Clarissa (Chriss) May Joyce Tetlock

(1941-2011)

Chriss Tetlock, a community activist, spearheaded the opening of the North End Women’s Centre.

Clarissa (Chriss) May Joyce Tetlock (nee Spencer) was born on April 28, 1941, in Dauphin. She moved to Winnipeg, married and after 11 years of marriage, and four children, she was divorced and a single mother living in assisted low-income housing.

At the age of 38 she applied to the University of Manitoba for adult education and training, completing her degree in 1985 and making the Dean’s honor list.

The concept of a women’s centre arose from an evening of conversation with Tetlock and two other women discussing the need for services for women and their families in Winnipeg’s North End. By 1984, Tetlock along with help from the advisory committee and agency representatives were able to secure funding a two-year grant through the Winnipeg Core Area Initiative. The North End Women’s Centre (NEWC) officially opened its doors to the public in April of 1985.

Tetlock served as executive director for over 20 years.

In 1994, the centre relocated to its current home at 394 Selkirk Ave. Core funding for NEWC comes from the United Way of Winnipeg and family violence prevention program of the Province of Manitoba, as well as a variety of other funding.

In 2006, NEWC opened a transitional housing facility in the West End of Winnipeg called the Betty Berg House. The Betty Berg House provides safe and affordable short and long term transitional housing for women struggling with issues of mental health, problematic substance use and homelessness.

Dedicated to community development and mobilization, Tetlock partnered with sister organizations to support the development of the mandates of Wahbung Abinoonjiiag, Oyati Tipi Cumini Yape, and North Point Douglas Women’s Centre.

NEWC’s impact on the community has been tremendous with countless women and their families benefiting from the variety of services and training programs.

Tetlock retired from NEWC at the age of 63. During the 20 years as executive director, she sat on numerous boards, was instrumental in developing other resource centres and received several awards for her community service.

Often referred to as the Queen of Selkirk Avenue, Tetlock was well loved and respected in the community for her leadership, vision, generosity and kindness.

In 2012, Chriss Tetlock Place opened its doors in honour of her vision, commitment and dedication to serving women and their families living within the core area of Winnipeg. Chriss Tetlock Place hosts women in supportive transitional housing in a safe and welcoming environment.

Chriss Tetlock died in 2011. Her legacy lives on through the countless number of women and their families that have received support and development opportunities from the North End Women’s Centre.

Image: 

Supplied