Memorable Manitobans: Flora Cruickshank Cowan (1902-1986)
Municipal official, community activist.
Born at Edinburgh, Scotland on 15 July 1902, she immigrated to Transcona with her parents Adam and Helen Cruickshank in 1911. On 15 August 1922, she married highway engineer Edgar Clarence Cowan (1894-1951) at Transcona and they lived at Oakbank (1922-1926), Boissevain (1926-1927), Brandon (1927-1945), and Winnipeg (1945-1951) while having two children: Franklin Cruickshank “Frank” Cowan (1923-1954, husband of Donna Margaret McPhedran) and Ruth Cowan (1928-2005, wife of Donald A. Forsyth). She was active with the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire.
After the accidental death of his husband in 1951, she returned to Brandon to work for her son's lumber and concrete business. In 1953, became the Dean of Women at Brandon College, where she served until 1967. She was a member of the Provincial Council of Women, and served on the Brandon city council (1954-1969). During her time as a councillor, she was the first woman to be appointed Acting Mayor. She was later Chairman of the Board for the Fairview Home in Brandon. In recognition of her community service, she received the Manitoba Golden Boy Award (1966) and the Trillium Business Professionals Club Woman of the Year Award (1967).
Marriage registration [Flora Cruickshank, Edgar Clarence Cowan], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Engagement notices,” Winnipeg Free Press, 12 November 1949, page 14.
“Edgar C. Cowan, 57, drowns at Clear Lake,” Winnipeg Free Press, 7 July 1951, page 1.
“Body found in Clear Lake,” Winnipeg Free Press, 3 September 1951, page 7.
“Frank Cowan died in car-tractor crash,” Brandon Sun, 21 August 1954, page 2.
“College's Dean is a woman of many talents,” Brandon Sun, 10 October 1963, page 11.
“She's a 'queen' among deans and city's unofficial hostess,” Winnipeg Tribune, 26 February 1964.
“10 honored with Golden Boy awards,” Winnipeg Tribune, 7 November 1966.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 27 September 1986, page 41.
Obituary [Ruth Forsyth], Edmonton Journal, 24-25 July 2005.
Brandon College Fonds, RG 1, Series 9 description, S. J. McKee Archives.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough and Angela Graham.
Page revised: 23 July 2023