James WRIGHT

Obituary
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WRIGHT, James William
October 31, 1922 - January 31, 2014
After 91 years of a full and rich life, our Husband, Dad, Grandpa and Great-Grandpa passed peacefully on January 31, 2014 at the Victoria General Hospital in Victoria, BC. His wife, Marge; daughter, Lorraine (Calgary); son, Bob and daughter-in-law, Carol (Victoria) were by his side. He will be lovingly missed by grandsons, Doran (Erin) of Victoria, Ryan (Liz) of Amherst, Massachusetts; granddaughter, Marcy (Kenny) of Wellington, Colorado and beloved great-grandchildren, Spencer, Gavin, Avery and Charlie. He took every opportunity to boast about the accomplishments of his children and grandchildren. Jim will also be fondly remembered by his cousin and friend, Harold (Renee) Wright of Qualicum Beach, BC; his sister-in-law, Dorothy Schollar of Toronto; nieces, Pat (Peter) Reed of Ottawa and Sharon Schollar of Toronto. He was predeceased by his wife of 58 years, Hazel; his brother, Ray Wright of Toronto and his brother-in-law, Jim Schollar of Toronto. Jim began his life in the small town of Kenora, Ontario on October 31, 1922. His parents, Robert and Gertrude moved the family to Winnipeg, Manitoba where Jim and his younger brother, Ray were raised. It was during his school years that Jim developed a fascination with racehorses preferring on some days to visit horses at the old Polo Park racetrack rather than attend school. Before launching his business career, he met and married Hazel Schollar. Jim served in the Canadian Navy during World War II stationed in Esquimalt, Comox, and Prince Rupert, BC. At the end of the war, Jim and Hazel returned to Winnipeg and launched their first business, Wright's Meat Market, the first self-serve market in Winnipeg. During this time Jim and Hazel bought their first race-horse, Paul Welsh. It was the beginning of a lifelong love of horse breeding and racing culminating with his induction into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1983. He was also awarded the Sovereign Award as Man of the Year by the Jockey Club of Canada. At the time it was stated that few individuals in Canada have had such a successful career in the horse racing industry. Jim's association with horse racing spanned five decades. In 1954 Jim and Hazel moved their family to Calgary, AB where they launched Pinecrest Foods. It became one of the largest poultry raising and processing operations in Canada. In 1974, Jim and Hazel returned to Winnipeg to fulfill a dream of owning their own racetrack. For the next 20 years, they owned and operated Assiniboia Downs racetrack and Elmingo Stables. When most people are thinking of retirement, Jim and Hazel worked every day to promote horse racing and pass along their love of the sport. Although it is called The Sport of Kings, they treated everyone from stable hands to company presidents with equal respect. Jim was never afraid of hard work and his work ethic has left an enduring mark on us all. Jim believed you should give back to the community. He served as President of both the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club. He also sat on many non-profit boards. Jim loved Winnipeg! He also enjoyed spending time at his cottage on Willow Island, Gimli, MB. Upon their retirement, Jim and Hazel travelled back and forth between Winnipeg and Phoenix until residing in Calgary. Jim was an amazing caregiver to Hazel during the last five years of her life. Following three years of single life, he was blessed to find a fun-loving and nurturing wife, Marge, to share the next 12 years. After marrying in Gimli, MB in 2002, they settled in Phoenix for ten years. Jim loved his years in Phoenix plus all the fun they had with many road trips to Canada, Las Vegas and taking cruises. For the past two years, Jim and Marge made their home together in Victoria, BC. Jim's legacy to our family is his immense good nature, his great wit, his integrity, his quiet faith, his warmth and kindness, his love of horses, fun, laughter, singing, and how to play Black Jack. He loved living BIG! Yes, our dear Jim lived a big life with a big heart and has left a big hole in our hearts. We are grateful to the Beacon Home Care staff and The Victorian at McKenzie staff and residents for their kindness, caring, and thoughtfulness. There will be a private family viewing and a Memorial Service will be held at The Victorian at McKenzie, 4000 Douglas Street, Victoria, BC. At his request, Jim's ashes will be interred in Calgary, AB at a later date. If so desired, memorial donations may be made to the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Condolences may be offered to the family at www.mccallbros.com. McCall's of Victoria, BC. Telephone 1-800-870-4210.

Published in The Calgary Herald on Feb. 4, 2014
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