Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: John Earl “Jack” Abra (1909-2001)


Born at Winnipeg on 1 May 1909, son of Jacob Abra and Jessie Hay Nicol, he graduated from St. John’s High School and attended the University of Manitoba. He received his DDS degree from the University of Minnesota (1931), obtained orthodontic certification from Harvard University, then began the practice of orthodontia at Winnipeg. During the Second World War, he served for six years with the Canadian Army Dental Corps, two years in Canada and four in Europe, and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

After the war he returned to his orthodontic practice and was instrumental in the development of the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Manitoba. He also served as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Orthodontics from its inception in 1958 until his retirement in 1980. He was a founding member and President of the Canadian Association of Orthodontists (1954-1955), President of the Manitoba Dental Association (1959), President of the Midwestern Society of Orthodontists (1964), and President of the Canadian Dental Association (1973). In recognition of his many years of outstanding service to the dental and orthodontic communities, he received Distinguished Service Awards from both the University of Manitoba (1983) and the Midwestern Society of Orthodontists (1992). He served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and was Commodore of the Winnipeg Canoe Club. He was a member of the Winnipeg Winter Club and Westminster United Church, and an avid hunter and fisherman.

He died at Winnipeg on 27 August 2001.


Birth registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

1911 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 1 September 2001, page 51.

“We will not forget them,” Winnipeg Free Press, 31 December 2001, page B3.

CAO History, Canadian Journal of Orthodontists.

This page was prepared by Ian Stewart and Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 10 October 2016

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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