Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Joseph Benjamin Keeper (1886-1971)

Long-distance runner, war hero.

Born at Norway House on 21 January 1886, son of Matilda Keeper, he was sent to the Brandon Indian Residential School, remaining there from 1899 to 1909. He ran his first race in 1909 at Brandon, then moved to Winnipeg in 1910 and became a member of the North End Athletic Club. That year he won a seven-mile road race, and he set a Canadian ten-mile record at Fort William (now Thunder Bay) in 1911. He was named to the Canadian Olympic team in 1912. Keeper joined the army in 1916 and won the Military Medal for bravery at Cambrai in 1917. After the war he returned to the North and worked for the Hudson's Bay Company at Norway House. He was inducted posthumously into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame.

Father of Joseph Irvine Keeper.

Sources:

Attestation papers, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Library and Archives Canada.

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 31 July 2020

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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