Memorable Manitobans: Henry Eugene “Harry” Sellers (1886-1970)
Born at Port Arthur, Ontario on 16 December 1886 where, the previous year, his father, Harry K. Sellers, weighed the first grain shipped from the port. He moved to Winnipeg in August 1903 and joined the firm of Coffee, Hargraft and Company. Soon after he joined the Northwestern Elevator Company and, at its amalgamation in 1929 with six other companies to form Federal Grain Limited, he became Vice-President of the new company. He was President of the company from 1931 to 1955 when he became Chairman of the Board of Directors. Following the merger of Federal Grain with Searle Grain Company in 1966, he became Honorary Chairman of the Board. He was a Director of the Canadian Pacific Railway, Director and Chairman of the board of the Great-West Life Assurance Company, and a director of numerous other Canadian companies.
On 7 September 1912, he married Irene Maulson (1886-1941, daughter of George Joseph Maulson) at Winnipeg and they had three children: George H. Sellers, Edward A. Sellers, and Barbara Sellers (1921-2009, wife of R. G. Brian Dickson). He was a member of the Lakewood Country Club and Holy Trinity Anglican Church. During the Second World War, he served as Chairman of the provincial campaign for Manitoba Victory Loans. For this and other services he was made Commander of the Order of the British Empire by King George VI. He served as President of the Winnipeg Grain Exchange (1933-1934), Member of the Board of Trustees and President of the Winnipeg General Hospital (1937-1939), Chairman of the Manitoba Canadian Red Cross Campaign (1940), and member of the National War Finance Committee. He was given an honorary doctorate of laws by the University of Manitoba (1944) and made an Honorary Captain with the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserves. He established the Sellers Foundation to further medical research, religious education, and other charitable activities. There are endowed Chairs in Medicine in his name at the University of Manitoba and at the Sick Children’s Hospital in Toronto.
He died at his Winnipeg home, 12 Kingsway, on 12 February 1970 and was buried in the St. John’s Cathedral Cemetery.
1921 Canada census, Ancestry.
“Men of Winnipeg in Diamond Jubilee Sketches,” Winnipeg Free Press, December 1934. [Winnipeg Elite Study, G. Friesen Fonds, Mss 154, Box 15, File 8, University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections]
Marriage and death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 14 February 1970, page 40.
We thank Alexander Sellers for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 20 March 2020