Memorable Manitobans: Herbert “Hebby” Axford (1894-1974)
Salesman, sports enthusiast.
Born at Glenboro on 24 August 1894, son of Arni Arnason Axford (1849-1930) and Gudbjorg Axford (1853-1903), he was player and manager of the Minto junior baseball club that won the provincial championship in 1913 and was employed as a salesman prior to enlistment in the 223rd Overseas Battalion with Canadian Expeditionary Forces (1916). Once overseas, he transferred from infantry to the Royal Air Force, becoming a Flight Commander with the rank of Captain. His second-in-command was war hero Clennell Haggerston “Punch” Dickins. For his actions, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Returning from military duty, he was President and Manager of the Falcons Hockey Club during their Allan Cup and Olympic Championship at the Games of the VII Olympiad in Antwerp, Belgium (1920). An avid curler, he was a member of the Commercial Curling Clubs’ Dominion Motors team that won their leagues top trophy in multiple seasons, including Canada Packers Trophy in 1953. He went on to be the President of the Manitoba Curling Association (1955), and President of the Heather Curling Club (1946-1947), the latter from which he received status of Honourary Life Member.
He owned the Phonograph Shop (1920-1923) before becoming an automobile salesman at Dominion Motors in 1923, rising to Sales Manager (1941), and Vice-President (1955), and continued there until his death. As of October 1973, he was credited with the sale of over 23,000 cars, at that time purported to be a record in that category.
He and wife Dorothy Barbara Donaldson (1904-1992) had two children: Herbert Axford Lawrence and Rosemary Axford (wife of Richard Jacks). The family resided at 33 Lawndale Avenue, Winnipeg. In 1953, he was elected Vice-President of the Wartime Pilots’ and Observers’ Association, representing First World War members.
He died at the Health Sciences Centre on 15 November 1974 and was buried in Brookside Cemetery.
1901 and 1906 Canada censes, Library and Archives of Canada.
Attestation papers, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Library and Archives Canada.
Death registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Falcons’ hockey trophies now on view in Winnipeg,” Manitoba Free Press, 21 May 1920, page 21.
Death notice [Arni A. Axford], Winnipeg Free Press, 28 April 1930, page 3.
“Pilots, observers choose officials,” Winnipeg Free Press, 19 March 1953, page 3.
“Six curling clubs wind up season,” Winnipeg Free Press, 28 March 1953, page 23.
“Herbert Axford named Vice-President of firm,” Winnipeg Free Press, 31 March 1955, page 45.
“Commercial curlers year end,” Winnipeg Free Press, 12 May 1956, page 12.
“Five curling clubs close out season,” Winnipeg Free Press, 22 April 1961, page 58.
“Veteran auto salesman has sold 23,000 cars,” Winnipeg Free Press, 30 October 1973, page 21.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 16 November 1974, page 45.
Obituary [Dorothy Barbara Axford], Winnipeg Free Press, 31 March 1992, page C31.
Dorothy Barbara Donaldson Axford, Find a Grave.
Henderson’s Winnipeg and Brandon Directories, Peel’s Prairie Provinces, University of Alberta Libraries.
This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.
Page revised: 27 February 2023