Memorable Manitobans: William Davidson Thomson (1886-1961)
Born at Perth, Scotland in 1886, he came to a ranch in the vicinity of Oak Lake in 1903 then, in 1906, moved to Winnipeg to study voice under Rhys Thomas. He worked for the Great West Life Assurance Company from 1906 to retirement in 1961.
He was well-known as a natural baritone and he continued to have that reputation despite considerable formal training. He was associated with the choirs of Knox United Church, United Scottish Society, St. Andrew’s Society, and Augustine United Church (1944-1955). In 1931, he directed the Winnipeg Tribune’s “Nights of Community Song” in the city’s parks to a cumulative audience of over 100,000 people. He later was a music reviewer for the Winnipeg Free Press.
On 17 June 1914, he married Helen Margaretha Johnston (1888-1963, daughter of Kenneth John Johnston) and they had four children: W. Kenneth Thomson, Edward C. Thomson, Stewart M. Thomson, and Helen D. Thomson. He was a member of the Masons (Prince Rupert Lodge), Khartum Shriners, and Winnipeg Winter Club.
He died at the Misericordia Hospital on 3 June 1961 and was buried in the Old Kildonan Cemetery.
Marriage registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 5 June 1961, page 26.
“For Auld Lang Syne,” Winnipeg Free Press, 26 August 1961, page 38.
Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
We thank Keith Davies Jones for providing additional information used here.
Page revised: 8 November 2021