Memorable Manitobans: Jean-Baptiste Joseph “John” Charron (1890-1971)
Railway telegrapher, community activist.
Born at Worcester, Massachusetts in 1890, son of Canadian parents who left him orphaned at an early age, he was adopted by relatives and grew up in Quebec. He was educated in Montreal and learned telegraphy as a young boy. As young man, he came to western Manitoba and worked as a night clerk at the Roblin Hotel while waiting for a job opening on the Canadian Northern Railway. He later worked as a telegrapher and operator at Rivers, Ste. Rose du Lac, St. Laurent, and St. Lazare before retiring to Winnipeg.
He started a hospitalization plan for railway workers on the Rivers main line. He is alleged to have named it Blue Cross for his favourite colour. After enlisting 90 percent of railway employees in the plan, it became too unwieldy for him to manage so he approached the Manitoba government about taking it over. In recognition of his community service, the Manitoba Historical Society gave him a Centennial Medal (1970).
While on a hunting trip at St. Lazare, he met and, on 28 August 1917, married Marie Anne Fouillard (1897-?). The couple had six children: Joseph Honore Adolphe Charron (1918-2013), Philippe Charron (?-2001), Aldea-Georgette Charron (wife of Earle Reid), John Robert Eugene Charron (?-2006), Jeanne Marguerite Charron (1925-2005), and Raymond Thomas Charron.
He died at the St. Vital Hospital on 2 May 1971 and was buried in the St. Lazare Catholic Cemetery.
Marriage registration [Jean Charron, Marie Fouillard], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Obituary [John Joseph Charron], Winnipeg Free Press, 3 May 1971, page 12.
Ellice: 1883-1983 by Ellice Centennial Book Committee, 1983, pages 315-316.
Obituary [Marie Anne Charron], Winnipeg Free Press, 4 August 1989, page 37.
Obituary [Jeanne Marguerite Charron], Winnipeg Free Press, 22 August 2005.
Obituary [Joseh Robert Eugene Charron], Winnipeg Free Press, 1 November 2006.
Obituary [Joseph Honore Adolphe Charron], Winnipeg Free Press, 6 July 2013.
Joseph Jean Baptiste Charron, FindAGrave.
We thank Margaret Romak for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 8 January 2023