Memorable Manitobans: Frederick George “Fred” Stambrook (1929-2005)
Born Frederick Sternberg at Vienna, Austria on 16 November 1929 to Edith Weiss (1902-1934) and Karl Kenneth Sternberg (later Charles Stambrook) (1902-1985). Following the death of his mother when he was five years old, and while his father managed various industrial concerns, he was raised by his maternal grandparents at Vienna and subsequently in exile at Prague in 1939. The situation there was perilous and in 1939 he was sent alone by rail and ferry to the sanctuary of England, to the care of his eventual stepmother Wilhelmina “Mimi” Grünwald (1903-1973) and then joined by his father. Later, his Weiss grandparents died at Terezin Concentration Camp. In 1940, he was evacuated from London to Lincolnshire, where he attended the local village school, learned English, and won a scholarship to Alford Grammar School. He spent summers with his parents and stepbrother and performed his post-war military service as an Education Officer in the Royal Air Force (1950-1952).
His academic success led to scholarships at St. Catherine’s College (BA Honours History) and the London School of Economics (BSc Honours Economics and PhD). While completing his PhD in International History in London, he worked at the British Foreign Office on the translation of captured German Foreign Office war documents at Whaddon Hall (Whaddon, Buckinghamshire). In 1955, he met and married Elizabeth Mason Arnold (1932-2021) of Melbourne, Australia and they went on to have three sons. During this period, he was immersed in local village cultural activities, cricket, soccer, amateur dramatics, and politics (Liberal). In 1960, he accepted his first academic appointment as Lecturer in History at Sydney University, Australia.
In 1968, he was appointed Assistant Professor of History at the University of Manitoba, and Winnipeg remained his home until his death. His research interest in inter-war European diplomacy soon became secondary to his increasing administrative roles at the University of Manitoba, where he served as Head of the German Department (1976-1977), Associate Dean of Arts (1975-1977), Dean of Arts (1977-1982) and Vice-President, Academic (1982-1991). Following his administrative retirement, he was asked to fill in as interim departmental head of Political Studies (1995-1997), and then Native Studies (1998-1999). In May 2004 he was honoured as Dean Emeritus. He was highly respected and appreciated as an academic historian who passionately loved teaching. Students consistently praised him as an educator, and recognized him as a man of worldly knowledge.
He enjoyed many sports. At college, he played cricket, rugby, and football (soccer). He was actively involved with his sons in soccer, as a supporter, coach, and referee. His passion for soccer and his administrative talent were soon combined in his founding role with the Manitoba Minor Soccer Association. This led to his long-term contributions as President of the Canadian Youth Soccer Association (1975-1979), the Manitoba Soccer Association (1980-1986), and the Canadian Soccer Association (1986-1992). His lifelong commitment to soccer was recognized with Life Memberships in the Canadian Soccer Association (1999) and the Manitoba Soccer Association (2002). He was also inducted as a sports-builder into the Manitoba Jewish Sports Hall of Fame (1999) and the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame (2003). Some of his many achievements in sports were championing rural soccer in Manitoba and women’s soccer in Canada; Host-President for the FIFA U-17 World Cup (Toronto, 1982); Chair of FIFA Appeals Committees for soccer at the LA Olympics (1984) and the World Cup (1994); involvement in the Winnipeg Pan-Am Games bid (1999), and Chef de Mission for numerous travelling Canadian national soccer teams. In recognition of his community service, he received a Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal (1977).
Stambrook was a strong supporter of the arts—ballet, opera, and theatre, especially the Prairie Theatre Exchange. He was a Board Member of the Jewish Heritage Centre, and with his second wife, Stella Hryniuk, developed an active interest in the immigrant experience to Canada and the multicultural diversity of Hapsburg-Galicia. He was an avid world traveller and was known for his colourful telling of the stories of his adventures.
He died at Winnipeg on 15 July 2005.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 18 July 2005.
Obituary [Elizabeth Mason Arnold Stambrook], Winnipeg Free Press, 23 July 2021.
“Frederick George Stambrook,” Grunwald Loveday Family Tree, Ancestry.
This page was prepared by Lois Braun.
Page revised: 8 September 2022