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Memorable Manitobans: Donald Ross Fonger (1923-2006)

Soldier, adventurer, businessman, commercial pilot

Born at Winnipeg on 11 March 1923, he spent his childhood in Saskatoon and Edmonton, having his first experience in a barnstorming airplane at age nine. During the Second World War he served as a tank commander in the Canadian Armored Corps. After the war he studied civil engineering at the University of New Brunswick, graduating first in his class in 1949. Returning to Winnipeg he worked with local contractors before forming his own commercial construction business.

In 1985, he and his sons flew their airplane, the Golden Boy, from the Statue of Liberty to the Eiffel Tower. Then, in 1987 he and son Jim flew 26,000 miles around the world. He chronicled this experience in his book Challenging the Skies. He was active in civic life in Winnipeg, serving as a municipal councilor in Fort Garry, and was president of such organizations as the Fort Garry Lions Club, the Shrine Motor Patrol, and the Rainbow Stage Board. He was a member of the Niakwa Golf and Country Club, and the Manitoba Club.

He died at Winnipeg on 29 June 2006.


Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 4 July 2006.

This page was prepared by Paul Armstrong.

Page revised: 2 October 2016

Memorable Manitobans

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