Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: William Andrew Johnston (1896-1969)

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William Andrew Johnston
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Born at Belwood, Ontario on 26 May 1896, son of Adam W. Johnston and Susan Smith, he came to Winnipeg with his family at the age of nine. He was educated at Winnipeg and graduated from the Manitoba Law School in 1918. Later that year, he began practicing law with Sir James Aikins. He later headed the law firm of Johnston, Garson and Associates and served as Bencher and Vice-President of the Law Society of Manitoba. In 1932, he was appointed a King’s Counsel.

He was a Director of the Monarch Life Assurance Company for 19 years, including two years as Chairman of the Board (1968-1969). He was also a Director of Burns Foods Limited and the Norris Grain Company, and served on the Advisory Board of National Trust. He was involved actively in the work of the Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children and was a member of the Board of Governors for the Winnipeg Unit for 38 years, including 15 years as Chairman.

On 18 February 1926, he married Mary Meta Davey (c1898-1961) at Winnipeg. They had no children. In 1962, he married Margaret Mackay Howden (1908-2000, widow of Dr. Alex Howden).

He died in Florida on 31 December 1969 and was buried in Elmwood Cemetery. His honorary pallbearers were Stuart Garson, T. Bruce Ross, H. Bruce Boreham, R. W. Cameron, J. Reeh Taylor, N. C. Carmichael, A. J. E. Childe, J. Elmer Woods, George Keates, J. McKeag, J. A. McDowell, Gordon Lawson, Robert O’Dowda, Jon Johnson, Hugh Johnstone, William B. Parrish, and D. D. Everett.


Ontario birth registration, Ancestry.

Marriage registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

Obituary [Meta Mary Johnston], Winnipeg Free Press, 1 June 1961, page 13.

“Monarch Life announcement,” Winnipeg Free Press, 15 November 1969, page 33.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 5 January 1970, page 25.

Obituary [Margaret Stuart Robertson Brown Mackay], Winnipeg Free Press, 24 July 2000, page 28.

We thank Nancy Gates for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 5 May 2017

Memorable Manitobans

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