Gerald Ackerman

Obituary of Gerald Edward Ackerman

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GERALD EDWARD ACKERMAN   Dec. 19, 1931-Dec. 24, 2023

Born in mid-December, Jerry was a Sagittarian.  His sign:  A centaur shooting for the stars, seeking truth and wisdom.  A fire sign, signifying one who is intelligent, visionary, artistic, and philosophical.  Also self-driven, resilient, ambitious, and passionate, with a strong desire for autonomy.  There is much about this description that sounds like my husband.    

Jerry grew up with two older brothers on Fifth Depot Lake in eastern Ontario –- in the back of beyond, where “the rocks came up to the first rail of the cedar fence”.  From a one-room school he went on to graduate with a BS from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, to receive a Ph.D. from Purdue University in Indiana, and to become an Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg.  

An entrepreneur at heart, he thrived on the challenge of new projects, including a prairie farm in Manitoba and a plantation in Curacao.  Beginning in the late 1970s, he began spending his summers in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, where he built the Annapolis Royal Inn and helped develop the Delaps Cove Campground, Good Cheer Restaurant, and Garden Path Restaurant.  

 In the 1960s, he initiated Thresher Consultants, an investment company he ran until 2021.  To help investers learn to do their own investing, he gave innumerable public seminars and co-authored a best-seller, “Start With A $1000”.  Some of his favourite memories are of sitting around the kitchen tables of prairie farmers, helped them assess and improve their business practices.

As a practicing Quaker, he was drawn to progressive causes, including the Green Party and the NDP, and wrote numerous “letters to the editor” and treatises on financial policy, proportional representation, and sustainability.   His motto: “If not me, then who?  If not now, then when?”  

For many years he was an active member of COMER, a group dedicated to public banking, and in 2006 ran for Parliament as a member of the Canadian Action Party.   During the Vietnam War, his Winnipeg home was known as an oasis for US war resistors.  Delighting in making fun of the Establishment, he chaired the Winnipeg Campaign for the Rhinoceros Party, with Al Simmons as candidate.

He loved to grow food, the sowing and the hoeing as well as the reaping.  He eagerly planted corn, squash, and beans, and looked forward to his annual harvest of grapes, cherries, apples, and black currants.  He loved playing golf and was always open to a game of pool, bridge, Scrabble, and cribbage.  

He had a passion for folk and fiddle music, was on the dance floor for every tune, and attended the first twenty-five years of the Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival.  His journals are filled with his poetry, his favourite way to reflect on what he was experiencing.

Jerry was easily recognized because of the long pony tail he started growing in the early 70s, sometimes causing him to be mistaken for Willie Nelson.  He liked big cars and for many years drove an old monster Chrysler, until persuaded to buy a Toyota Avalon.  

He had five children with his first wife, Caroline Clardy.  In 1989, he married Eleanor Macklin and took early retirement from UM to move east.  In 2004, they built a retirement cottage on the lake where he grew up.  Since then, they have spent winters in Ontario and summers in Nova Scotia.  He is survived by both his wives, his five children (Ed, Joe, Rain, Sunshine, and Steven), 10 grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren, most of them living in Winnipeg or BC.  For 40 years, he managed to entice much of this big family to join him at Chico Hot Springs in Montana, to help celebrate his pre-Christmas birthday.  

A long-term supporter of Indigenous causes, Jerry contributed significantly to Indspire, an organization that has awarded over $27.5 million to First Nation, Inuit, and Metis students through bursaries and scholarships for post-high school education.  Persons interested in supporting this work can do so by emailing  or calling 1-855-463-7747.


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