Memorable Manitobans: Gordon Minto Churchill (1898-1985)
Soldier, educator, lawyer, MLA (1946-1949), MP (1951-1953), MP (1953-1957), MP (1957-1958), MP (1958-1962), MP (1962-1963), MP (1963-1965), MP (1966-1968).
Born at Coldwater, Ontario on 8 November 1898, son of John Wesley Churchill and Mary Elizabeth Shier, he attended public and high schools at Port Arthur, Ontario then United College (Winnipeg), Brandon Normal School, and the University of Manitoba (MA, LLB). He served overseas as a machine gunner during the First World War (1916 to 1919), after which he was a school teacher and Principal at Dauphin from 1928 to 1938. He served as President of the Manitoba Teachers’ Federation (1934-1935).
During the Second World War, he served overseas as a Captain with the Fort Garry Horse (1939-1942), Second-in-Command of the Manitoba Dragoons (1942-1943), Elgin Regiment (1943-1944), Officer Commanding, First Canadian Armoured Personnel Carrier Regiment (1944-1945), Dean of Khaki College (1945). Returning to Canada, he studied law, was called to the Manitoba Bar in 1950, and practised at Winnipeg.
In 1945, he was elected to the Manitoba Legislature as an Army representative. In 1949, he resigned and was a candidate at the federal general election, for Winnipeg South Centre, but was defeated. He was elected to the House of Commons, to the same constituency, at a by-election in June 1951, and was re-elected in 1953, 1957, 1958, 1962, 1963, and 1965. He became a member of the Privy Council in June 1957 and held several portfolios in the Diefenbacker government, including Minister of Trade and Commerce from June 1957 to October 1960, Minister of Veterans Affairs from October 1960 to February 1963, and Minister of National Defence from February to April 1963. He was made a Queen’s Counsel in 1962. He was given an honorary doctorate by the University of Winnipeg in 1976.
On 9 August 1922, he married schoolteacher Mona Mary McLachlin (1900-1983) at Dauphin and they had a daughter, Winona Churchill (wife of ? Walker).
He died at New Westminster, British Columbia on 3 August 1985.
Marriage registration [Gordon Minto Churchill, Mona Mary McLachlin], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
The History of the Manitoba Teachers’ Society by Haraldur Victor Vidal, MA thesis, University of Manitoba, 1958.
The Canadian Directory of Parliament, 1867-1967, edited by J. K. Johnson, Public Archives of Canada, Ottawa [Library and Archives Canada], 1968.
Death registrations [Mona Mary Churchill, Gordon Minto Churchill], British Columbia Vital Statistics.
“Former cabinet minister Churchill dies at 86,” Winnipeg Free Press, 4 August 1985, page 3.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 29 November 2022