Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: John Clawson “Jack” Smyth (1936-2007)

Athlete, educator, administrator.

Born at Winnipeg on 24 March 1936, son of Jack and Rita Smyth, he attended Earl Grey School and Kelvin High School then worked as a technician for the Board of Grain Commissioners. He received a sports scholarship to the University of Houston in the mid-1950s and, in 1958, was named Manitoba’s Athlete of the Year, and Canada’s Outstanding Amateur Athlete of the Year. That same year, he won a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games at Cardiff, Wales. In 1959 he was named an All-American in track and field, was the NCAA champion in the triple jump. He was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame in 1982.

In 1959, he became a physical education teacher at Sisler High School, spending eight years there, then became Physical Education Director for the River East School Division. Several years later, he returned to the Winnipeg School Division to become the Vice-Principal of Tec Voc High School. After one year as Principal of R. B. Russell Vocational School (1979-1980), he was appointed Superintendent of Secondary Schools in the Division, then was Chief Superintendent from 1983 until retirement in 2001.

On 29 October 1960, he married Valentine Kolson at Winnipeg. They had two children.

He died at Winnipeg on 18 September 2007.


“Engagements,” Winnipeg Free Press, 8 October 1960, page 10.

“Showers honor Saturday bride,” Winnipeg Free Press, 29 October 1960, page 12.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 22 September 2007.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 25 September 2015

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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