Memorable Manitobans: Robert Francis Rorke (1863-1948)
Born at St. Thomas, Ontario in September 1863, son of Michael Rorke and Laving Hepburn, he was “a pioneer in public baby clinics,” who came to Winnipeg around 1905. In 1908, along with the Ladies’ Service League, he founded a free clinic and baby milk depot on Logan Avenue. He served there as honorary physician with Dr. Edward Richardson. He was an attending physician there until 1915 when the City Health Department assumed responsibility for this role. From 1916 to 1941, he worked at the baby milk depot near the Children’s Hospital. A man who devoted 40 years to infant care in Winnipeg, he studied several languages in order to better communicate with the growing immigrant population of Winnipeg, which he served.
On 10 January 1906, he married Etta May Rollins (1875-1944) at Derby, Vermont. They adopted two children: John A. MacDonald (c1911-?) and Agnes MacDonald.
He died at his Winnipeg home, 1026 Grosvenor Avenue, on 15 December 1948 and was buried in the Old Kildonan Cemetery.
Vermont marriage registration, Ancestry.
1921 Canada Census, Ancestry.
“Mrs. E. M. Rorke dies in Toronto,” Winnipeg Tribune, 5 August 1944, page 4.
“Dr. R. Rorke, founder of free baby clinic, dies,” Winnipeg Tribune, 16 December 1948 [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B10, page 113]
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
This page was prepared by Sarah Ramsden and Nathan Kramer.
Page revised: 22 August 2021