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Manitoba History No. 90

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Memorable Manitobans: John Lawrence Thistlethwaite (1916-2012)

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John L. Thistlethwaite
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Born at Winnipeg on 24 November 1916, son of John Laurence Thistlethwaite (1881-1965) and Florence Emma Garnet Garrett (1882-1966), and brother of Robert Thistlethwaite, he attended Norberry School and Glenlawn Collegiate. During the Second World War, he served with the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals in Europe and attained the rank of Lieutenant. Following the war, he took employment with Great West Life and completed post-secondary education. He studied at Harvard University, the University of British Columbia, and the University of Manitoba, earning a BA and BEd. He became a teacher in the St. Vital School Division around 1948, and taught at Norberry Junior High School, St. John’s Technical High School, and St. George School prior to becoming Principal of Glenlawn Collegiate (1957-1967). During his tenure as Principal, he met Kathleen May “Kit” Belcher (1920-2007), whom he married in 1961. The couple moved to Crescentwood and had two children. He later returned to teaching, concluding his career at River Heights School (1968-?), after which he retired. His pastimes included sports cars, golfing, bowling, singing, and the arts. He was a member of the St. Mark’s choir in St. Vital, the St. George’s Crescentwood choir, the Men’s Philharmonic Choir, the Winnipeg Sports Car Club, and the Winnipeg Teachers’ Bowling League. He died at his Winnipeg home, 997 Dorchester Avenue, on 19 April 2012.


1911 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

Birth and marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“Know your Principal,” Winnipeg Free Press, 12 May 1964, page 3.

Obituary [Florence Emma Thistlethwaite], Winnipeg Free Press, 14 April 1966, page 34.

“Winnipeg teachers’ list announced,” Winnipeg Free Press, 31 August 1968, page 28.

Obituary [Kathleen May Thistlethwaite], Winnipeg Free Press, 18 April 2007, page 38.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 21 April 2012.

We thank Robert Klassen for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.

Page revised: 8 February 2015

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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

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