Memorable Manitobans: Norman Waldron “Wally” Fox-Decent (1937-2019)
Political scientist, labour mediator.
Born at Winnipeg on 22 July 1937, son of Eric Henry Fox-Decent (1905-1994) and Frances Done (1905-1992), he attended General Wolfe School and Daniel McIntyre Collegiate. He then enrolled in United College where he received the Lieutenant Governor’s Gold Medal for Academic Excellence. In 1962, he became a political scientist at the University of Manitoba, teaching there for 33 years and receiving the university-wide teaching award twice. He also spent 42 years in the Naval Reserves, enrolling in 1954 in HMCS Chippewa and rising to the rank of Rear Admiral. He became Chief of Reserves and Cadets in 1987 and the first Canadian to be Chair of the NATO Chief of Reserves Committee in 1988. As a labour mediator and arbitrator, he settled more than 120 public and private sector labour disputes, leading him to the positions of Chief Executive Officer and Chair of the Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba from 1992 to 2005. He also chaired several other public boards and task forces, including ones on the Meech Lake Accord and the Charlottetown Agreement, the Labour Management Review Committee, and the United Way. In recognition of his community service, he was inducted into the Order of Canada (1998) and Order of Manitoba (2003), Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal (2002) and Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012). On 8 September 1962, he married Beverley Joan Speed (1936-2014) and they had two sons. He died at his home in Montreal, Quebec on 5 September 2019.
“Beverley Speed honored at events,” Winnipeg Tribune, 7 September 1962, page 19.
Obituary [Frances Fox-Decent], Winnipeg Free Press, 13 April 1992, page 20.
Obituary [Eric Henry Fox-Decent], Winnipeg Free Press, 23 February 1994, page 27.
Obituary [Beverley Joan Fox-Decent], Winnipeg Free Press, 11 August 2014, page 26.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 10 September 2019
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