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Memorable Manitobans: Hugh Parsons Penwarden (1910-1994)

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Hugh Parsons Penwarden
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Born at Winnipeg on 29 October 1910 to Samuel Isaac Penwarden (1885-1930) and Alpha Louise Bellamy (c1879-1949), he graduated from Daniel McIntyre Collegiate in 1929 and was City of Winnipeg Schoolboy Athlete of the Year in 1928 and 1929. He excelled at sprints and boxing in high school, and played tennis and worked at the Winnipeg Lawn Tennis Club. While in the armed forces, he competed in regimental basketball and boxing. He curled at the Strathcona Curling Club in Winnipeg as did his father and grandfather, and later curled at the Wildewood Club. His father curled third for Gord Hudson on the 1928 winning team in the Macdonald Brier Canadian championships.

Hugh played guard for the Winnipeg Toilers Basketball Club between 1931 and 1935. Over the years the Toilers won three national senior championships, including his team in 1932. They competed in the first world basketball championships for the Jacobs France Trophy against the Tulsa Diamond Oilmen in Oklahoma. On the return flight on 31 March 1933, their chartered plane suffered engine failure and crashed near Neodesha, Kansas. Hugh survived but suffered a serious head injury while two star players and four others were killed. The 1932 team was inducted into the Manitoba Basketball Hall of Fame in 1984 and Hugh was inducted as a player in 1985.

Hugh was also a member of the Winnipeg Argos Lacrosse Team which won the Manitoba Senior Championship in 1932. They went on to win the western championship against the Squamish Indians but lost the national finals for the Minto Cup against the Mimico Mountaineers in Toronto. The team was inducted into the Manitoba Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2011. Hugh was selected to play for Canada in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin but lacrosse was dropped from the games that year by Germany.

During the Second World War, he served as a Captain in the Royal Canadian Ordinance Corps from 1941 to 1946. He was posted to England in 1942 and after the war administered the affairs of a town in Belgium until his return to Canada. His salary during the war was $7.50 a day plus 25 cents overseas pay.

On 3 January 1942, he married Mary Ada Margaret Lough (1913-88) at St. Matthew’s Church in Winnipeg. The couple had one son. Hugh lived in Wildwood Park from 1949 to 1994. On 6 May 1950, during the 1950 flood he was working on the dike the night it collapsed and the entire community was flooded.

Hugh had a 45 year career with the Province of Manitoba and ultimately was in charge of the Motor Vehicle Licensing Branch. He was a Fort Garry Lions Club member and helped raise money to build the Fort Garry Lions Club Pool and the Fort Garry Community Centre football field.

He was a member of St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Fort Garry and served on the Parish Council. After retiring he volunteered for many years at Oakenwald School helping young students with reading. Children loved his stories and nicknamed him Mr. Moo for his realistic animal impressions.

After a long illness, he died at Winnipeg on 29 January 1994.


Birth registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

Death registration [Samuel Isaac Penwarden], Manitoba Vital Statistics.

Obituary [Alpha L. Penwarden], Winnipeg Tribune, 20 June 1949, page 24.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 30 January 1994, page 28.

This page was prepared by Hugh Penwarden Jr. and Rick Wishart.

Page revised: 17 February 2023

Memorable Manitobans

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