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Memorable Manitobans: John Theodore Rodgers (1931-1998)

Social activist.

Born at Detroit, Michigan on 22 January 1931, he moved to Winnipeg with his brother at the age of 14 months and was raised by his grandparents. He was educated at Laura Secord School and Gordon Bell Collegiate. He had wanted to be a cartoonist and attended the Winnipeg Art School after completing Grade 10. Instead he inherited a share in a florist shop from his grandmother and worked as a florist for 16 years. He then took jobs with the railway and as a production supervisor in a food processing warehouse. In 1972, in partnership with Clay Lewis, he founded the Main Street Project, an emergency shelter for homeless people in the Winnipeg inner city, and served as its executive director until the end of his life. He died of cancer at Winnipeg on 16 December 1998.


“Winnipeg’s skid row loses ‘heart of a giant’,” Winnipeg Free Press, 18 December 1998, page A6.

“They are gone, but not forgotten,” Winnipeg Free Press, 31 December 1998, page A4.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 27 January 2018

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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