Memorable Manitobans: Lawrence Layard Whytehead (1914-2005)
Physician and surgeon, community activist.
Born at Eastry, Kent, England on 7 February 1914, to Dorothy Bramwell Jackson (1887-1958) and Henry Layard Whytehead (1879-1954), he was educated at St. Edmund’s School at Canterbury and Charterhouse School at Godalming. He then obtained his Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degrees at Oriel College, Oxford. During the Second World War, he served in the Royal Air Force in North Africa.
In 1952, while studying at Boston as the first recipient of the Evarts A. Graham Memorial Travelling Fellowship, he met and married Nancy Jane Anderson (1930-2016), a graduate of the Massachusetts General Hospital School of Nursing, with whom he went on to have four daughters. They lived in London, England, where he was a consulting surgeon, until 1955, when they immigrated to Winnipeg. There he joined the Manitoba Clinic and established his practice in thoracic surgery, retiring in 1979.
He was active in church and community affairs for many years. He served as a Sunday School teacher, vestry member, and warden in the parishes of St. George’s Anglican Church, St. Luke’s Anglican Church, and St. Peter’s Anglican Church, and as a delegate to the Diocesan, Provincial, and General Synods of the Anglican Church. He was awarded the Canada 125th Anniversary Medal (1992) and the Anglican Award of Merit (1993). He was a member and co-chair of the Allocations Committee of the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund, and served on the boards of Agape Table, the Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council, and the Interfaith Pastoral Institute (later called the Aurora Family Therapy Centre). He was also instrumental in securing training positions for doctors from overseas to qualify for practice in Canada. Many refugees and newcomers to Canada look to him as the person who made it possible for them to make Canada their home and who helped them settle into their new lives. His professional and volunteer work exemplified his values of justice, compassion, and service to those in need.
He enjoyed family time at a cottage at Minaki, Ontario, working on projects, and playing backgammon and cribbage.
He died at Winnipeg on 10 July 2005.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 13 July 2005.
Obituary [Nancy Jane Whytehead], Winnipeg Free Press, 23 July 2016.
“Lawrence Layard Whytehead,” Brooke-Layard Family Tree, Ancestry.
This page was prepared by Lois Braun.
Page revised: 29 October 2022