Memorable Manitobans: Laurent Louis “Larry” Desjardins (1923-2012)
Funeral director, athlete, MLA (1959-1962), MLA (1962-1966), MLA (1966-1969), MLA (1969-1973), MLA (1973-1977), MLA (1977-1981), MLA (1981-1986), MLA (1986-1988).
Born at St. Boniface on 15 March 1923, son of Joseph A. Desjardins and Valentine Desautels, he was educated at Maison Chapelle, St. Boniface Juniorate, St. Boniface College, St. Paul’s College, and Cincinnati College of Embalming. He worked as a funeral director. A gifted athlete, he played baseball with the St. Boniface Juveniles, Norwood Seniors, and the St. Boniface Native Sons. He also played football and hockey, and was a local scout for the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins. He served on an athletic committee of the Manitoba Centennial Corporation. In 1993, he was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame.
He was an Alderman on the St. Boniface City Council (1951-1954). He was first elected to the Manitoba Legislature at the 1959 general election, and was re-elected in 1962, 1966, 1969, 1974, 1977, 1981, and 1986. Defeated by Joseph Paul Marion in the 1973 general election by a single vote, he was re-elected at a 1974 by-election. He served in the governments of Ed Schreyer and Howard Pawley, holding several ministerial portfolios. In recognition of his community service, he received a Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal (1977).
On 24 June 1944, he married Bernice McGuire (1924-1970, daughter of Philip McGuire of St. Boniface) and they had four children: Caroline Desjardins (wife of Edward Monney), Patricia Desjardins (wife of Leonard Bye), Suzanne Desjardins, and Michele Desjardins (1951-1963). He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, Granite Curling Club, and Canadian Council of Christians and Jews.
He died at Winnipeg on 7 February 2012.
The Canadian Parliamentary Guide, 1960.
Obituary [Michele Desjardins], Winnipeg Free Press, 5 December 1963, page 34.
Obituary [Bernice Desjardins], Winnipeg Free Press, 31 December 1970.
“Our ‘true champion’,” Winnipeg Free Press, 9 February 2012, page B1.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 19 March 2023