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Memorable Manitobans: Hewitt Laird Hornbeck (1921-2010)


Born on the family farm near Balmoral, Manitoba on 13 May 1921, one of five children born to John Laird Hornbeck and Madeline Edith Morton, he obtained an elementary education at Balmoral then moved to Winnipeg where he graduated from Gordon Bell High School. In August 1939 he enlisted with the RCAF and served in England until the end of the Second World War. He then attended the University of Toronto where he obtained a doctorate in optometry. He returned to Manitoba and completed his internship in Brandon, in 1950. He set up the first optometric practice in the Swan River Valley.

He served on Swan River Town Council as Deputy Mayor under George Scalf, working to bring electricity and waterworks to the town. He served on the School Board, Hospital Board, Library Board, Museum Board, and Northwest Roundup Board. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge, Rotary Club, Swan Valley Historical Society, Band Booster Club, and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. He also instructed Air Cadets and was one of the founding members of the Swan Valley Flying Club. An ardent naturalist, he set up hundreds of blue bird boxes in the Swan River Valley and was instrumental in developing the Duck Mountain Forestry Centre.

He died at Swan River, Manitoba on 16 January 2010.


Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 23 January 2010.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 24 January 2010

Memorable Manitobans

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