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Memorable Manitobans: William Harold Hunt (1884-1976)

Civil engineer.

Born at Lennoxville, Quebec on 24 November 1884, son of William Francis Hunt and Catherine Maria Ives, his early education was at Lennoxville. Of Irish extraction, his grandfather the Reverend Francis Hunt was a pioneer Methodist minister and one of the first in Quebec province, being ordained in 1842, and his father W. F. Hunt was an agent for the New York Life Association Company at Lennoxville who came to Winnipeg in 1900 as District Agent for the company.

He attended Wesley College, paying for his education by working on survey parties of the Hudson Bay Railway, and was in the first graduating class in Civil Engineering from the University of Manitoba. He served an apprenticeship with the Northern Iron Works of Manitoba, American Locomotive Works at Montreal, and two years with the Canadian Pacific Railway. He was Assistant Engineer with the Canadian Northern Railway (Bridge Department) and Assistant Engineer of the City of Moose Jaw for three years before, in 1916, being appointed to the position of District Engineer with the Good Roads Board of Manitoba. He moved to Selkirk in 1920 where he served as President of the Selkirk Board of Trade (1925). In 1940, he enlisted in the Canadian military, first with the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, then transferring to the Royal Canadian Engineers and serving at Petawawa, Dundurn, Chilliwack, and Wainwright. He was a supervising engineer for construction of the Trans-Canada Highway in Saskatchewan as of 1950, afterward returning to Winnipeg to work in private consulting.

He and wife Minnie Pearl Taylor (1886-1980) had four children: Katherine “Kay” Hunt (?-?, wife of A. G. Scott), Douglas William Hunt (?-1983), Margaret A. Hunt (wife of John R. Carter), and John David De Vere Hunt (1929-2015). He was a member of the Engineering Institute of Canada, Association of Professional Engineers of Manitoba, Manitoba Historical Society, Manitoba Archaeological Society, United Empire Loyalists, Royal Canadian Legion, Masons (Prince Rupert Lodge), Alumni Association of the University of Manitoba, and Riverview United Church.

He died at the St. Boniface Hospital on 24 January 1976 and was buried in the Elmwood Cemetery. He is commemorated by Hunt Lake in the Whiteshell Provincial Park.

See also:

The Hudson Bay Railway Survey, 1910-1911: A Memoir by W. H. Hunt (Part 1)
Manitoba History, Number 37, Spring / Summer 1999

The Hudson Bay Railway Survey, 1910-1911: A Memoir by W. H. Hunt (Part 2)
Manitoba History, Number 38, Autumn / Winter 1999-2000

Sources:

Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 26 January 1976, page 32.

Obituary [M. Pearl Hunt], Winnipeg Free Press, 29 April 1980, page 48.

Obituary [Douglas William Hunt], Winnipeg Free Press, 19 November 1983, page 62.

Obituary [John David De Vere Hunt], Winnipeg Free Press, 11 July 2015.

We thank Margaret Carter for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 9 July 2017

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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