Memorable Manitobans: Marjorie Anne Chisholm Johnston (1919-2008)
Born at Winnipeg on 24 November 1919, daughter of Marjorie Charles Harris and William Thomson Chisholm, she attended Rupertsland School. Her father died when she was 16 and she used her dance training to support herself, at 18 going to New York on her own to teach and dance at the World’s Fair. Returning to Winnipeg she taught many of the city’s young men how to dance. She married her husband William Arthur Johnston (1914-1997) on 23 August 1941, who she met at Pine Ridge Golf Club, and spent the war years moving from Winnipeg to Victoria, then to Halifax. She drove ambulances during the day and passed her spare time playing craps at night, eventually winning enough money to buy a car. After the war the couple returned to Winnipeg.
As a young bride she served as Commissioner for the Girl Guides and then joined the Junior League of Winnipeg where she served as President and that led to opportunities to help develop public and seniors housing, children’s theatre, Age and Opportunity Bureau and others. She served many years on the Manitoba Theatre Centre’s Board where she was President and active in the fundraising required to develop the new theatre building as part of the Province’s centennial campaign. This lead to six years spent as a member of the Canada Council, where she had the opportunity to visit every corner of the country. In 1979 she was honoured with the Order of Canada for her work in the arts and the community. She was also a recipient of a Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal (1977), Canada 125 Medal (1992), and Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal (2002).
She died at Winnipeg on 18 October 2008.
Marriage registration [Marjorie Charles Harris, William Thomson Chisholm], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Birth registration [Marjorie Ann Chisholm], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Marriage registration [Marjorie Anne Chisholm, William Arthur Johnston], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Obituary [William Arthur Johnston], Winnipeg Free Press, 31 January 1997, page 38.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 30 October 2008.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 17 December 2022