Memorable Manitobans: Edgar Jordan Tarr (1881-1950)
Insurance executive, international affairs expert.
Born at Ottawa, Ontario on 6 November 1881, son of Nicholas Stambury Tarr and Elizabeth Ryrie, younger brother of Stambury Ryrie Tarr, he was educated at Ottawa Collegiate and McMaster University. In 1902 he came to Manitoba on a harvest excursion and remained in Winnipeg. He was called to the Manitoba Bar in 1905 and eventually became President of the Monarch Life Insurance Company. He was made a King’s Counsel in 1926. He succeeded J. W. Dafoe as President of the Canadian Institute of International Affairs. As international chair of the Institute of Pacific Relations, he often represented Canada at international conferences in the post-Second World War years. In 1939 in a Winnipeg speech he advocated a national unemployment insurance scheme and repatriation of the Constitution.
On 29 September 1905, he married Kathleen Anderson Burke (1883-1975). He served as President of the Canadian Club of Winnipeg (1925-1926), and a member of the Advisory Board for the Winnipeg Foundation. He was Chairman of the Manitoba Civil Service Commission, a member of the Winnipeg School Board, Manitoba Public Utility Board, and Head of the Manitoba Pension Board. He was Chairman of the J. W. Dafoe Foundation Committee. He was a Director of the Bank of Canada (replacing Robert McQueen), Industrial Development Bank, Northern Trusts Company, A. R. McNichol Limited, G. F. & J. Galt Limited, and United Corporations Limited. He was a member of the Manitoba Club, Motor Country Club, and the Masons (Assiniboine Lodge).
In 1908, he married Kathleen Bourke of Toronto. They had three children: Robert Haggart Tarr (1909-2001), Alan Edmund Tarr, and Betsey Tarr (wife of Douglas A. McLennan).
He died suddenly at Winnipeg on 7 November 1950 and was buried in Little Britain Cemetery.
Birth registration [R. H. Tarr], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Birthdays,” Winnipeg Free Press, 6 November 1950, page 15.
“Edgar Jordan Tarr dies of sudden heart attack,” Winnipeg Free Press, 8 November 1950, page 1.
We thank David G. Ferguson for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 5 May 2017
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