oxford record. He received his degree at convocation at the same time as his father, who had served as Chair of the University Board of Governors (1917-1924), received an honourary Doctor of Laws. From 1929 to 1931, he served as President of the Alumni Association of the University. He was President of the Law Society of Manitoba from 1965 to 1966. In 1973 he was inducted into the Manitoba Order of the Buffalo Hunt in recognition of his contribution to wildlife conservation in Manitoba.
In 1928, he married Esther Jonsson, daughter of Reverend B. B. Jonsson. They had two children: James Pitblado and Janice Pitblado. In 1935, he was President of the Manitoba Game and Fish Association and, two years later, he was instrumental in the founding of Ducks Unlimited Canada. He was a founding board member of the Manitoba Centennial Corporation (1963).
He died at Winnipeg on 2 December 1977 and was buried in Elmwood Cemetery. There is a collection of Pitblado family papers at the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections.
“Many active in city’s life today attended Alexandra” by Claire Tisdale, Winnipeg Free Press, 29 January 1949.
“These Manitobans will help plan centennial,” Winnipeg Free Press, 13 September 1963, page 9.
Learned Friends, Reiminiscences - Pitblado & Hoskin 1882-1974 by Anna Tillenius.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 5 December 1977, page 32.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 21 January 2018
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