Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Thomas Orton Durnin (1889-1964)


Born at Crewe, Ontario on 3 December 1889, son of William E. Durnin, he was educated at Wesley College and the University of Manitoba prior to teaching school in Saskatchewan. During the First World War, he served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force. On his return from military service, he was Principal of Virden School (1918-1920), Deloraine School (1920-1924), and Rivers School (1924-1925). In 1925, he moved to the St. John’s Technical High School where he worked until retirement in 1955.

On 24 April 1919, he married Alice Jean Howard Reading (c1897-1969) at Winnipeg. They had five children: William Howard “Bill” Durnin (1920-1980), Cecil Edward Durnin (1922-2016), James Victor “Vic” Durnin (1926-2002), Jean Durnin (wife of Bruce Stephen), and Elizabeth “Betty” Durnin (wife of F. Law).

He died at his Winnipeg home, 428 Kingston Crescent, on 15 December 1964 and was buried in the Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens.


Attestation papers, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Library and Archives Canada.

Annual Reports of the Manitoba Department of Education, Manitoba Legislative Library.

Birth and marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 17 December 1964, page 34.

Obituary [Alice Jean Howard Durnin], Winnipeg Free Press, 24 January 1969, page 31.

Obituary [James Victor Durnin], YourFolks.

Obituary [Cecil Edward Durnin], Winnipeg Free Press, 9 April 2016.

We thank Andrea Sewell for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 16 July 2021

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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