Memorable Manitobans: William J. “Bill” Hutton (1929-2022)
Cleric, educator, community activist.
Born at Toronto, Ontario on 30 January 1929, he received five post-secondary degrees including a Master of Education and a Bachelor of Divinity. He also studied in Germany as part of a foreign exchange program. In the late 1950s, he met Miriam Freda Bennett (1932-2009) at Frobisher Bay (now Iqaluit) as part of a volunteer program of the Anglican Church. They married in 1958 and had two children.
Ordained as an Anglican priest in the early 1960s, he worked as a parish priest in a poor area in north Toronto. After moving to Winnipeg around 1962, he was a teacher at Windsor Park Collegiate where he convinced his fellow teachers to join the Manitoba Teachers' Society. For his action in organizing the teachers, he was fired and blacklisted in the spring of 1966. Through the intervention of school trustee Bill Norrie, he was hired as a guidance counselor at Churchill High School later that year, and he remained in the Winnipeg School Division for the remainder of his professional life, working also at Kelvin High School.
He was a member of the Metropolitan Council of Greater Winnipeg (1968-1971) and in 1971 he ran for Mayor of Winnipeg, being defeated by Steve Juba. As President of the Manitoba NDP, he played an important role in the province's first NDP government under Premier Ed Schreyer. He served two terms as a school trustee in the St. Vital School Division in the 1970s. His marriage ended in 1984.
A pioneer in the development of palliative care in Manitoba, he and his ex-wife created the Jocelyn House Hospice in their former home following the death of his daughter Jocelyn from cancer in 1980. Following his retirement from teaching, he became an avid supporter of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.
He died at Winnipeg on 6 June 2022.
“Mission accomplished,” Winnipeg Free Press, 6 August 2022, page C1.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 6 August 2022