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Memorable Manitobans: Robert Gordon “Bob” Smellie (1923-2005)

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Robert Gordon Smellie
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Lawyer, MLA (1959-1962), MLA (1963-1966).

Born at Russell on 23 August 1923, son of Albert George Smellie (1895-1974) and Jessie May Cummings (1897-1986), grandson of Albert Gale Parker Smellie, he was educated at Russell Collegiate Institute, Brandon College and Manitoba Law School. During the Second World War, he served overseas with the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, was wounded in Normandy, and graduated as a commissioned officer from the Royal Military College in England.

Returning from military duty, he obtained a law degree and practiced law at Russell. He was a candidate for Birtle-Russell in the 1958 provincial general election but was defeated by Rodney Clement. He was first elected as a Progressive Conservative to the Manitoba Legislature in 1959 and was re-elected in 1962, the same year in which he was made a Queen's Counsel. He served as Minister of Municipal Affairs (1963-1966) and Minister Without Portfolio (1966). He was defeated again by Rodney Clement at the 1966 general election. In 1967, he joined the Winnipeg firm of Aikins MacAulay and practiced law to retirement.

On 4 July 1946, he married Lois Evelyn Cochrane (1925-2018), daughter of merchant Robert Stuart Cochrane of Russell and they had three daughters. In 1980, he married Jean McIntyre (c1929-2021). He was a member of the Canadian Legion, Chamber of Commerce, A.O.T.S., Manitoba 83 Highway Association, and Manitoba Travel and Convention Association. In recognition of his community service, he received the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal (1977) and Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal (2002).

He died at Winnipeg on 29 September 2005.

Sources:

The Canadian Parliamentary Guide, 1960.

“Province names ten lawyers Queen’s counsels,” Winnipeg Tribune, 31 December 1962, page 13.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 8 October 2005.

Obituary [Lois Evelyn Smellie], Winnipeg Free Press, 7 April 2018.

Obituary [Jean Smellie], Winnipeg Free Press 26 June 2021.

Members of the Legislative Assembly (deceased), Legislative Assembly of Manitoba.

Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 26 June 2021

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