Memorable Manitobans: Helen Mitchell Promislow (1924-1993)
Municipal official, community activist.
Born on 31 July 1924, daughter of Nathan Mitchell and Fanny Edel, she worked as a typist and bookkeeper and married Hank Promislow (1924-1998) in 1946. The couple had two children and she was a homemaker while her husband pursued a career in education. As their two children grew up, she enrolled part-time at the University of Manitoba, earning BA and MA degrees in English Literature, and won the Sidney Warhaft Memorial Prize for best Masters English thesis.
Active in the feminist movement, CCF/NDP politics, and as a volunteer mental health worker, she ran for municipal office in the Kildonan Park Ward, and served as a City Councillor (1980-1989), opting not to run a fourth time on account of poor health brought on by a heart attack in July 1988. A noted contract bridge player, she won numerous tournaments, including the Marcus Cup in 1964 and was a Life Master of the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL). She served in the ACBL’s executive and was President of the Winnipeg Contract Bridge Club, as well as President of the Omna Chapter and a member of the Regional Council of Pioneer Women and its National Board. She was recognized by Heritage Winnipeg with a special award for her contributions to raising awareness about local heritage buildings.
She died at Winnipeg on 16 September 1993 and was buried in the Shaarey Zedek Cemetery. She is commemorated with the Helen Promislow Memorial Park, and along with her husband, by the Helen and Hank Promislow Memorial Fund at the St. Boniface Research Foundation.
“Party-jumper stirs it up in Kildonan Park,” Winnipeg Free Press, 15 October 1980, page 7.
“Kildonan Park,” Winnipeg Free Press, 21 October 1980, page 11.
“Taking care of business,” Winnipeg Free Press Weekly North Edition, 18 September 1988, page 7.
“A public treasure remembered,” Winnipeg Free Press, 23 September 1993, page A6.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 25 September 1993, page C10.
“Park to honour Promislow,” Winnipeg Free Press, 14 June 1997, page A9.
“Local park dedicated to councillor,” Winnipeg Free Press Community Review North, 20 August 1997, page 1.
Obituary [Hank Promislow], Winnipeg Free Press, 11 July 1998, page C7.
We thank Frances Nokes for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.
Page revised: 12 March 2018