Frederick James Coutts was born in
Winnipeg on July 12, 1907. He was the only son of James and Kate Coutts. He
had three sisters, Marjorie Florence, September 22, 1908 - May 14, 1909,
Edna May October 3, 1909 - February 9, 1933, and Elizabeth (Betty) Kate born
December 1, 1915. The family lived at 126 Morley Avenue in the Riverview
district of Winnipeg, and he attended Riverview, Lord Roberts and Kelvin
He later attended the Manitoba Agricultural College, at
the urging of his father, but did not complete the curriculum. He took a
correspondence course in art and became proficient at drawing, particularly
birds and animals. In later years daughter Margaret and son Jim could attest
to his ability since he "helped" complete many school art folios and art
projects, which obtained passing grades.
Fred lived at home during the depression of the 1930's and worked
at Campbell Bros. & Wilson Wholesale Grocers, where his father and
Uncle, Harry Course, were employed.
In the mid 1940's Campbell Bros. & Wilson was sold and Fred's father
retired from the company. Fred obtained employment, through his brother in
law, Alf Ramsay, working at Midwest Storage & Distributing as a
warehouseman. He stayed until he formally retired in 1972, working primarily
on the Benjamin Moore Paint account. He also looked after the "company
store" and continued to do that on a part time basis after retirement
until 1977, when he was 70 years old.
At an early age Fred developed an interest in studying birds and
collecting stamps. Both became lifelong hobbies. As a young man he kept
extensive notes on bird migration and nesting, taking photographs and
recording events. He loved the outdoors and would often take holidays by
himself "birding". He particularly enjoyed his two week holiday in June at
Hillside Beach on Lake Winnipeg for many years.
During WW2 he stopped driving or owning a car and was often
found riding his bicycle to favourite birdwatching places like Oman's Creek
and Brookside Cemetery well into the 1950's. In 1980 he had an eye removed
due to a tumor. He was very accepting of this development and it didn't
deter him from birdwatching
His collection of bird books, photographs and notes were donated to the
Museum of Man and Nature in Winnipeg, for educational purposes. In 1998 the
Museum had a special exhibit honoring the contributions of amateur
ornithologists, including Fred. His 40 years of bird counts (1924 - 1964)
is an important source of birding data in Manitoba especially of the early
Fred died on July 31, 1982 nine months after Lillian passed away.
||Lillian Dunlop Ramsay was born in
Winnipeg September 10, 1908. She was the eldest child of Alfred and Margaret
She was old enough to remember her father going overseas in
World War 1 and of her uncle David Sangster coming to live with the family
while her father was gone. She also remembered her Uncle not returning,
having been killed in action.
When her father returned the family moved to a farm at Glenwood,
Manitoba where she left school after grade 8 in order to help support the
family. She admitted that at the time she felt more fulfilled doing farm
chores than going to school. The family returned to Winnipeg a few years
At the age of 19, Lillian went to Scotland for 6 months to visit
her relatives. The trip resulted in lasting relationships for the rest of her
life and a number of memorable photographs for her future family to enjoy.
She lived at home during the depression and was employed at
Eaton's department store at the rate of $9.00 a week which was essential
income for the family at the time. The impact that the depression had on her
was evident many years later when on numerous occasions she expressed
the wish that her children would never have to go through what her
Bill Sangster, Lillian's first cousin, recalls around 1935
attending an A B & K (Aberdeenshire, Banffshire and Kincardineshire) social
and Lillian introducing him to her beau. Bill remembered that "this guy
could really dance". His name was Fred Coutts.
June 1, 1940 Lillian and Fred were married; they had two children
Margaret Kate born April 17, 1941 and James (Jim) Frederick born July 2,
Lillian and Fred rented the upstairs of a duplex at 36 Evanson
Street, then rented 32 Evanson Street before buying 66 Evanson Street in
1949. In order to supplement income they took in children of managers of the
Hudson's Bay Company Northern Stores throughout the 1950's. This also
enabled the children to get an education as no schools existed where their
parents were posted.
Lillian returned to working at Eaton's department store in the
late 1950's until she formally retired in 1973 at the age of 65. She
continued to work there on a part time basis until the age of 70.
In 1964 Lillian obtained her drivers licence and bought her first
car. It gave her the freedom she had never had before, and together with
Fred they enjoyed many leisurely vacations they hadn't had in years.
Throughout her life she was very proud of her Scottish heritage
and loved her family very much. Friends and family described her as a very
special person; a one of a kind. She began teaching Sunday School when she
was in her late teens and was a regular church goer until she became ill in
late 1980. Lillian died November 3, 1981 after a year long battle with