Robert (Bob) Oliver Douglas

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Robert Oliver Douglas was born on January 25, 1932 to parents residing in Minnedosa. He is a farm leader and former Winnipeg City Councillor.

Douglas joined the Manitoba Federation of Agriculture in 1956 as a youth director, and later became its executive secretary. He was a founding member of the Manitoba Farm Bureau in 1965, and served as its secretary manager for nineteen years until becoming general manager of the newly-created Keystone Agricultural Producers group in 1984. Douglas played a prominent role in establishing the Manitoba Agricultural Training Project in 1989. He was fired in 1993, after refusing to submit a letter of resignation. Douglas indicated that he was given no cause for the termination notice. He subsequently joined Manitoba Pool as a consultant.

His political career began in 1982, when was elected to the Winnipeg City Council in a by-election for the Stevenson ward. He ran as an independent, and defeated a candidate of the centre-right Independent Citizens' Election Committee. He was re-elected in 1983, defeating New Democratic Party candidate Jim Maloway by a wide margin. Returned by acclamation in 1986, he was again re-elected for the restructured ward of Grants Mills-Stevenson in 1989. He did not seek re-election in 1992. On council, Douglas served as chairman of the Planning and Community Services Committee.

Douglas ran for the Manitoba Liberal Party in the 1995 provincial election, and spoke in favour of single-desk marketing for hog producers during the campaign. He posed a credible challenge to Progressive Conservative incumbent Gerry McAlpine, but ultimately finished second. After the election, he suggested that Winnipeg should consider recapturing its diminishing tax base by expanding its borders outward.

In 1998, Douglas was appointed to an advisory council of the Agri-food Research and Development Initiative. He was appointed to a six-year term on the Canadian Grain Commission for Manitoba in 2000. In 2004, he was nominated to the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame.


ROBERT (BOB) OLIVER DOUGLAS Robert (Bob) Douglas was reunited with his beloved Shelagh on Friday, October 5, 2012.

Bob was predeceased by his wife Shelagh in 2004 and his brother Alex in 2008. Cherishing his memory is daughter Barbara (grandson Ian Mullins), son John and Heather, Neepawa, MB (granddaughter Kate and Rob Wilson, great-grandchildren Rylan and Kensley) (grandson Michael), and daughter Anne and Peter Roberts (grandson Evan). His sister Irene (Al Peden), brothers Jack (Carole) and Harvey (Joyce) have been truly wonderful in supporting him with visits and phone calls he so appreciated. Bob will be missed by brother-in-law Dr. Ian and Eva Sutherland, sister-in-law Jane Parker (Kingston, ON) and Pat Hutcheson (Pittsburgh, PA). Uncle Bob had the love and affection of his crew of nieces and nephews.

His friend Mac McCorquodale has been at Bob's side for decades, and we thank him for his valuable support. Bob and his family want to express appreciation for the many years of respectful care and kindness provided by Dr. A. Jowett and his nurse Agnes. The family extends our thanks to the Winnipeg Police and Fire/Paramedic Service personnel who attended.

Bob was born January 25, 1932. He was the third child to Eva (nee Petch) and Oliver Douglas. His roots on the farm never left him. He grew up on the family farm near Minnedosa and attended Hazelwood School, Minnedosa Collegiate and United College. In his youth he enjoyed his participation in 4-H, being the Manitoba representative to the National 4-H program at the Toronto Royal Fair in 1950. He was elected chairman of the first National 4-H Youth Council.

Bob met Shelagh Sutherland at a United Church of Canada Young Peoples Union conference. They married in 1956 and bought land for their home in 1958. They worked diligently at building that happy, welcoming home and Dad has been there ever since. Bob was a fabulous neighbour and became the street historian.

Bob's life long contribution to the Manitoba agricultural community began with his appointment as Youth Director for the Manitoba Federation of Agriculture and Co-operation (MFAC) in 1956. In this position he became Director and Manager of MFAC's residential youth camp at Clear Lake. This association with Camp Wannakumbac lasted 31 years, from 1956-1987.

Bob believed every child deserved a positive camping experience, and that this experience could play a significant role in developing confidence and leadership skills. Thousands of Manitoba youth benefitted from this camping experience under Bob's guidance and went on to become leaders themselves in their respective areas.

Bob eventually became Executive Secretary of the MFAC and was one of the founding architects leading to the formation of the Manitoba Farm Bureau in 1965. He served as Executive Secretary of the Manitoba Farm Bureau until 1984. In 1983-84 Bob was at the forefront with initiatives leading to the formation of Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP), which would become a respected farm lobby network. He served as KAP's first General Manager until 1993. In his role as senior staff of Manitoba's major farm policy organizations, Bob was heavily involved in the farm policy work of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. Bob was a key person in assisting several commodity groups in establishing producer marketing boards which significantly contributed to improved farm income.

He also helped the Manitoba Women's Institute organize the Farm Vacations Program implemented in 1971. In 1989 Bob negotiated with Canada Manpower, Manitoba Agriculture and Agriculture Canada to establish the Manitoba Agricultural Training Project. Under his supervision, an extensive skills training program was carried out each year until 1995 to meet identified needs of farm families.

Since 1993, Bob has been appointed to serve on various national agricultural policy committees. In 2000 he received a six year appointment as Assistant Commissioner of the Canadian Grain Commission. In 2004, Bob was inducted into the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame. Bob served his community as an elected member of Winnipeg City Council for four terms, 1982 1992, for the Stevenson - Grant's Mill ward. He served as chairman of the Protection, Parks and Culture Committee.

Over the years Bob volunteered at Sturgeon Creek Community Club, church committees and events, Manitoba Camping Association, Community Liaison Committee of the Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health, Charleswood St. James- Assiniboia Federal Liberal Riding Association, and the University of Manitoba Senate Committee on Honourary Degrees.

Bob treasured and took delight in his four precious grandchildren, who he adored unconditionally. In his eyes, they were simply the best! Story after story is told of good times spent with Grandpa and how he saved the day. Dad never worked at just one job, and that was the way he liked it. For over fifty years he has willingly and conscientiously served his community, his province and his country.

Thanks be to God for his life of service. Memorial service to be held on Saturday, October 13, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. at St. Mary's Road United Church, 613 St. Mary's Road, Winnipeg, with Rev. Bev Ward officiating. Private interment at Chapel Lawn at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory to the Sunshine Fund c/o Manitoba Camping Association, 302-960 Portage Ave, Winnipeg R3G 0R4; or Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame, 1129 Queens Avenue, Brandon R7A 1L9 would have pleased Bob. THOMSON FUNERAL HOME 669 BROADWAY, WINNIPEG, MB R3C OX4 783-7211 Condolences may be sent to
Publish Date: Oct 11, 2012

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