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Memorable Manitobans: James Douglas “Doug” Watt (1914-1985)

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James Douglas Watt
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Farmer, MLA (1959-1962), MLA (1963-1966), MLA (1966-1969), MLA (1969-1973), MLA (1973-1977).

Born at Reston on 26 April 1914, son of William Watt and Anna Belle Robertson Milliken (1884-1979), he was educated at Hillview School, later farming in the Hillview district, specializing in seed growing. He served as Deputy Reeve of the Rural Municipality of Pipestone in 1958. He was elected to the Manitoba Legislature at a by-election in November 1959, representing the Progressive Conservative party, and was re-elected at the general elections of 1959, 1962, 1966, 1969, and 1973. He served as Deputy Speaker for two years, was Chairman of the Municipal Affairs and Agriculture committees, and Vice-Chairman of the Livestock Marketing Commission. He held the portfolio of Minister of Agriculture in the Weir government. He was not a candidate at the 1977 election, and was later appointed Chairman of the Agriculture Crown Lands Advisory Committee by the Lyon government.

On 13 April 1936, he married Rossie Grace Smeltz (1913-1992), daughter of John George Smeltz of Cromer. They had four children: Marlyn Winnifred Watt, Sherrill Dawn Watt, Melvin Douglas Watt, and Dallas Lee Watt. He was a member of the local Masonic lodge, Reston Lions Club, Hillview United Church, Reston United Church, and was Superintendent of the Hillview Sunday School. He served on the Hillview School Board, Reston Rink Board, Memorial Hall Board, Virden and Reston Hospital District Boards, and the Alstone Lodge Board. In 1977, he received a Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal in recognition of his community service.

He died at Reston on 24 December 1985 and was buried in the Reston Cemetery.


The Canadian Parliamentary Guide, 1960.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 18 January 1986, page 40.

Members of the Legislative Assembly (deceased), Legislative Assembly of Manitoba.

Burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 10 January 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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