Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Virginia Phyllis Petch (1946-2018)


Born at Winnipeg in 1946, daughter of Emil Kishynski (1914-2004) and Phyllis Turner, she married Donald Petch in 1966 and they had two sons. The family moved to Kenora, Ontario where she worked at the Lake of the Woods General Hospital. She later returned to Winnipeg and received BA Honours, MA, and PhD (1998) degrees from the University of Manitoba. In the 1980s, she worked as an anthropologist and archaeologist for the Historic Resources Branch of the Manitoba government before establishing her own firm, Northern Lights Heritage Services. She worked extensively with the Sayisi Dene, northern Cree, and Ojibwa nations and had a deep passion for the north and Indigenous peoples, to whom she was known as North Wind Woman. She served on the Manitoba Heritage Council (2000-?) and received the Prix Manitoba Award for her work in heritage education and communication. She died at Winnipeg on 8 December 2018 and was buried in the Transcona Cemetery.

Her articles for the Manitoba Historical Society:

Salt-Making in Manitoba
Manitoba History, Number 51, February 2006


Obituary [Emil Kishynski], Winnipeg Free Press, 17 January 2004.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 11 December 2018.

“Adventurer, storyteller, educator” by Alexandra Paul, Winnipeg Free Press, 9 February 2019, page B1.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 24 October 2019

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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