Mr Joe Stangl – 2002

From humble beginnings in Quantock, Saskatchewan, Joseph worked his way through school, eventually landing a job with Crane Ltd., Winnipeg and Saskatoon. For the next 25 years, Joseph progressed from Salesman and Assistant manager with Crane to General Sales Manager with Anthes Western Ltd., Winnipeg. In some ways, his real challenges began after retirement when he became a "professional volunteer".

Joseph spent 13 years as Secretary Treasurer and Administrator of St Paul's High School. He also became involved locally, provincially, nationally, and in some areas, internationally, in Catholic, Public and Independent Schools Education. This involvement took Joseph across Canada a number of times, and on occasion, internationally, giving him the opportunity of meeting many wonderful people.

During his various careers and involvements, Joseph was active in his parish and numerous related Catholic organizations and programs, resulting in being honoured with a Papal Knighthood - Knight of St. Gregory the Great (KSG) - in 1958.

In addition, because of his ongoing involvement in education administration for some 50 years, as well as numerous other community projects and causes, Joseph received the Order of Canada (CM) in 1979.

Apart from this, he was blessed with a rich life with many varied and beautiful experiences, with his wonderful wife, Katherine, the love of his life, two daughters, Judith Ann and Joanne Catherine, and their families. Over the years, the Stangls participated in and enjoyed social and cultural events, travelled extensively in Canada, USA and overseas, and took numerous winter holidays. As well, Joseph continues to enjoy golf and curling!

The boy from Assiniboia, Saskatchewan was destined to be a noble knight, even if Pope Pius XII had not created him a Knight of St Gregory the Great and a grateful Canada had not inducted him into the Order of Canada. "Excelsior", "Excelsior", higher, even higher was his goal. If the cause was good, if it was noble, even though seemingly impossible if a greater good could be accomplished, he would dare to champion it.

Fate, or if you wish, destiny; for those who believe, the Holy Spirit, brought the author from the hills of Saskatchewan across the prairie to the meeting of the waters of the Assiniboine and Red Rivers. When he arrived, Winnipeg and St Boniface were only two of the many cities and towns located at the confluence of these rivers - filled with different nationalities who followed different creeds or none at all. There were ancient hatreds, long-nurtured prejudices and much mutual distrust. The relatively small Catholic population had three Archbishops and three Cathedrals. Blessed Pope John XXIII once asked: "Where is Winnipeg?" Pope John Paul II once exclaimed: "Ah, Winnipeg, the place with all the bishops".

The inhabitants of river city were beginning to discover that another language, far from being an impediment, was a distinct advantage, like having another arm or leg. The colour of your skin or where you came from was not that important. Being moral, dependable, honest, a good citizen, a good Canadian was what mattered. The church you attended on Sunday was important for you and the glory of God. What you did on Monday could land you in hell if you did not love your neighbour and forgive as you hoped to be forgiven.

Education, always a challenge, was weighted down in Manitoba with the injustices that oozed from the long-standing Manitoba School Question. What to do? How to solve this problem that many hoped would just go away. More than one highly placed politician wished he could solve it. Ecclesiastics high and low wished and accomplished nothing. The Manitoba School Question was misunderstood by some. Others were indifferent. Still, others were blinded by prejudice. A few had the desire to right this long-standing wrong.

That there has been a substantial, if not a hundred percent solution to this Manitoba problem, the man for others, Joseph C. Stangl, deserves all the credit.

Education, private and public, has been and still is the prime interest of this educator par excellence. Who has carried the banner of the schools, public or independent, with more vigour or zeal? He began by being elected as a School Trustee in the Saskatoon Separate School Board and continued his educational interest when he returned to Manitoba. The Manitoba School Trustees Association and The Canadian School Trustees Association are only two of the organizations that have benefited from Joe's dedicated zeal and "gracious tongue".

As you read, you will learn how Independent Schools, as well as Public and Catholic Schools in the Province of Manitoba, have benefitted from his "pleasant speech". Dedication to worthy causes has "multiplied his friends".

This man for all seasons has not confined his activities only to education. St Boniface, which he calls home, is the beneficiary of this tireless crusader for good. So are the communities on both sides of our rivers.

God gave the talent and the inspiration to this apostle for good. Little would have been accomplished, however, without the light of his life, Katherine, lovingly called Kay, his wife of 57 years. If we Winnipeggers have benefited from the zeal of this dedicated citizen, our gratitude must go to this gracious lady who gave her loving "fiat" to all Joe dared to do for God and county. Judith and Joanne, the girls Joe and Kay love so dearly, also heartily approved.

May I end on a personal note? When news reached the marketplace that Joe Stangl was retiring from business at the age of 49 so that he could so something wonderful for God, the late Rod McIsaac, K.S.S. called me. "Let's take Joe Stangl to lunch." Joe was properly lunched and when lunch was over, Joe was the new Treasurer of St Paul's High Schools and Director of Development - as a dollar-a-year man. St Paul's High School is only one of the jewels in the author's crown. The Public and Independent Schools of Manitoba and every good cause this Knight, in whom there is no guile, has championed is God's gift to Winnipeg, Manitoba and to Canada.

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