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Memorable Manitobans: Lawrence Frederick Betts “Lawrie” Palk (1885-1942)

Business executive, community activitist.

Born at Winnipeg on 14 August 1885, son of John Palk and Anna Bella Maclean, brother of Helen Palk, one of his first jobs was as a messenger boy and shop assistant in a book and stationery shop operated by John A. Hart. In October 1904 he began working for the Winnipeg Electric Company, where he would remain for the next 37 years, working as stenographer to manager Wilfred Phillips, and successively holds the posts of assistant secretary, secretary and assistant to the President, Assistant General Manager, and finally Vice-President and Executive Secretary of the company as well the Manitoba Power Company and the North Western Power Company. He retired in 1942.

In 1935 he was appointed to the provincial advisory board on education, rising to its Chairman in 1937. He served as President of the Winnipeg branch of the Royal Society of St. George, President of the Rotary Club, Vice-President of the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Chairman of the Manitoba division of St. Johns Ambulance Association, and a member of the council of the Winnipeg Board of Trade. He was a Shriner and a member of the Sons of England. One of his chief interests of poetry and he was President of the Winnipeg Poetry Society in 1938. He belonged to the Manitoba Club, the Carleton Club, and the St. Charles Country Club. On 26 April 1911, he married Janet Margaret Andrew (1886-1975) at Winnipeg. They had four children: William Lawrence Palk, Edward Andrews Palk, A. R. Douglas Palk, and Helen Palk (wife of H. J. Riley Jr., son of Harold James Riley).

He died at his Winnipeg home, 336 Dromore Avenue, on 20 December 1942 and was buried in Brookside Cemetery. He is commemorated by Palk Road in Winnipeg.


Marriage registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“Lawrence F. B. Palk, business executive, community worker, dies,” Winnipeg Tribune, 21 December 1942. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B9, page 122]

“Miss Helen Palk, educationist, dies,” Winnipeg Free Press, 31 July 1950, page 28.

Obituary [Janet Margaret Palk], Winnipeg Free Press, 23 July 1975, page 37.

We thank E. James Arnett for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 31 August 2020

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