Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Stephen Adolph Magnacca (1902-1980)

Soldier, realtor, contractor, Brandon Mayor (1961-1969).

Born at Winnipeg on 10 December 1902, he joined the Winnipeg Highland Cadets in 1914, and at the age of 15, he added two years to his age and joined the Winnipeg Light Infantry. He was commissioned as a Lieutenant on 15 June 1923. He married Grace Rosina Jones in 1927 with whom he had two children: Patricia Magnacca (wife of Wiliam Reginald Coleman, grandson of George Benjamin Coleman) and Stephen Allan Magnacca. He was a Conservative candidate for the Gimli constituency in the 1936 provincial general election.

He and his family lived in Winnipeg until his military career took him to Brandon in 1939. There, he worked as an officer at the Brandon Army Training Centre (A4). It became a military hospital in 1945 and he remained there as Chief Officer until 1947. Magnacca was made an honorary Lieutenant Colonel of the 26th Field Artillery Regiment in 1956. He was made a Colonel eleven years later.

He stayed in Brandon for the rest of his life and established a real estate and insurance business called Magnacca Agencies. He also worked as a general contractor responsible for the construction of more than 100 homes and schools in Brandon's west end. He served two terms as Mayor of Brandon, during which he played an important role in the establishment of the Daly House Museum, and was President of the Assiniboine Historical Society. He served on the board of the Manitoba Centennial Corporation. He was a member of St. Matthew’s Anglican Cathedral, Brandon Shrine Club, and Manitoba Real Estate Board.

For meritorious community service, he was given a Manitoba Golden Boy Award (1969) and a Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal. He was elected a Life Member of the Union of Manitoba Municipalities. In 1973 he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.

He died suddenly at Brandon on 4 August 1980 and was buried in the Brandon Cemetery. He is commemorated by Magnacca Crescent in Brandon and the Magnacca Research Centre at the Daly House Museum.

Sources:

Birth registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“A Life Full of Accomplishments,” Brandon Sun, Wednesday 4 July 1973.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 11 August 1980, page 45.

Voices of Yesteryear [Audiocassette], 1982. Westman Oral History Collection by the Westman Oral History Association (Effie McPhail, Chair). S. J. McKee Archives.

We thank Patricia Coleman for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Angela Graham and Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 2 May 2021

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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