Memorable Manitobans: Laurence Frank “Laurie” Wilmot (1907-2003)
Born at Clanwilliam on 27 April 1907, on the farm that his family had established after immigrating from England and Ireland, he received his early education at Crocus Hill School and Bethany Consolidated School. He entered St. John’s College as a student about 1921-1922, intending to pursue a program in engineering. Instead, in 1925, he transferred to a theology program. He was ordained in the Diocese of Brandon and spent some years there, then was at Bowsman Anglican Church (1935-1938) and the St. Faith Mission.
He enlisted in the Canadian military starting in 1942, serving as a chaplain in Italy and northwestern Europe, for which he was awarded the Military Cross. On his return to Canada after the war, he returned to academe and earned degrees in divinity and philosophy. He served as field secretary in the General Board of Religious Education, Rector of St. Mary Magdalene Church in Winnipeg for one year then, in the fall of 1950, became Warden of St. John’s College.
Wilmot went to Oxford in 1961 to complete an MA, after which he worked in psychiatric hospitals in the USA and Canada, then a coordinator of Continuing Education in Winnipeg. In his 70s, he earned a second MA. He was the founding president of Creative Retirement Manitoba, and he remained active to the end of this life. His book The St. John’s College Story, A Documentary was launched on his 95th birthday Two years later, he published Through the Hitler Line: Memoirs of an Infantry Chaplain, at age 96.
He died at Winnipeg on 13 December 2003 and was buried in the St. John’s Cathedral Cemetery.
His articles for the Manitoba Historical Society:
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 16 December 2003, page 20.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 28 December 2021