Memorable Manitobans: William Raymond “Toby” Sexsmith (1885-1943)
Lawyer, MLA (1933-1936), MLA (1937-1940), MLA (1941-1945).
Born at Napanee, Ontario on 23 August 1885, son of Tobias Sexsmith and Jane Metcalf, he was educated at public schools and the collegiate at Portage la Prairie. He worked as a reporter for the Portage Daily Graphic and the Portage Review before returning to high school. He then articled in law with the firm of Cooper & Meighen, being called to the Manitoba Bar in 1915. He became a partner in the firm of Meighen & Sexsmith. When Meighen became Prime Minister of Canada in 1920, Sexsmith bought out his share of the practice. He partnered with J. C. Miller under the firm name Sexsmith & Miller. Two years later, Miller departed to practice with his brother, C. C. Miller, and Sexsmith thereafter practiced alone. He was made a King’s Counsel in January 1938.
On 19 November 1927, he married Mildred Howell (?-?), daughter of Capt. J. A. Howell of Selkirk. They had no children. He served as President of the Portage la Prairie Rink Company, President of the Manitoba Hockey Association and Canadian Hockey Association, and Secretary-Treasurer of the Portage la Prairie Conservative Association for 25 years until 1933. He was a member of the Elk Lodge and the Knights of Pythias. He was elected to the Manitoba Legislature at a by-election in November 1933 (replacing Fawcett Gowler Taylor) and re-elected or acclaimed at the 1936 and 1941 general elections. After his death, he was replaced by Charles Edwin Greenlay.
He died at Portage la Prairie on 23 August 1943.
“Six new K.C.’s,” Winnipeg Free Press, 1 January 1938, page 1.
The Canadian Parliamentary Guide, 1938.
“Under The Golden Boy, Manitoba’s M.L.A.s,” Winnipeg Tribune, 9 March 1943. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B9, page 123]
“W. R. Sexsmith dies at Portage la Prairie,” Winnipeg Free Press, 23 August 1943, page 1. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B9, page 136]
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 25 August 2019