Memorable Manitobans: Morris Leschuk (1934-2008)
Born at Winnipeg on 7 March 1934, son of Steve Leschuk (1905-2000) and Anastasia “Nellie” Leschuk (c1904-1970), he attended Aberdeen School, David Livingstone School, St. John’s College, and graduated from the Manitoba Teachers’ College in 1957. From a young age, he had a love of music, playing at events like weddings and anniversaries, and won a silver medal for Grade 4 Violin Toronto Conservatory. He earned his BA and MEd from Bemidji State College and a BEd from the University of Manitoba (1975). He married Nancy Konyk and had four daughters.
In 1957, he began teaching at Edmund Partridge Junior High School in the West Kildonan School District, including grade 9 music. At the time, the recorder was beginning to make a presence in North America and he was the first teacher in the province to introduce it to a classroom setting. He also coordinated the school’s boys choir and led them to the Manitoba Music Festival where his students won the Peter Logan Memorial Trophy in 1957, 1959, and 1962.
Around 1964 he transferred to Jefferson Junior High School, becoming a full-time music teacher and was known for accepting all student voices without regard for their singing finesse. He produced “Chonita,” the first junior high operetta in the Seven Oaks School Division. He also founded stringed instrument programs for violins, violas, cellos and basses. While at Jefferson, his interest turned to industrial arts and he completed the necessary training to lead these classes, which he taught at the West Kildonan Collegiate and then Centennial School. Soon after, he was appointed Vice-Principal of Elwick School, where he unified and centralized the Seven Oaks School Division school patrols and served as Safety Patrol Chairman for 17 years.
Following his time at Elwick School, he became Vice-Principal at West St. Paul School briefly before becoming Principal of Forest Park School (?-1986). During his tenure there, he was greatly loved by students and parents alike, who protested the Division’s school administrator rotation policy when he was transferred to Collicut School. Upon his mandated departure, the school parents gave him a personalized ring in honour of his dedicated service. He served as Principal of Collicut School (1986-1989), after which he retired and spent time traveling abroad. He was a member of the Greater Winnipeg School Music Teachers’ Club and President of the Greater Winnipeg Music Association.
He died of cancer at Winnipeg on 23 December 2008.
“I.O.D.E. bursary presented,” Winnipeg Free Press, 21 June 1957, page 18.
“School musicians meet,” Winnipeg Free Press, 6 June 1959, page 24.
Obituary [Alexander Konyk], Winnipeg Free Press, 12 February 1963, page 24.
Obituary [Nellie Leschuk], Winnipeg Free Press, 23 September 1970, page 45.
“Students kept at home,” Winnipeg Free Press, 28 may 1986, page 3.
“Meet Morris Leschuk,” Winnipeg Free Press Weekly North Edition, 16 April 1989, page 15.
Obituary [Steve Leschuk], Winnipeg Free Press, 10 February 2000, page C8.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 27 December 2008, page C17.
This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.
Page revised: 28 March 2015
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