Dr. John M. (Jack) Nesbitt, the youngest son of John and Ida Nesbitt, was born in Shoal Lake, MB in 1925 and received his education there. His interest in the dairy industry began at an early age with his involvement in the family operated creameries in Shoal Lake, Rossburn and Russell.
Following service during WW II, he continued his education, obtaining a B.S.A. from the University of Manitoba in 1947, a M. Sc. from Ohio State University in 1949 and a Ph. D. in Dairy Science from Penn State University in 1952.
In 1949 Jack married Rea Willoughby of Regina and they raised a family of four, Anne, Kathie, John and Gordon.
Dr. Nesbitt was head of the Dept. of Dairy Science at the University of Manitoba from 1953 – 1966. This began a long and distinguished teaching career. Teaching both degree and diploma classes, he instituted courses involving hands-on training in human relations, debating, public speaking, personal development, logic and problem solving.
He was also recognized as having fostered technological innovation in the dairy processing industry in Manitoba, earning an international reputation as a dairy scientist in the process. He served as a member of Manitoba’s Milk Control Board from 1959 to 1970.
In 1977, until 1988, Dr. Nesbitt returned to the University of Manitoba as Associate Director, and later, as Director of the School of Agriculture (Diploma Course).
In the early ’60’s, Jack served on a commission charged with advising on how to achieve greater harmony and unity of purpose in Manitoba’s farm policy movement. This work led to the formation of the Manitoba Farm Bureau in 1965. Later Jack was similarly instrumental in the formation of the Keystone Agricultural Producers Inc. (KAP) in 1984.
During the ’60’s and ’70’s Jack was an educational consultant, specializing in the teaching of communications, leadership, personal and community development skills. He shared his skills with 4H members, Manitoba Women’s Institute members and others through youth leadership programs and Teen Camps at Camp Wannakumbac. This further fostered the development of community leaders throughout Manitoba, rallying support for rural causes and the general betterment of the rural way of life. His legacy of leadership continues.
His community service included the University of Manitoba Senate, president of the Manitoba Institute of Agrologists, president of the University of Manitoba Alumni Association, member of the Rural Leadership Training Committee and various roles in Fort Garry United Church.