Memorable Manitobans: Margaret MacTavish Rogers Konantz (1899-1967)
Community activist, MP (1963-1965).
Born at Winnipeg on 30 April 1899, daughter of Robert Arthur Rogers and Florence Edith McTavish, she was educated at the Winnipeg Model School, Bishop Strachan School (Toronto) and Miss Spence’s School (New York). On 11 February 1922, she married Gordon Edward Konantz and they had three children: Barbara Anne Konantz (1923-1990, wife of Ian Aldous MacLean), William Gordon “Bill” Konantz (1925-2010, husband of Mary Anne McPhee) and Gordon E. Konantz (b 1932, husband of Gail Macdonald (1936-2018)). She served as President of the Junior League of Winnipeg (1928-1929) and President of the Central Volunteer Bureau during the Second World War.
Daughter of the first Manitoba female MLA, Konantz kept a vow to her husband to remain out of public life that ended only with his death in 1954. By 1959 she was national Vice-President of UNICEF and in 1961 became national Vice-President of the UN Association. She first ran for Parliament in 1962, and became Manitoba’s first female MP in 1963, when she was elected to represent Winnipeg South, but was defeated in 1965. She was National Vice President of the UN Association from 1961 to 1964, and a Canadian delegate to the 18th and 20th UN General Assemblies. She was the first woman given the Golden Boy Award for service to Manitoba, and was inducted into the Order of the British Empire. The University of Manitoba awarded her an honorary doctorate in 1967.
She died at Fredericton, New Brunswick on 11 May 1967. Her papers are at the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections and Archives of Manitoba.
“These twelve Manitobans to receive Golden Boy Awards,” Winnipeg Free Press, 18 June 1960, page 12.
“South Winnipeg Liberals nominated Mrs. Konantz,” Winnipeg Free Press, 13 March 1962.
The Canadian Directory of Parliament, 1867-1967, edited by J. K. Johnson, Public Archives of Canada, Ottawa [Library and Archives Canada], 1968.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
We thank James Arnett, Douglas MacLean, and Gordon E. Konantz for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 3 July 2020