Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: William Cecil Ross (c1911-1998)

Social and political activist, municipal official.

Brother of Joseph Zuken and husband of Anne Ross, he was a veteran of the Second World War who served in Italy, Holland, and Germany. Committed to social causes in Canada, he was the leader of the Young Communist League and later leader of the Communist Party of Manitoba (1948-1981). He took the surname Ross to protect his family from threats due to his unpopular causes. In 1934, he served time in the Dauphin jail on a conspiracy charge resulting from his involvement in a miners strike at Flin Flon. He was instrumental in the election of communist candidates to the Manitoba Legislature, Winnipeg City Council, and the Winnipeg School Board. He served two terms on the Winnipeg School Board (1938-1940) but was soundly defeated in the 1953, 1957, 1958, 1962, 1968, 1972, 1974, and 1979 federal general elections, and in the 1945, 1959, 1966, 1973, 1977, and 1981 provincial general elections. He died on 4 June 1998.


“Still Trustee, Ross declares,” Winnipeg Free Press, 10 September 1940, page 7.

“A committed, caring Communist,” Winnipeg Free Press, 6 June 1998, page A6.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 8 June 1998, page C7.

“They are gone, but not forgotten,” Winnipeg Free Press, 31 December 1998, page A4.

We thank Daniel Ross for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough and Nathan Kramer.

Page revised: 16 November 2020

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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