Memorable Manitobans: Richard Trimble “Dick” Willis (1944-1989)
Lawyer, civil servant.
Born at Winnipeg on 2 April 1944, son of Errick French Willis and Louise Isabel Trimble, he attended Tuxedo Park School and J. B. Mitchell School before taking high school at Trinity College School at Port Hope, Ontario. He received a BA from the University of Manitoba then graduated with a law degree from Dalhousie University (Halifax, Nova Scotia) in 1969. He practiced law with the Winnipeg firm of Aikins, MacAulay and Thorvaldson from 1970 to 1980.
In February 1980, he was appointed Chief Electoral Officer for Manitoba. In this capacity, he oversaw the implementation of the amended Manitoba Elections Act and the new Elections Expenses Act in 1980, three provincial elections (1981, 1986, 1988), and several byelections. He was also a member of the Electoral Divisions Boundaries Commission which, in 1988, recommended the transfer of two provincial constituencies from rural to urban areas, in recognition of changes in the distribution of Manitoba’s population. He served for ten years on the board of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
He died of cancer at Winnipeg on 14 August 1989.
“Chief electoral officer claimed by cancer at 45,” Winnipeg Free Press, 15 August 1989, page 9.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 17 August 1989, page 45.
We thank Hollie Andrew and Alison Mitchell (Elections Manitoba) for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 9 November 2020