Memorable Manitobans: Agnes MacDonald (1908-1999)
Born on the Isle of Skye, Scotland on 20 November 1908, daughter of Finlay MacDonald and Jean MacDonald, she arrived in Canada at an early age. Between 1911 and 1916, she became the ward of Robert Francis Rorke and Etta May Rorke, graduated with a BA degree from the University of Manitoba in 1928, and was a founding member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority. She joined the staff of the Winnipeg School Division and taught at Faraday School (?-1952) prior to being Principal of Sir Sam Steele School (1953-1954), Clifton School (1954-1956), Pembina School (1956-1958), and Mulvey School (1958-1960), before taking the role as Vice-Principal of Gordon Bell High School (1960-1963). She then became the first female high school Principal of Winnipeg, at Elmwood High School (1964-1972), after which she retired. She served as Finance Committee Chairman (1952) and President (1955-1956) of the Manitoba Teachers’ Society, and was made a Life Member in 1973. Following a lengthy and debilitating illness, she died, unmarried, at Winnipeg on 3 February 1999.
1911 Canada Census, Automated Genealogy.
1916 Canada census, Library and Archives Canada.
“1,820 teachers on staff of Winnipeg School Board,” Winnipeg Free Press, 2 September 1941, page 2.
“Winnipeggers in Copenhagen for world meet,” Winnipeg Free Press, 19 July 1952, page 8.
“New Principals appointed to 4 schools,” Winnipeg Free Press, 3 December 1952, page 3.
“Clifton H. and S. tea to be held Thursday,” Winnipeg Free Press, 8 November 1955, page 12.
“Workshops completed,” Winnipeg Free Press, 10 October 1959, page 50.
“Staff changes announced in city schools,” Winnipeg Free Press, 11 May 1960, page 3.
“Social,” Winnipeg Free Press, 5 February 1963, page 14.
“Teachers honor seven,” Winnipeg Free Press, 29 March 1973, page 3.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 5 February 1999, page C8.
We thank Mireille Theriault (Manitoba Teachers’ Society) for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.
Page revised: 11 February 2019
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