Clare Geddes was born on April 10, 1919 and grew up in the town of Pilot Mound, Manitoba. Dorothy McTaggart was born on September 3, 1924. Clare spent five years in the R.C.A.F. during WW II. He returned home to farm and married Dorothy on June 26, 1947. They raised a family of one daughter and four sons.
After reading about Charolais cattle, Clare went to Texas to see this breed, purchasing ten females and one bull. In 1958 these animals were the first Charolais in Manitoba. Clare was president of the Canadian Charolais Association 1964-65, at which time the Import Program for Canada was implemented. He and Dorothy travelled to France to study the Great White Breed in its native habitat.
Clare and the Canadian Charolais Association pressed the government to establish a quarantine station to guard against foot and mouth disease and to allow the importation of French Charolais into Canada. The Grosse Isle facilities enabled European breeds to enter Canada. Clare was a founding director of the Beef Cattle Performance Test Station at Douglas, Manitoba. He proved the efficiency of Charolais when some of his bulls exceeded five pounds of gain per day of age. He exported bulls all over North America and to Great Britain. The efforts of Clare, Dorothy and other breeders have made the Charolais the top crossbreeding cattle and have increased the efficiency of beef production in Canada.
Clare served as president of the provincial and national Charolais organizations. He has been honoured in many countries and attended conferences in Europe, South America, Mexico and across Canada and the U.S.A. He organized an innovative sale of Charolais held in the Grand Ballroom of the Winnipeg Inn. Dignitaries attended in tuxedos and buyers came from all over North America.
The success of the Geddes Char-O-Clare purebred cattle operation was not Clare’s alone. While he travelled extensively, Dorothy kept records of registration and was active in their community. She taught Sunday School in the United Church for twenty-seven years and was active on other committees. Clare and Dorothy were involved with the Museum, Foresters Lodge, the Horticultural Society, Meals on Wheels and Care Home visiting. They were leaders in developing the Senior Citizens Home, an office complex and the Christian Education Building. Dorothy was involved in the Charolais Women’s Auxiliary. She met every challenge with a positive attitude and her life is one of service to family and community.
In 1983 the Geddes were named Mr. and Mrs. Manitoba Farmer and have received the Conservation Award. The contributions of Clare, Dorothy and family are a tribute to all rural life in Canada.