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Memorable Manitobans: Catherine Maria Slater Thexton (1921-2019)

Educator, naturalist, historian.

Born at Balmoral on 8 January 1921, daughter of John Henry Slater (1861-1940) and Alexa McDonald Simpson (1882-1954), she was educated at Balmoral School and the Central Normal School then began a teaching career at Middleton School (1939-1940). She later taught at Blaris School (?-?), Lac du Bonnet School (1942-1944), Garson School (?-?), and Oak Bluff School (?-?). On 16 February 1943, she married railway worker George Wilson Thexton (1918-2004) at Winnipeg and she continued to teach while he served overseas with the Royal Canadian Air Force. After they purchased a farm near Balmoral in 1949, she remained at home for some years.

While receiving BSc (1966), BEd (1973), and MEd (1978) degrees from the University of Manitoba, she was a teacher at Principal Sparling School (1961-1962) and St. John’s High School (1966-?) where she taught biology and introduced a course in ecology (1977-1978). Known locally as “The Bird Lady,” she recorded bird and frog sounds that she sold in eight commercial recordings to naturalists worldwide: “In Praise of Spring” (1981), “Meadowlark Music and Other Nature Sounds” (1983), “Let Nature Sing” (1987), “Songs and Sounds” (1989), “Dusk to Dawn Nature” (1992), “Just Birds” (1995), “Sounds from Fields and Woods” (1997), and “Bird Song with Ambient Sound” (2003). She helped to publish the municipal history books “Rockwood Echoes” (1960), “100 Years of History - Rockwood Municipality” (1982) and “The Greenridge School Story” (2014), and fundraised for a monument and bench at the site of Greenridge School. She donated a 40-acre forested land parcel, named the Thexton Oaks, to the Nature Conservancy of Canada in memory of her husband. She was a member of Balmoral United Church, Liberal Party of Canada, and Laurier Club.

She died at Stonewall on 27 February 2019 and was buried in the Victoria Cemetery. Her audio recordings are held at the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections.

Sources:

Marriage registration [John Henry Thexton and Alexa McDonald Simpson], Manitoba Vital Statistics.

Obituary [George Wilson Thexton], Winnipeg Free Press, 9 February 2004.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 5 March 2019.

Burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 5 March 2019

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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