Memorable Manitobans: Frederick William “Fred” Gilbert (1910-1966)
Born at Winnipeg on 24 April 1910, son of Rev. Henry Edward Gilbert (1876-1912) and Laura Christina Gilbert (1879-1939), he attended Greenway School, Daniel McIntyre Collegiate, United College, and Queen’s University, graduating from the latter with an Engineering Physics degree, in 1936. He worked in several gold mines before joining Defence Industries Limited where he was employed during the Second World War.
From there, he joined the Chalk River nuclear reactor construction project, Canada’s first major nuclear reactor. Prominent amongst Canadian nuclear engineers, he played a large role in the formation of hazard review regulations which now govern all atomic activity in Canada. He was the manager in charge of branch that commissioned the Canada-India Reactor near Bombay, India. In 1961, he became the General Manager for the Whiteshell Nuclear Research Establishment (WNRE) and is credited with advancing its early growth and development, as well as that of the Town of Pinawa.
He and wife Mabel Christina Gilbert (1912-2003) had five children: Kenneth Gilbert, William Gilbert, Kathleen Gilbert, Lynne Gilbert Bigg, and Judy Gilbert. He was a member of the Professional Engineers of Ontario and the United Church of Canada.
He died suddenly at Pinawa on 27 August 1966 and is commemorated by F. W. Gilbert School.
1911 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
Obituary [Rev. Henry E. Gilbert], Winnipeg Tribune, 19 November 1912, page 8.
Marriage and death registrations [Laura Christina Gilbert], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 29 August 1966, page 24.
“Fred W. Gilbert, WNRE Manager, passes suddenly,” The Springfield Leader, 30 August 1966, page 1.
Obituary [Mabel Gilbert], Winnipeg Free Press, 22 November 2003.
This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer and Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 25 December 2019