Gordon Maxwell Sinclair was born April 6, 1931, at Strathclair, Manitoba, to Samuel and Christene Sinclair. Gordon attended Strathclair Consolidated School and the University of Manitoba. He graduated with a BSA in 1952, winning the Lieutenant Governor’s Gold Medal. In 1958 Gordon married Donalda (Donnie) Manson of Arden. They had two sons Sam and John.
Gordon began farming at Strathclair in 1953. The family’s farming operation grew to 2,880 acres, producing elite seed and special crops. A seed cleaning plant and a feed lot complemented the operation. In 1985, Gordon received a 25 year merit award for his production and promotion of top quality seed. In 1995 he celebrated 40 years as an elite seed grower.
Gordon began his co-operative career in 1954 when he was elected Director of the Strathclair Consumers Co-op. He was also involved in the local credit union and the Strathclair local of Manitoba Pool Elevators. In 1961, Gordon was elected to the Board of Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL). He was elected Winnipeg Region Vice-President in 1964, First Vice-President in 1971 and President in 1974. He served as President of FCL until 1977. As a member of their board of directors, many organizations benefited from Gordon’s leadership: Co-operators Insurance Company, Co-op Trust, Co-operative Superannuation Society, Interprovincial Co-operatives Limited, Co-op Implements Limited, Co-operative Union of Canada, Northland Bank, Co-enerco, Canadian Co-operative Credit Society and Western Co-operative Fertilizers Limited.
In the early 1970’s, Gordon served as a Trustee of the Wasagaming Foundation. His leadership contributed to many improvements in the Riding Mountain Conference Centre and the recreational and leadership programs offered to Manitoba youth. Gordon was a tireless worker for the Flying Farmers organization and was recognized in 1986 by the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association for his outstanding contribution to private flying.
Even though Gordon’s activities took him to positions of leadership in the co-operative movement, he continued to be active in the Agricultural Institute of Canada and in community affairs. He served as a board member and Sunday school teacher at the local United Church and Master of the Strathclair Masonic Lodge. He was also a supporter of the local curling, skating and drama clubs.
He was recognized provincially, nationally and internationally for his outstanding leadership in the co-operative movement. In 1987, he was awarded an Honourary Doctor of Laws by St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia.
Gordon’s contribution to family, community and agriculture was cut short by his death in 1995 as a result of a traffic accident near his farm. In 2003, he was honoured posthumously with a Distinguished Co-operator Award by the Manitoba Co-operative Council.