Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Francis William “Frank” Kennedy (1918-1970)

Educator, athletics enthusiast.

Born at Lyleton in 1918, son of James and Laura Kennedy, the family moved to Swan River when he was young, and he attended Swan River School. During the Second World War, he served in the Canadian Armed Forces (1941-1945) then attended the University of Toronto, graduating in 1947 with a Bachelor of Physical and Health Education. That same year, he began working at the University of Manitoba and, in 1950, received an MA degree from Columbia University (New York).

His ambition to see the establishment of a School of Physical Education at the University of Manitoba was realized in 1964, and he became its first Director, serving in the position until his death. He served as President of the Manitoba Branch of the Canadian Association for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation (1963); President of the Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union (1964); President of the Western Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Association (1966); and Program Committee member of the Pan-American Games Society (1967).

In 1941, he married Elinor Kathleen “Kally” King (1917-2000), daughter of Clarence King, and they subsequently had two daughters, both of whom died in infancy.

He died at Winnipeg on 20 February 1970 and was buried in the Garry Memorial Park. He is commemorated by the Frank Kennedy Physical Education Centre at the University of Manitoba.


1921 Canada census, Ancestry.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 21 February 1970, page 31.

“U of M man dies at 52,” Winnipeg Free Press, 21 February 1970, page 56

“Dedicate new centre Saturday,” Winnipeg Free Press, 7 March 1972, page 43.

Obituary [Elinor Kathleen Kennedy], Winnipeg Free Press, 12 August 2000.

This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer and Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 7 September 2015

Memorable Manitobans

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