Memorable Manitobans: Robert Alexander Gillespie (1881-1965)
Born at Winnipeg on 24 January 1881, son of Donald R. Gillespie and Kate Campbell, he was educated at Winnipeg public schools and the Winnipeg Collegiate Institute. After leaving the Collegiate, he took up the profession of chemistry and, having graduated in 1889, entered the employ of William James Mitchell, remaining with him until 1904, when he engaged in business for himself under the name of Gillespie & Campbell. He severed his connection with this firm in 1911 and started in the wholesale business of Dr. White Medicine Company.
In 1915, he joined the 61st Battalion as Junior Major being appointed Lieutenant Colonel at the end of that year and raised the 226th Battalion which he commanded and took overseas in 1916, returning to Winnipeg to take charge of the demobilizing depot in 1918. He was one of the original officers of the Winnipeg Light Infantry organized in 1912.
On 9 March 1910, he married Anne Winnifred Marion Munroe (1884-1956, daughter of James Munroe) and they had six children: Isabel Edith Gillespie (1911-?, wife of John Poyner Wyatt), Kathleen Margaret Gillespie (1912-?), Donald James Gillespie (1914-?), John Wilfred Gillespie (1917-1988), Robert Neil Gillespie (1919-1922), and Marion Gillespie (1921-?, wife of Kenneth Clark). He was a member of the Conservative Association of South Winnipeg (Vice-President), Granite Curling Club (President), United Service Club, St. John’s Curling Club, Elmhurst Golf Club, Masons (Past Master, King Edward Masonic Lodge), Conservative Club of Manitoba (President), and Presbyterian Church. In 1925, he lived at 226 Montrose Street, Winnipeg. He was a Conservative candidate for Winnipeg in the 1927 provincial general election and 1935 federal election but was defeated each time.
Birth and death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
1921 Canada census, Ancestry.
Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 1 June 1965, page 23.
We thank Barbara Wyatt, Brian Gillespie, and Jim Busby for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 22 June 2020
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