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Shirley Richardson, Winnipeg philanthropist, has died at 98

Shirley Richardson poses with a butterfly at Assiniboine Park in an undated image. Richardson died at the age of 98 on March 11, 2023. (source: Facebook - Assiniboine Park & Zoo) Shirley Richardson poses with a butterfly at Assiniboine Park in an undated image. Richardson died at the age of 98 on March 11, 2023. (source: Facebook - Assiniboine Park & Zoo)
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One of Winnipeg’s best-known philanthropists is being remembered for her generosity to Assiniboine Park.

Shirley Richardson passed away on March 11, 2023, at the age of 98, according to an obituary posted on Dignity Memorial.

The Assiniboine Park Conservancy posted a remembrance online, calling her “an exceptional and dedicated community builder,” and noting the park was a meaningful place for her family.

“Shirley was an exceptional community supporter and builder, and right up until the end, she really, you know, lived her life with a full embrace of passion and love for nature,” said Bruce Keats, chief operating officer with Assiniboine Park Conservancy

Richardson had a special affinity for butterflies, with the conservancy opening a butterfly garden with her name in 2011.

“She would often just show up and watch both young and old, and their interactions with the butterflies and how she got such joy out of seeing folks up close and with nature and certainly with some of these exotic butterflies that she loved so dear,” Keats said.

The Shirley Richardson Butterfly Garden is now located inside The Leaf, and Keats said Richardson was able to see it in person in December.

Richardson was also known for helping launch the ParkShare Endowment Fund in 2016. The fund, administered by the Winnipeg Foundation, helps subsidize admission, programming and transportation costs for children, youth and senior groups at the park.

“She had a great love to make sure that everybody had the access to come to the park and be a part of what Assiniboine Park Conservancy offers,” Keats said.

Richardson received the Order of Manitoba in 2022, and was also the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.

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