Memorable Manitobans: William Lawrence Palk (1912-2009)
Business executive, lawyer, community activist.
Born at Winnipeg on 26 April 1912, eldest son of Lawrence Palk and Janet Margaret Andrew (1886-1975), he trained as a lawyer at the University of Manitoba then joined the T. Eaton Company in 1936 where he held many executive positions over a span of 30 years. From 1940 to 1945, he was a Captain in the Royal Canadian Artillery involved primarily in air intelligence in Europe. He returned to Winnipeg after his war-time service and returned to work at Eaton’s. Upon retirement in 1966 as Assistant General Manager of the Western Division, he practised law with Pitblado until 1983, being made a Queen’s Counsel in 1981. He also served as a Director of the Canadian Indemnity Company, United Canadian Shares Limited, and Manitoba Medical Services Insurance Corporation. In the 1970s, he was Chairman of the Independent Citizens Election Committee of Winnipeg.
On 25 April 1940, he married Eileen Marion “Molly” Denison (1917-2009, daughter of Alexander Latimer Denison) and they had three children: Shanly Palk, Edith Alexandra “Alix” Palk Arnett (wife of E. James Arnett), and Hugh Denison Palk (?-1974). He volunteered with many business, cultural, political, scientific, educational, social service and health organizations. He was the founding Chair of Winnipeg’s United Way when it took over for Community Chest. The YMCA was particularly dear to his heart. In 1965 he was awarded the office of Captain in Manitoba’s Order of the Buffalo Hunt for his community leadership. He was a member of the Manitoba Club and St. George’s Anglican Church.
He died at Winnipeg on 3 October 2009 and was buried in the St. John’s Cathedral Cemetery.
Birth registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Obituary [Hugh Denison Palk], Winnipeg Free Press, 23 October 1974, page 50.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 6 October 2009.
Obituary [Eileen Marion Palk], Winnipeg Free Press, 1 December 2009.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough and James Arnett.
Page revised: 26 May 2020