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Memorable Manitobans: Edward Joseph Albert “Ed” Kotowich (1934-1986)

Football player, municipal official.

Born at Narol on 31 May 1934, son of Walter Kotowich and Mary Zagurski, he grew up in East St. Paul and attended Lord Selkirk High School. While working in the trucking industry, he began a football career in 1952 with the Winnipeg Rods, joining the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 1955 as an offensive linesman. He spent seven seasons with the team and played in Grey Cup championships in 1958, 1959, and 1961. He was inducted into the Manitoba Order of the Buffalo Hunt in 1957 when the team won the western interprovincial football championship. He was selected to the all-star team in 1959, the same year as he was awarded the Tommy Lumsden Trophy as the most valuable Canadian player. After retirement from the Bombers in 1961 due to back problems, he returned to the Junior Rods as a line coach, worked with the Winakwa Warriors, and was a member of the Winnipeg Enterprises Corporation. He was a sports broadcaster with CBC-TV, CKY Radio, and CFRW Radio. He was inducted into the Winnipeg Football Club Hall of Fame in 1986.

Active in politics, in 1969 he was a Liberal candidate in the provincial general election but was defeated by New Democrat Harry Shafransky. He was a member of the St. Boniface city council prior to the formation of Unicity, and served on the Winnipeg city council from 1972 to 1980. He was a driving force behind the building of the Boni-Vital Pool, Royal Canadian Mint, and the establishment of the Festival du Voyageur. He was a director of the Canadian Cancer Society (St. Boniface Division). In 1967, he founded Airport Distribution Services and, in 1978, expanded his business interests to include Unicity Customs Brokers, serving as its President at the time of his death.

He was a member of the Knights of Columbus and Carleton Club (President), and had a cottage on Lake of the Woods.

He died at the St. Boniface Hospital on 11 December 1986 as a result of a stroke suffered at his cottage. He was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 2019.

Sources:

“Ex-grid stars nominated,” Winnipeg Free Press, 6 June 1986, page 11.

“Bombers’ great Kotowich dies at 52,” Winnipeg Free Press, 12 December 1986, page 63.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 13 December 1986, page 33.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 11 June 2019

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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