Memorable Manitobans: Ronald John “Ron” Gillies (1925-2006)
Lawyer, community activist.
Born at Winnipeg on 23 June 1925 to Johanna MacIver (1896-1983) and Murdoch MacLennan Gillies (1894-1980), he attended school there and during the Second World War trained in the Royal Canadian Air Force as a gunner and navigator on the Lancaster bomber. He played football with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 1945, and then moved to the United States, where he was drafted into the American Army and served as a Drill Instructor in Texas and California. He later attended Columbia University in New York City, where he acted in off-Broadway plays.
Returning to Canada, he served in the Canadian Army during the Korean War as a Personnel Selection Officer, and then settled in Winnipeg to study Law at the University of Manitoba. In 1951, he met schoolteacher Alda Simpson at the Downtown Winnipeg YMCA. They married later that year and went on to have two children. He graduated from Law School in 1953 and practised law in Winnipeg for many years.
He supported the Downtown Y, Cancer Society, Phi Delta Theta Fraternity, and Liberal Party. He ran as a Liberal for Winnipeg South Centre in the 1958 federal general election. He was also active in local politics, serving on the St. Vital School Board, St. James School Board, and St. James City Council.
He died at Winnipeg on 25 January 2006.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 4 February 2006.
“Ronald John Gillies,” Davenport-Helen K Family Tree, Ancestry.
This page was prepared by Lois Braun.
Page revised: 17 November 2022