Memorable Manitobans: Ronald Crawford “Ron” Kirbyson (1937-2019)
Born at Minto on 1 September 1937, son of William Sanford “Bill” Kirbyson and Jean Steele Crawford (1909-1987), he began teaching at the age of 18, at a one-room school near Belmont, before continuing his education at Brandon College (BA 1959, Education Certificate 1960) and the University of Manitoba (MA 1966). He taught at Brandon Collegiate (1961-1964), Garden City Collegiate (1966-1969), West Kildonan (Social Studies Department Head, 1969-1970), Mount Allison University (1970-1971), Grant Park High School (1971-1975), Manitoba Department of Education (Social Studies Consultant, 1975-1978), Argyle Alternative High School (1978-1988), sabbatical leave (1988-1989), Adolescent Parent Centre (1989-1993), and Churchill High School (1993-1995).
A life-long historian, he was one of Canada’s best-selling history textbook authors, co-authoring Challenge & Survival: The History of Canada (1970) with Harvey Hymie Herstein and Laurie J. Hughes, co-authoring and editing In Search of Canada (1977) with Elizabeth Peterson, and co-authoring Canada in a North American Perspective (1989) with Donald H. Avery, Donna M. Goodman, and J. Richard Young. He also wrote for the Brandon Sun and was a long-time book reviewer for the Winnipeg Free Press.
In December 1962, he married Dawn Wellman, granddaughter of James Wesley Hewitt, and they subsequently had a son and a daughter. Active in the community, he served on the boards of the River Heights Community Centre, Assiniboine Park Hockey Association, Manitoba Social Studies Teachers Association, Canadian Club of Winnipeg (President, four years), and Victoria Beach Club (serving as Tennis Convenor and editor of the Victoria Beach Herald). He was a member of the Lindsay Street Gardening Association and was a juror for the Margaret McWilliams Awards presented by the Manitoba Historical Society.
He died at Winnipeg on 20 September 2019.
His articles for the Manitoba Historical Society:
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 25 September 2019.
We thank Jillian Kirbyson for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 8 March 2023