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Memorable Manitobans: Charles Morley Vanstone (1870-1953)

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Charles Morley Vanstone
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Physician, business executive.

Born at Kincardine, Ontario on 18 August 1870, he was a son of Anne Sturgeon and Josiah Vanstone. His father was born at Devonshire, England, emigrating to Canada and settling in Bruce County, Ontario where he established himself as a furniture manufacturer, before moving to Manitoba in 1882 to work for 40 years for the Manitoba Government, at Winnipeg. Dr. Vanstone was educated at Kincardine Public School, Winnipeg Collegiate, and the University of Manitoba. He taught at Birtle School for a year (1890-1891) and took postgraduate education at New York City. After his graduation in 1894, he practised medicine at Wawanesa until 1912 when he moved to North Battleford, Saskatchewan.

In 1922, he was invited to return to Wawanesa to head the troubled Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company, which had been founded in the town in 1896, during Vanstone’s tenure as local doctor. Despite having no insurance experience, he led the company to recovery and new sources of business, especially in automobile insurance.

On 21 February 1901, he married Lillian Jane “Lillie” Clarke (1883-1969) at Wawanesa and they had six children: Anne Marion Vanstone (1903-1987, wife of Leo Romeo Blaise, mother of author Clark Blaise), Lillian Margaret “Lillie” Vanstone (1905-1953, wife of Keith Douglas Marshall), Edith Vanstone (1906-1915), Kathleen J. Vanstone, Josiah Morley Vanstone (1911-1988), and Mary Ella Vanstone (1921-1998). They also adopted three children (Charles Foster Vanstone, Russell Vanstone, and Lillian Vanstone) on the death of their father, his brother. Vanstone was a member of the Masons (Past Worshipful Master of the Wawanesa Lodge) and the IOOF (Past Noble Grand, Wawanesa Lodge, No. 31). He took a keen interest in sports, playing hockey and football, and bred purebred horses.

He retired in 1943, moved to Burnaby, British Columbia, and returned to Winnipeg in 1947, where he died on 27 March 1953 after a lingering illness. At the time of his death, he was living at 1306 Wolseley Avenue. He was buried in the Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens.

See also:

Pioneers of Manitoba by Robert Harvey (1970).

Old Pathways, New Horizons: A History of the Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company 1896-1996 by Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company, 1996.


Birth, marriage, and death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

1911 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.

Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.

“Pioneer MD in Manitoba dies at 83,” Winnipeg Free Press, 28 March 1953, page 10.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 28 March 1953, page 27.

Obituary [Anne Blaise], Winnipeg Free Press, 12 February 1987, page 51.

Obituary [Josiah Morley Vanstone], Winnipeg Free Press, 4 June 1988, page 47.

Obituary [Mary Ella Vanstone], Winnipeg Free Press, 19 May 1998, page 37.

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.

We thank Mark R. Vanstone and Peter Sampson for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 30 June 2020

Memorable Manitobans

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