Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Edwin Jefferson “Jeff” Umphrey (1901-1965)

Automotive executive.

Born in the RM of Dufferin on 13 September 1901, son of James W. Umphrey and Susanna McLean, he worked for General Motors of Canada for 43 years, starting in its Winnipeg office, in 1920. He relocated to its corporate headquarters at Oshawa, Ontario in 1928 where he rose to become Sales Director (1942-1963) and Vice-President (1952-1963). He retired in 1963 and was inducted posthumously into the Automotive Hall of Fame, in 1974. On 20 August 1924, he married Hilda Victoria Mansell (1899-2001) at Winnipeg. They had two girls and two boys. He died at Oshawa, Ontario on 30 November 1965 and was buried in the York Cemetery at Willowdale. He is commemorated by the Jeff Umphrey Building at Brandon University, designed and built in late 1970 as a research and demonstration facility for families with mentally-handicapped members in rural and isolated areas of Canada.


Birth and marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“No dream cars yet says Umphrey,” Winnipeg Free Press, 22 November 1944, page 3.

“GM appointment,” Winnipeg Free Press, 24 July 1963, page 43.

Obituary, Oshawa Times, 2 December 1963, page 27.

“Research centre for retardates,” Winnipeg Free Press, 10 September 1970, page 12.

“Mental research centre opens at Brandon,” Winnipeg Free Press, 20 October 1971, page 62.

Umphrey biography, Automotive Hall of Fame.

We thank the Oshawa Public Library for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer and Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 5 January 2014

Memorable Manitobans

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