Memorable Manitobans: Benjamin Billingsley Smith (1881-1975)
Born at New Carlisle, Quebec in December 1881, he came to Winnipeg in 1902. After working in various offices for a few years, he convinced his brother Wilson Smith (1880-1955) to quit a job commanding the Atlantic steamship Empress of Ireland and join him in an insurance agency. They founded the Smith Agency Limited in 1910. They gradually began to take on property management, which eventually became the dominant part of their business.
On 23 September 1914, he married Eva Mae McCutcheon (1889-1967) at Winnipeg. They had two daughters: Corine Smith (wife of Ali H. Hansen) and Donna Smith (1917-1997, wife of Ian W. G. Plant and Ronald George Palmer). He served on the Winnipeg School Board for six years, representing Ward One. In 1935, he organized the Winnipeg Sinking Fund, Trustees School District Number One and served as its Chairman for 34 years, retiring in December 1968. He was a founder of the River Heights Community Club, in 1917, and served on the Greater Winnipeg Election Committee. He was a member of the Masons (Northern Light Lodge), Eskimo and Indian Residential School Committee, Manitoba Historical Society, Holy Trinity Anglican Church, and Lake George Fishing Club.
Marriage registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 3 April 1975, page 42.
Obituary [Donna Gwendoline Palmer], Winnipeg Free Press, 22 November 1997, page 58.
Raleigh Apartments (340 Vaughan Street), City of Winnipeg Historical Buildings Committee, January 1997.
We thank Ron Smith for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 27 March 2022