Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Winston Lyle Leathers (1932-2004)

Artist, educator.

Born at Miami on 29 December 1932, only child of Gertrude Eva Hefford (1905-1994) and Almer Leathers (1901-1980), he studied Fine Arts at the University of Manitoba, served as Senior Stick, and graduated in 1956. The following year, he studied and painted in Mexico while working for the Mexican government's archaeological society. He then attended the Manitoba Teachers College, majoring in Art Education, and graduated in 1958.

From 1958 to 1968, he taught basic design at the Technical Vocational High School and then joined the staff of Environmental Studies in the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Manitoba, where he was appointed Full Professor in 1989, continuing in that capacity for 26 years. A painter and printmaker, he spent his career expanding the limits of his artistic disciplines. He was heavily involved with the architectural application of sand-blasted glass and stained glass, which resulted in numerous public and private commissions. His diverse interests also led to experimentation with ceramics, photography, and colour laser prints.

His work was exhibited across Canada, United States, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, France, Monaco, Bermuda, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Japan, including solo exhibitions in Mexico City, Canada House in London, the Memorial Art Gallery in St. John’s, and the Winnipeg Art Gallery. His work is represented in major public and corporate collections across the country, including the National Gallery of Canada, Canada Council Art Bank, and Winnipeg Art Gallery. He was a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts, a great supporter of the Winnipeg Art Gallery, and a mentor to young visual artists and graduates from the Faculty of Architecture.

He was married twice, his first wife being artist Audrey Ann Riller with whom he had a son. His second wife was Kathleen Wilson (1942-2016) of Sperling. The family spent summers at a cottage at Minaki, Ontario.

He died at Kenora, Ontario on 20 July 2004 and was buried in the Miami Cemetery.


“The arts,” Winnipeg Free Press, 20 May 1967, page 72.

“Art and artists,” Winnipeg Free Press, 2 October 1971, page 87.

Obituary [Gladys May Riller], Winnipeg Free Press, 8 July 1981, page 54.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 24 July 2004.

Obituary [Kathleen Leathers], Winnipeg Free Press, 31 December 2016.

Winston Leathers, The Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art (CCCA) database project.

Winston Lyle Leathers, FamilySearch.

We thank Jennifer Gibson for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Lois Braun and Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 23 February 2021

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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