Memorable Manitobans: Orson F. Wright (1903-1973)
Lawyer, municipal official.
Born at Dayton, Ohio on 18 May 1903, he moved to Alberta at an early age where he attended public and high school. He taught school for two years before the University of Alberta Law School in 1922. He graduated in 1926 and articled with the Edmonton firm of Abbot and McLaughlin. He arrived in Manitoba in early 1928, where he took employment with the Dominion Construction Company which was in the process of building a railroad to Flin Flon. He later moved with the company when it constructed a branch line to Sherridon. He worked for a period in Churchill for the firm of Carter, Halls, Aldinger which was building a grain terminal there.
In November 1931, he was called to the Manitoba Bar and he established a law firm in Flin Flon. He was made a King’s Counsel in 1942. He married Mary Arlene “Mollie” Grant (1904-1968) and they had two children: Grant Wright and Joy-Anne Wright. His wife studied law while working as a secretary in his firm and was admitted to the Bar in 1948, the firm becoming Wright, Ferg and Wright. He became involved in municipal politics on his arrival in Flin Flon, serving as Secretary of the local Liberal Association, six year on the school board, a member of the Elks and of the Board of Trade. He served three terms as Mayor of Flin Flon, succeeding Peter McSheffrey, and being replaced in Cyril Steventon in 1944. He ran unsuccessfully as a Liberal candidate in an August 1943 provincial by-election. He served as a Bencher for the Law Society of Manitoba from 1965 to 1968.
In 1933, he was appointed as a local magistrate and, from 1936 to 1943, as a police magistrate for the provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. In 1942, he became district coroner. After the Second World War, he dabbled in real estate. In 1959, he purchased The Pas Northern Mail newspaper. Later incorporated as the Northern Publishing Company, with Wright as President, it published the Nickel Belt News and The Pas Herald.
In his later years, he wintered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where he died in 1973.
“New Year’s honors,” Winnipeg Free Press, 1 January 1942, page 4.
Obituary [Mary Arlene Wright], Winnipeg Free Press, 7 December 1968.
V. Hedman, L. Yauck and J. Henderson. Flin Flon. Flin Flon Historical Society, 1974. [Manitoba Legislative Library]
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 4 May 2020
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