Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: James Roy Colwill (1886-1954)


Born at Darlingford on 23 January 1886, son of Reverend Septimus Edward Colwill (1852-1938) and Janet “Jennie” Wilson (?-1924), he was educated at Portage Collegiate and studied law at Osgoode Hall, Toronto. He articled at Portage la Prairie with Fawcett G. Taylor then practiced for several years at Regina, Saskatchewan. He returned to Portage in 1913 to join the firm of Taylor and Colwill. He later practiced with the firm of Colwill and Newman until 1945. He was a partner in Colwill and Sing from 1950 to the time of his death. He was made a King’s Counsel in 1942. On 20 July 1918, he married Gladys Annie Grobb (1895-1970), daughter of Charles E. Grobb, and they had three children: George Colwill (?-?), Joyce Colwill (?-?, wife of E. Carhart), and Shirley Colwill (?-?, wife of B. Larson). Colwill was active in community affairs and served as school trustee for a number of terms. He was a member of the board of directors of Portage Arena Rink Company, member of the Portage Golf Club, Portage Lodge No. 3, Odd Fellows, and Trinity United Church. He died at St. Petersburg, Florida on 1 April 1954, while on vacation.


Birth and death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“New Year’s honors,” Winnipeg Free Press, 1 January 1942, page 4.

Obituary [Gladys Annie Colwill], Winnipeg Free Press, 30 March 1970, page 32.

We thank Virginia Lockett, granddaughter of J. R. Colwill, for information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 22 October 2018

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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