Robert (Bob) Troy Blair was born on March 11, 1930 in Brandon, MB. His first six years were spent in Alexander, MB, where his father and uncle operated a grocery store. In 1936, his family moved to Souris, MB, where his father ran a grocery store. Blair received his primary and high school education, with the exception of Grade 12, in Souris.
Blair remembers his school years in Souris as mainly happy years. He was involved with both piano and organ music lessons. he was never interested in physical sports with the exception of golf. World War II broke out in September of 1939. Souris became the site of #17 SFTS and home base for the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. Many of the service men came from England, Australia and New Zealand. Blair's mother always entertained at least two for dinner every Sunday. Rationing of sugar, tea and coffee, butter and meat became a way of life. Blair had the job every Saturday of pasting the ration coupons into booklets. It was also when he was in Grade 6, that Blair realized he was more attracted to boys than to girls. Perhaps it was because so many attractive airmen surrounded him!
In November of 1947, the Blair family relocated to Alexander where Bob Blair finished his Grade 11. This was not a good year due to bullying. In September of 1948, Blair moved to Winnipeg to attend United College for his Grade 12. Upon completion of Grade 12, Blair remained in Winnipeg until June 1950. he worked at a number of businesses - Gestetner, Eaton's Mail Order shoe department, Maple Leaf Milling, and the drug store in the Medical Arts Building. In September 1950, he entered Brandon College. Blair was very active in extra-curricular affairs while at Brandon College; particularly drama. Following his B.A. he enrolled in the Education Faculty, having decided to become a teacher.
Blair's teaching career spanned 34 years. All but one year was spent in the Brandon School Division. On his first day of teaching in the Division he met the man with whom he would spend the next 46 years. He was primarily a teacher of English and Music. A highlight of his career was exchange teaching in Sacramento, California in 1961. Orientation for exchange took place in August in Washington, D.C., where Blair had the opportunity to meet President J.F. Kennedy. He vividly recals the morning that JFK was assassinated on November 22, 1963. In September 1965, Blair assumed the principalship of Park School and in September of 1969, the same position at George Fitton School where re remained until his retirement in 1989. He was a member of the Brandon Picnipals' Association, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, and servedas President of the Brandon Teachers' Association. Among his major accomplishments during his time as principal were the introduction of a centralized school library in both Park and George Fitton Schools and the integration of special needs students into regular classroom situations wherever possible. He was made a Life Member of the Manitoba Teachers' Society (Brandon) in June 1990. Following his retirement Blair worked as a Library Automation Consultant (1989-1993).
Blair also had numerous community involvements during his time in Brandon. he was active in the Brandon Little Theatre (Best Actor Award, Manitoba Drama Festival for One Act Plays in 1963), the Brandon Festival of the Arts, the Eckhardt-Gramatte National Music Competition, and Arm Industries to name a few.
Following the death of his partner in 2001, Blair moved to Saskatoon to live with a younger gay couple. He has been active in volunteerism: as an Ambassador for the Saskatoon Airport Authority, assistant with the Saskatoon Health Region's Immunization Clinics, information clerk for the Festival of Trees, data entry clerk for the Saskatoon Music Festival, on the Board of the Saskatoon Jazz Society, and Hospitality Coordinator for the Saskatoon Jazz Festival.
As of October 2013, Bob Blair continues to live in Saskatoon, SK.
Records were in Blair's possession until he donated them to the Mckee Archives on Homecoming weekend October 2013.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of two scrapbooks containing 145 photographs and ephemera (play and graduation programs, tickets, pins, newspaper clippings) documenting Bob Blair's days at Brandon College. Social events and extra-curricular activities are heavily featured in the two scrapbooks. Also included are graduation portraits for the Classes of 1951, 1952 and 1953. Of the 145 photographs all are black and white except for two photos of the Class of '53 reconvocation (May 1993), and one from the Class of '53 reunion (2003).
Cover of Young School minute book is moderately damaged, but pages are in good condition with only minor water damage and a few ripped pages.
History / Biographical
Dorothy Cox (nee Frost) moved from Elm Creek to Justice in 1946 to work as a schoolteacher. In 1948, she married Laval Cox and together they had four children: Larry, Herd, Rosalie and Heather.
In 1949, Dorothy and Laval purchased Gibb Gillespie's PSV business and began hauling grain, cattle and agricultural equipment. Dorothy went back to teaching in 1959, first at Justice and then Elton Collegiate. After retiring from teaching in 1978, Dorothy started a greenhouse, which operated for 21 years.
All six members of the Cox family were active in community events and organizations. Dorothy was involved in establishing the baby band in 1951; her sons Larry and Herb were members. Along with Laval, Dorothy was a leader of the Cubs in 1955-1956 and again in 1958-1959. Laval was the leader of the local hockey club in 1958, and of a bible study group in 1960. Larry, Herb and Rosalie were avid skaters in 1960-64. Heather and Rosalie were enrolled in senior grades of Sunday school in 1970.
Records were collected by Dorothy Cox, a resident of Justice, over a number of years. She donated them to the McKee Archives on April 4, 2012.
Scope and Content
Collection consists of records related to the history of the Justice district. It includes a history of the Justice Church (1910-1970); minute and expense books for the Justice Hockey Club (1949-1966); a minute and expense book for Young Protestant School (1884-1898); a copy of the Justice 100th Anniversary community history (2009); and four color photographs of Justice Church.
History/Bio information taken from the content of the collection. Description by James Heaman (2012).