Memorable Manitobans: William John “Will” Abbey (1879-1963)
Born at Caledonia, Ontario on 11 February 1879, son of John and Mary Abbey, he came to Manitoba and farmed until 1901 when he took employment at the Brandon Flour Mills in Brandon. He took evening classes at a business college then, as of 1907, had the Brandon agency for the Manitoba Free Press.
He was married three times. His first marriage on 13 November 1901 to Julia Ann Baker (1875-1915) at Brandon produced three sons: Clifford Leigh Abbey (1902-1981), Nelson Gerry Abbey (1905-1984), and John James Abbey (1912-1974). On 23 November 1921, he married Martha Eleanor Asham (?-?) at Brandon and they lived at Arcola, Saskatchewan. His third wife, married at Arcola, was Selina Mae Reed (1890-1975). They had four children: Edward Reed “Ted” Abbey (1930-2008), Shirley Jean Abbey (1931-2021), Mary Abbey (wife of Lawrence R. Williams), and Anna May “Randy” Abbey (1934-2017, wife of John H. Oslund).
The family moved to Reston in 1931 where he operated a Red and White grocery store until retirement around 1961. He was a member of the IOOF, Knights of Maccabees, COF, Reston Chamber of Commerce, and Reston United Church.
He died at Reston on 18 August 1963 and was buried in the Reston Cemetery.
The Story of Manitoba by F. H. Schofield, Winnipeg: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1913.
Marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Death registration [Julia Ann Abbey], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
1921 Canada census, Ancestry.
“Birthdays,” Winnipeg Free Press, 11 February 1963, page 19.
Obituary [William John Abbey], Brandon Sun, 20 August 1963, page 11.
Obituary [Selina Mae Abbey], Brandon Sun, 1 October 1975, page 14.
Obituary [Nelson Gerry Abbey], Winnipeg Free Press, 2 November 1984, page 42.
The Sequel to Trails Along the Pipestone by RM Pipestone History Committee, 2009, pages 172-174.
Obituary [Shirley Jean Abbey], Redpath Funeral Home & Crematorium.
Edward Reed Abbey, FindAGrave.
Obituary [Randy Anna May Oslund], Neepawa Banner & Press, 20 October 2017, page 19.
“South & East, Donnelly & Archer and Red & White” by Sharon Simms, Historic Reston Bricks and Boards.
Clifford Leigh Abbey, Ancestry.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough and Sharon Simms.
Page revised: 23 January 2022