Memorable Manitobans: Jack Milburn Scurfield (1899-1974)
Born at Manitou on 31 October 1899, he grew up at Clearwater. After attending the Manitou Normal School at age 17, he began a 50-year teaching career which took him from northern Saskatchewan to Wood Bay, Morden, and Treherne. After moving to Winnipeg in 1925, he taught at Machray School and Kelvin High School then served as Principal of Lord Nelson School (1939-1943), Lord Roberts School (1943-1955), and Churchill High School (1955-1965). During his teaching work, he also took training for BA and MEd degrees from the University of Manitoba.
In 1953, while at Lord Roberts School, he headed a committee of teachers to research the planning of a new high school for South Winnipeg. In 1953-1954, he toured American schools and formulated a prospectus for ideal types of classrooms. It included specialized rooms for science, home economics, gymnasium, art, and library. These modern ideas formed the basis for his Master’s Degree in Education and were incorporated into the design of Churchill High School. When he left to become Principal of the school, several elementary school teachers from Lord Roberts followed him there. Following his retirement from teaching, he was Director of Secondary Education and Assistant Superintendent of the Seven Oaks School Division. He was President of the Winnipeg Schoolmasters’ Club and the Mentors’ Club of Winnipeg. In 1974, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Winnipeg.
On 28 June 1930, he married Edith Isabel Fraser (1902-2002, daughter of Hugh Alexander Fraser) and they had three daughters: Beverley Scurfield (wife of Mac Watts), Helen Scurfield (wife of William Norrie), and Janet Scurfield (wife of Larry Gould).
He died at Winnipeg on 24 October 1974. He and his nephew Ralph Thomas Scurfield are commemorated by Scurfield Park and Scurfield Boulevard in Winnipeg.
Birth and marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Obituary [Hugh A. Fraser], Winnipeg Tribune, 2 June 1947, page 41.
“Know Your Principal,” Winnipeg Free Press, 4 April 1964, page 3.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 25 October 1974, page 31.
Obituary [Edith Isobel Scurfield], Winnipeg Free Press, 3 July 2002, page 35.
We thank Bobbi Jo Panciera and Gail Singleton for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 20 June 2020