Memorable Manitobans: Gary Raymond Scherbain (1942-2021)
Gallery owner, community activist.
Born at Winnipeg on 14 May 1942, oldest of three children of Mildred Ethel May Cochrane (1915-1968) and Harry Scherbain (1909-1966), he completed a Bachelor of Theology degree at United College and later a Master of Divinity degree at the University of Winnipeg. In 1967, he served the congregation at St. Andrew’s United Church in La Riviere.
Interested in politics, the experience of working as an assistant to MLA Jack Carroll led him to be a Progressive Conservative candidate for the Winnipeg North constituency in the 1968 federal general election, finishing third place. He also worked as a reporter at the Winnipeg Tribune and was a talk show host on CKRC Radio.
He met Daphne Odjig during a trip to northern Manitoba in 1966 and became the first person to purchase her work, leading to a life-long friendship. In 1976, he purchased Odjig’s New Warehouse Gallery and changed its name to Wah-sa Gallery, operating it until 1984. He reopened an art gallery in 2000, moving later to The Forks until deteriorating health caused him to close it in 2016.
In 1984, he joined the civil service as a trainer/coordinator with the New Careers program. When this program ended, he established the Tap-In program to provide access for non-profit organizations to no-cost training. He was a member of advisory councils for the Children’s Home of Winnipeg and Kidney Foundation, and participated in the creation of the Child and Family Service Agency. He established the Art Donation Program, facilitated by Artist in Healthcare Manitoba, that allows people to donate works of art to health care facilities and receive a tax receipt.
He died at Winnipeg on 6 August 2021, survived by his wife and four children.
Obituary [Harry Scherbain], Winnipeg Free Press, 25 April 1966, page 28.
Obituary [Mildred Ethel May Sherbain], Winnipeg Free Press, 22 June 1968, page 33.
Obituary, Ethical Death Care.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
We thank Jennifer Dubienski for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 13 January 2022