Memorable Manitobans: Shirley Anne Rooper Richardson (1925-2023)
Born at Wyburn in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire, England on 8 February 1925, daughter of John Royden Rooper and Isobel Iris Calthrop, her childhood was spent at Shamley Green, Surrey, England. In 1940, she was evacuated to Canada and came to Winnipeg where she attended the Riverbend School for Girls. After completing high school, she took a secretarial course and, in February 1942, became employed with the British Ministry of War Transport at Montreal, Quebec. Later that year, she returned to England and joined the Women's Auxiliary Air Force and drove trucks at the Hawkinge Airfield in Kent.
In 1948, she returned to Canada to visit friends at Ottawa, Ontario. They introduced her to James Armstrong Richardson and, on 10 September 1949, she married him and settled at Winnipeg where they had five children, including Royden Rooper Richardson (1953-2013).
Active in the community, she was a Director for the Middlechurch Nursing Home and was an ardent supporter of the Manitoba Theatre Centre, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and Winnipeg Art Gallery. She provided the funds for development of a butterfly garden at the Assiniboine Park Conservatory. In recognition of her public philanthropy, she received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012) and was inducted into the Order of Manitoba (2022).
She died at Winnipeg on 11 March 2023.
“She was nearly torpedoed on first trip to Canada,” Winnipeg Tribune, 28 September 1968.
Obituary [Royden Rooper Richardson], Winnipeg Free Press, 10 May 2013.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 17 March 2023.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 27 March 2023