Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Herman Garfield Prior (1884-1984)


Born at Exeter, Ontario on 6 January 1884, son of Thomas Prior and Susan Cudmore, he was educated at Exeter, coming to Manitoba in 1903. He clerked for W. F. Hartwell, merchant of Swan Lake then worked at Cypress River. He managed a store for J. H. Fawcett at Alameda, Saskatchewan then managed a business for R. L. Gibson. He was with Cairns and Copeland of Glenboro before coming to Portage la Prairie in 1908. He opened a business with his brother, Nelson Prior, in the firm of Prior Brothers, dissolved it in 1920 and starting a business specializing in dry goods and ladies’ ready-to-wear.

On 29 July 1914, he married Effie McBean (?-1974) of Forest, Ontario. They had three children: Murray, Douglas, and Jean (Mrs. Brian Best). He was a public-spirited citizen who took a keen interest in the welfare of the community. He was a member of the Portage Hospital Board, Portage Board of Trade, Portage City Council (1919-1920) and Portage School Board (seven years). He was a member (15 years) and Vice-President of the Kiwanis Club, Vice-President of the Boosters Club, and Superintendent of the Sunday School and Chorister at Trinity United Church. Conservative. He was awarded a Centennial Citation by the Canadian Red Cross Society (1964), a Manitoba Centennial Medal by the Manitoba Historical Society (1970), and a Merit Award by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (1978). He was twice named the Citizen of the Year by the Portage and District Chamber of Commerce (1973, 1978).

He died at Portage la Prairie on 7 March 1984. A community centre in Portage is named for him.


Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.

“Herman G. Prior 100th birthday” Winnipeg Free Press, 31 December 1983.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 9 March 1984.

Page revised: 30 November 2008

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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