Memorable Manitobans: Vincent “Vince” Leah (1913-1993)
Born at Winnipeg on 29 November 1913, son of Francis Leah (1877-1963) and Bridget Leah (1881-1937), he contracted polio at the age of eight. He was educated at Ralph Brown School and Isaac Newton School. He joined the Winnipeg Tribune in 1930 and was a sportswriter there for 50 years. He coached hockey and other sports, especially soccer, and was a constant booster of community sports. He served on an athletic committee of the Manitoba Centennial Corporation.
Leah became a columnist for the Winnipeg Free Press in 1980 and also wrote for Seniors Today. He wrote eight books on local and Manitoba history, including West of the River: The Story of West Kildonan (1970), Pages from the Past (1975), A History of the Blue Bombers (1979), and Alarm of Fire: 100 Years of Firefighting in Winnipeg, 1882-1982 (1982).
Leah received numerous awards through the years, including a Manitoba Golden Boy Award (1962) and a Centennial Medal of Honour (1970). The University of Winnipeg gave him an honorary doctorate in 1985. He was inducted into the Manitoba Order of the Buffalo Hunt (1959), Order of Canada (1980), Winnipeg Citizens Hall of Fame (1994), and the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame. Three Winnipeg streets and the Vince Leah Community Centre have been named for him. He received a Distinguished Service Award from Heritage Winnipeg.
On 6 April 1940, he married Mary Isabel Jardine (1913-1993). They had a son, Donald Francis Leah (1942-2012). He was a member of Kildonan United Church, Royal Canadian Legion, Kiwanis Club, and Fraternal Order of Eagles.
He died at Winnipeg on 9 August 1993 and was buried in Glen Eden Memorial Garden.
Marriage and death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Deaths,” Winnipeg Tribune, 30 September 1963, page 13.
Obituaries, Winnipeg Free Press, 12 August 1993, page 26.
Obituary [Donald Francis Leah], Winnipeg Free Press, 7 November 2012.
Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 14 October 2022