Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Donald Malcolm “Don” McPhail (1921-2004)

Physician, community activist.

Born at Winnipeg in 1921, he graduated from Medicine at the University of Manitoba in 1945, and it was there that he met fellow medical student, Ethel Herriot, who he married in 1945. They went on to have five children. He served in the Canadian Army from 1943 to 1946, followed by post-graduate surgery studies at St. Boniface Hospital. He and his wife practised briefly at Pilot Mound and then continued their practice at Boissevain for 29 years. While in Boissevain, he was active in his community, serving on the town council, school board, Chamber of Commerce, and the boards of various local industries, as well as with curling, golf, and baseball organizations.

In 1976, he and his wife returned to Winnipeg where he joined the Workers Compensation Board. Later, he provided services at the Manitoba Development Centre at Portage la Prairie and also belonged to Northern Medical Services. He enjoyed work in medical politics, serving as President of the Manitoba Medical Association in 1969, the controversial year in which the Manitoba Health Services Commission became an entity, and later sat on the MHSC board of directors. He was also a member of the Canadian Medical Association, participating in several of its committees, and was district representative for the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba from 1974 to 1976. He was also a Shrine clown for several years when he and friends formed a clown unit, complete with a crazy car and crazy acts, that performed across Canada and the United States.

After retiring, he enjoyed golfing and curling at the Wildwood Club and sharing time with family and friends at Max Lake in Turtle Mountain Provincial Park. He and his wife also enjoyed travel and took many trips to off-the-beaten-track locations world-wide.

He died at Winnipeg on 15 May 2004.


Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 19 May 2004.

This page was prepared by Lois Braun.

Page revised: 5 November 2020

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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