Memorable Manitobans: Norma Killeen Price (1920-2008)
Hotelier, MLA (1977-1981).
Born at Winnipeg on 19 August 1920, daughter of Aurora Martel (1892-1968) and Clement Alphonse Killeen (1886-1955), she was educated at the Immaculate Conception parochial school and completed her education at St. Mary's Academy. She started in the hospitality business at the Viscount Gort Hotel in Winnipeg, rising to become the first woman in Canada to be a General Manager of a major hotel. She later moved to the International Inn where she was the Sales and Public Relations Manager for ten years.
After a defeat in the 1973 provincial general election, she was elected as a provincial Progressive Conservative MLA in the 1977 election, the only woman elected to the legislature that year, only the sixth woman ever elected to the Manitoba Legislature, and only the second female Cabinet Minister in the 111-year history. She served as Minister of Labour (1977-1978), Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs (1978-1979), and Minister of Cultural Affairs and Historical Resources (1979-1981). She was not a candidate in the 1981 general election.
She switched careers in the 1970s, working as an underwriter for the Sun Life Assurance Company. She was instrumental in having company’s human resource manuals revised to make them gender neutral. She was chairperson of the home visiting program for the Prison Chaplain’s Volunteers for ten years helping federal prisoners manage their relationships while they were in prison.
She was married three times, first on 1 February 1940 to Howard Wesley Isidor (?-?) at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. They had three children before divorcing in January 1959. She then married widower James P. Price (1914-1979). In August 1981, she married widower John Edward Heeney (1916-2010). She donated of her time for the United Way, Meals on Wheels and various church fundraisers. She received numerous awards including one of the YWCA’s Women of the Year awards (1977) and a Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal (1977). She was one of the first inductees in the Women Business Owners of Manitoba Hall of Fame (1996).
She died at Winnipeg on 24 February 2008.
Marriage registration [Clement Alphonse Killeen, Aurora Martel], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Marriage registration [Norma Lorraine Killeen, Howard Isidor], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Norma Lorraine Killeen weds Howard Wesley Isidor in vesper hour ceremony,” Winnipeg Tribune, 3 February 1940, page 11.
Obituary [Clement Killeen], Winnipeg Free Press, 30 December 1955, page 17.
“8 divorce decrees made absolute,” Winnipeg Free Press, 16 January 1959, page 9.
Obituary [James P. Price], Winnipeg Free Press, 9 March 1979, page 51.
Members of the Legislative Assembly (deceased), Legislative Assembly of Manitoba.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 25 May 2022