Memorable Manitobans: Jacob Walter “Wally” Byron (1894-1971)
Born at Winnipeg on 2 September 1894, son of Bjorn Byron (c1849-1930) and Margaret Byron (1856-1941), he grew up in Selkirk and moved with his family to Winnipeg around 1911. He worked as a clerk (1912) and accountant (1916) for the Continental Oil Company and, during this period he joined the Winnipeg Falcons hockey club. In 1916, he enlisted in the 223rd Overseas Battalion and saw combat in Europe.
Following the First World War, he reunited with his friends and their re-established Winnipeg Falcons. As the team’s primary goalkeeper, he backstopped the team to the Allan Cup (1920). In the second game of the best-of-two total goals scored contest, he took a puck near the eye, knocking him out and requiring several stitches. His role in net was filled by W. B. Elliott for the remainder of the game. He accompanied the team to the 1920 Olympic Games at Antwerp, Belgium and resumed his goalkeeper role, posting two shutouts in three matches, with the lone goal against the Falcons in the final game purportedly being an intentional allowance. He continued with the team through the 1922-1923 season, served as team captain (1923), and retained goalkeeping duties for the combined Tiger-Falcons team in the 1924-1925 season. He would later be inducted into the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame.
In the early 1920s, he lived at 638 Alverstone Street and worked for North Star Oil and Refrigeration as a clerk (1920) and salesman (1922). In 1925, he relocated to the company’s operation at Prince Albert, Saskatchewan before moving back to Manitoba and settling at Brandon in 1939. He worked for the Anglo Canadian Oil Company for 25 years before retiring in 1964 and returning to Winnipeg, where he took up residence at 1806 Portage Avenue. While working at Prince Albert, he traveled back to Winnipeg to play goalie for the Eatons hockey team in the Big Four Commercial Hockey League (1928) and the Cardinals with the Winnipeg and District Intermediate Hockey League (1928-1929).
On 21 October 1924, he married Inga Jakobina Thorbergson (1902-1989) at Winnipeg, with whom he had two children: Robert W. “Bob” Byron (b 1928) and Beverly Bryon (b 1930, wife of J. A. Doyle). Outside of hockey, he bowled competitively in the Commercial League’s North Star Oil bowling team (1923), was President of the Brandon Ten-Pin League (1942), and played intermediate team baseball with several other members of the Falcons.
1901, 1906, and 1916 Canada censes, Library and Archives of Canada.
Attestation papers, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Library and Archives Canada.
Birth, marriage, and death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Wally Byron hits Maples for 279,” Manitoba Free Press, 15 March 1923, page 10.
“Tiger-Falcons score fourth straight hockey victory,” Manitoba Free Press, 13 January 1925, page 17.
“Eaton’s meets C.N.R. in Big Four game tonight,” Manitoba Free Press, 7 January 1928, page 23.
“Four-cornered tie established in Big Four Hockey League,” Manitoba Free Press, 18 December 1928, page 22.
Birth notice [Beverly Byron], Manitoba Free Press, 24 Feb 1930, page 17.
Death notice [Bjorn Byron], Manitoba Free Press, 12 April 1930, page 41.
“Mrs. Bjorn Byron Dies Wednesday,” Winnipeg Free Press, 2 January 1941, page 2.
“Chris Heise elected,” Winnipeg Free Press, 6 May 1943, page 14.
“It strikes me,” Winnipeg Free Press, 26 February 1944, page 17.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 23 December 1971, page 24.
“Fleet Falcons’ feats live on,” Winnipeg Free Press, 25 March 1980, page 49.
Obituary [Inga Byron], Winnipeg Free Press, 29 October 1989, page 26.
When Falcons Fly by David Square, 2007.
Wally Byron, Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame.
Henderson’s Winnipeg & Brandon Directories, Peel’s Prairie Provinces, University of Alberta Libraries.
This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.
Page revised: 17 November 2014
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