Memorable Manitobans: Wilfred William Henry Thomas (1875-1953)
Born at Tenby, Pembrokeshire on 6 April 1875, son of William Trevore Thomas and Fanny Read, he was educated at Reading School (Berkshire), St. Paul’s Missionary College (Burgh, Lincolnshire), and St. Augustine’s College (Canterbury). He came to Canada in 1897 and was ordained although under the canonical age.
In 1899, he became the Rector at St. Luke’s Anglican Church in Winnipeg, then was appointed to Selkirk in 1902. He also served at Holy Trinity Anglican in Elm Creek (?-?). He became Archdeacon in 1915, and was elected the first Anglican Bishop of Brandon, in 1924. He was an early supporter of the Bishop’s Messengers, founded by Rita Fowler in 1926. He retired from active work in 1949.
In 1900, he married Matilda Ellen Dean (1880-1951), with whom he had ten children, including Betty Margaret Thomas (1904-?), Madeline Grace Thomas (1905-?), Mary Mildred Thomas (1907-?), Henry Wilfred Thomas (1909-?), Paul Dyfrig Dean Thomas (1911-?), Noel Thomas (1914-?), Pat Thomas (1916-?), and Dorothy Thomas (1919-?). He was awarded an honorary degree by St. John’s College.
He died at Brandon on 2 July 1953 and was buried in the Brandon Municipal Cemetery.
Birth registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
1911 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.
“78-year-old Bishop dies, served church 52 years,” Winnipeg Free Press, 2 July 1953, page 1.
Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
We thank Sandy Jasper for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 14 June 2020