Memorable Manitobans: Prudentia Eleanor McClay McKay (1857-1945)
Born in Canada East (Quebec) on 27 December 1857, daughter of James McClay (1826-1907) of County Donegal, Ireland and Jane Machian (1830-1909) of Ireland, in 1877 she married George Donald McKay in Montreal. Together, they had eight children: Margaret Jean McKay, Agnes Donald McKay, Georgia Gladys McKay, Harold Lawton McKay, David McKay, Charles Maxwell Murdoch McKay, James Quinton McKay, and Brice Annan Miller McKay.
The family resided in Westmount, Montreal where, in 1900, she became the first treasurer of the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire, assuming that position at the founding meeting of the national organization.
In 1904, she moved with her family to Winnipeg where she remained active in the Fort Garry Chapter of the IODE serving as its Regent. A local IODE chapter formed in 1943 was named the Eleanor McKay Chapter in her honour. She was its first Honorary Regent.
An active curler, she was a participant in the first Manitoba ladies' bonspiel. She was a Life Member of the Manitoba Ladies' Curling Association and an Honorary Life Member and Honorary Patroness of the Veteran Ladies' Curling Association. Involved with numerous community organizations she was a member and Honorary President of Westminster United Church Women's Association, the Women's Day of National Patriotic Week, the Executive Committee of the Mother's Club, a member and officer of the Manitoba College Auxiliary and of the Ladies' Auxiliary Army and Navy Veterans. In recognition of her community service, she received a King George V Jubilee Medal (1935) and King George VI Coronation Medal (1937).
She died at Winnipeg on 11 April 1945 and was buried in the Elmwood Cemetery. Pallbearers were Roy Finley, Ian Dickson, Clarence Henderson, Donald McKay, Gordon McKay, and A. C. Emmett Jr.
Death registration [Prudentia Eleanor McKay], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Mrs. G. D. McKay, one of I.O.D.E. founders, dies,” Winnipeg Tribune, 11 April 1945, page 22.
This page was prepared by John Perrin and Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 27 April 2022