Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: John “Jack” Mowat (1925-2010)

Community activist.

Born at Winnipeg on 29 April 1925, eldest son of Edward and Naomi Mowat, he was educated in Winnipeg, joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1943 and was commissioned as a Wireless Navigator for the Mosquito aircraft. He was discharged from service in 1945 with the rank of flying officer. He began a working career with Standard Aero, rising to become an aircraft inspector with the Department of National Defence in the Aeronautical Inspection Directorate. He was promoted to the Canadian Forces Technical Services Detachment C.F.T.S.D. HDOTS Winnipeg. He retired in 1990 as contract manager for Itinerant Contracts.

In 1945 he joined the YMCA and began a lifetime of mentoring and training young men to be responsible adults. In 1946 he became involved in gymnastics, first as an active gymnast himself and later as an instructor, judge, coach and mentor. He was a founder of the Manitoba Gymnastics Association in 1967 and rose to the level of National Judging Chairman for the Canadian Gymnastics Federation, ultimately traveling throughout Canada and to Japan, Russia, Cuba, Santo Domingo and France in the capacity of coach, judge or Meet Director. He was the head coach of the Junior gym team from 1969 to 1987 when the Downtown YMCA closed for renovations. From 1956 to 1985 he was also involved with Royal Canadian Air Cadets serving initially as an instructor Supply Officer, later as Chief Training Officer and ultimately as a Commanding Officer. He was a member of the Air Cadet League Manitoba Committee and the Air Cadet League of Canada, and held many positions within both organizations.

In 1977, in recognition of his community service, he was awarded the Anniversary Medal celebrating the 25th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II. In 1981 he received a 25-year service gold pin for his membership in the Canadian Gymnastics Association and joined the honour roll of Builders of Canadian Gymnastics. In recognition of his community service, he received the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal (1977), received a certificate for 25 years of service to Canada from the Chief of Defence Staff of Canada (1985), and was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame (1988). He also received a Certificate of Appreciation in recognition of services rendered to the Royal Canadian Air Cadets Gliding Program.

He died at Winnipeg on 13 March 2010.


Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 17 March 2010.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 17 October 2021

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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