Memorable Manitobans: Claudia Myrna Bowman (1932-2004)
Lawyer, judge, feminist.
Born at Winnipeg on 18 May 1932, she was educated in Winnipeg schools and worked initially as a secretary following high school. In 1955, she married David Edward Bowman (1931-2003), after which she attended university, first in Arts and later in Law. She was called to the Manitoba Bar in March 1966. She practising initially with the firm of Munson and Crawford and, from 1968 to 1983, in partnership with her husband in the firm of Bowman and Bowman.
She was an active member of the Canadian Bar Association and the Manitoba Bar Association, serving on various committees, particularly the Family Law Sub-Section and Public Relations Committee. In 1969 she chaired the Manitoba Censorship Review Board and, from 1978 to 1983, served as an Elected Bencher of the Law Society of Manitoba. From 1971 to 1977 she was a part-time Provincial Judge, and from 1971 to 1977 acted as a member of the Manitoba Law Reform Commission. From 1976 to 1983 she served as an Executive Member of the Manitoba Trial Lawyers Association.
In 1978 she was a consultant to the Government of Manitoba - Family Law Review Committee, leading to enrollment of a new Family Maintenance and Marital Property Act, and in 1979 consulted with the Law Reform Commission of Canada on Maintenance Enforcement. From 1972 to 1983 she also lectured in Family Law for the Bar Admission Course of the Law Society of Manitoba. In 1981 she was appointed Queens Counsel and, in October 1983, a judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench, where she served in the Family Division from 1984 until her death.
In addition to her professional activities, she served at various times as board member or chair for the Unitarian Church of Winnipeg, Parents Without Partners, Advisory Board of YWCA of Winnipeg, Social Planning Council of Winnipeg, Skills Unlimited, and the Canada Pension Plan Advisory Committee. In recognition of her community service, she received the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal (2002).
Debilitated by the effects of Parkinson’s disease, she elected to end her own life. She died on 25 March 2004.
Obituary [David Edward Bowman], Winnipeg Free Press, 16 October 2003.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 27 March 2004.
“Judge’s final decision: a death with dignity” by Gordon Sinclair, Winnipeg Free Press, 3 April 2004, page A1.
We thank Greg van Slyke for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 7 March 2019