Memorable Manitobans: Henri Lacerte (1889-1968)
Lawyer, civil servant, judge, community activist.
Born in the parish of St. Severe, Quebec on 17 April 1889, he was educated at Three Rivers Seminary and Laval University where he graduated in 1911. On the advice of his doctor, he left a law firm in Montreal and came west in 1915, settling in Winnipeg. He practiced law from 1915 to 1924, when he was appointed magistrate of St. Boniface. In addition to looking after the St. Boniface district, he also presided over Ste. Anne, Piney, Sprague, and Vassar. In 1939, he assumed responsibility for Juvenile Court and Family Court in St. Boniface and, in 1956, he was made a Queen’s Counsel.
A member of L’Association d’Education des Canadiens Francaise de Manitoba until 1936, he directed this organization for 12 years and was honoured for his contributions with the Grande Medaille d’Or award of by the French government. An active figure at the French language congress in Quebec, he served as Vice-President of the permanent committee and attended sessions in America. For his efforts, the University of Montreal conferred upon him an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws in 1939. From 1959 to 1962, he served on the Board of Governors of the University of Manitoba.
At one time a sports reporter for Les Canada, a French language newspaper in Montreal, he maintained a keen interest in baseball over the years. He was a lifetime member of the Knights of Columbus, Provencher Council, 4th degree Knight of the Tache Assembly. He and wife Jeanne Lavoie (daughter of Isaie Lavoie), whom he married on 17 November 1927, shared two children: Pierre Lacerte and Ghislaine Lacerte. On 26 May 1968, he died at St. Boniface Hospital and was buried in St. Boniface Cemetery.
Marriage registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Pioneer woman lawyer heads list of nine Manitoba QCs,” Winnipeg Free Press, 31 December 1955, page 15.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 28 May 1968, page 30.
We thank Michel Lavoie for providing additional information used here.
Page revised: 7 July 2017
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