Our History

Herman Garfield Prior (1884 – 1984)

Herman Prior

Born in Exeter, Ontario, on January 6, 1884, Herman Prior was the son of Thomas Prior and Susan Cudmore. He was educated in Exeter before coming to Manitoba in 1903.

Herman clerked for W.F. Hartwell, merchant of Swan Lake then worked in Cypress River. He managed a store for J.H. Fawcett in Alameda, Saskatchewan, managed a business for R.L. Gibson, then worked with Cairns and Copeland of Glenboro before coming to Portage la Prairie in 1908. He opened a business with his brother, Nelson Prior, in the firm of Prior Brothers. It was dissolved in 1920 and Herman started a business specializing in dry goods and ladies’ ready-to-wear.

On July 29, 1914, he married Effie McBean (?-1974) of Forest, Ontario. They had three children: Murray, Douglas, and Jean (Mrs. Brian Best).

Businessman for 50 years
Community Volunteer for 70 years:
70 years Red Cross
40 years Chamber of Commerce, United Church
25 years Hospital Board and Arena
Entertainer at many events and at Lions Manor and Kozy Korner!

Herman was a public-spirited citizen who took a keen interest in the welfare of the community. He was a member of the Portage Hospital Board, Portage Board of Trade, Portage City Council (1919-1920), and Portage School Board (seven years). He was a member (15 years) and Vice-President of the Kiwanis Club, Vice-President of the Boosters Club, and Superintendent of the Sunday School and Chorister at Trinity United Church.

He was awarded a Centennial Citation by the Canadian Red Cross Society (1964), a Manitoba Centennial Medal by the Manitoba Historical Society (1970), and a Merit Award by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (1978). He was twice named the Citizen of the year by the Portage and District Chamber of Commerce (1973, 1978).

Herman died at Portage la Prairie at the age of 100 on March 7, 1984.

Remembered for his quick wit, jovial nature, happy smile, hearty handshake, and genuine interest in people.

A positive thinker and a friend to all seniors.

The Herman Prior Centre was named in his honour.