Memorable Manitobans: Donald MacGregor Stephens (1903-1968)
Born at Reston on 17 November 1903, son of John Mortimer Stephens (1871-1962) and Rosa Haseltine MacGregor (c1871-1952), he was educated locally and taught at Willow Plain School (1926-1928) before receiving a degree in civil engineering from the University of Manitoba (1931). He joined the Manitoba Department of Mines and Natural Resources in 1933, serving as Deputy Minister from 1938 to 1951. In the 1950 flood, he organized an emergency flood-forecasting unit, and subsequently served on the Greater Winnipeg Dyking Board. From 1949 to 1951, he coordinated work of the Manitoba Hydro-Electric Board.
In 1951, he was appointed Chairman and General Manager of the Manitoba Hydro-Electric Board, continuing as its General Manager after 1961 when he stepped down as Chairman. He was a member of the International Joint Commission, and from 1958 a member of the board of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited. He was active in his profession, serving as President of the Engineering Institute of Canada. He was also active in United Way. He held an honorary doctorate from Clarkson College of Technology and an honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Manitoba (1966).
On 15 December 1934, he married Irene Isabel White (1907-1999) at St. Andrews and they had three sons and a daughter.
He died at Winnipeg on 2 April 1968 and was buried in the Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens. He is commemorated by Stephens Lake in northern Manitoba.
Birth and marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Obituary [Rosa Haseltine Stephens], Winnipeg Free Press, 24 April 1952, page 26.
Obituary [John M. Stephens], Winnipeg Free Press, 10 August 1962, page 35.
“Hydro chairman D. M. Stephens dies,” Winnipeg Free Press, 2 April 1968.
“Heart attack kills Hydro chairman,” Winnipeg Tribune, 2 April 1968.
Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.
Obituary [Irene Isabel Stephens], Winnipeg Free Press, 18 September 1999, page 54.
We thank Nathan Kramer for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 24 March 2023