Memorable Manitobans: William John O’Connor (1932-2008)
Born at Wainwright, Alberta on 26 May 1932, son of Myrtle and Bill O’Connor, he graduated from the University of Alberta (St. Joseph’s College) with a BSc (Agriculture) degree and from the University of Western Ontario with a Diploma in Business Administration. He was also a Pilot Officer with the Royal Canadian Air Force for three summers while putting himself through university. In 1955, he took a job in Nova Scotia as a feed salesman with the Pioneer Feed Division of Purity Flour Mills. In 1956, he joined the federal government in Ottawa where he worked in the Department of Trade and Commerce. He was then seconded to the Embassy in Bonn, Germany where he worked from 1958 to 1962 facilitating Canada’s agriculture trade interests with that country.
In 1962, he returned with his family to Ottawa, where he worked as an Officer with Industry of Trade and Commerce and then later as the General Director of the Grain Division. In 1981, they moved to Winnipeg where he took the position of Executive Director of the Canadian Grain Commission. He continued to be a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian International Grains Institute (CIGI), where he lectured and led training teams to Saudi Arabia and China. During his career, he worked very closely with the Canadian Wheat Board and private grain firms. He retired in 1992 after over 35 years of public service in the Canadian grain industry.
With wife Teresa Mangione he had four children: Mary Ellen, Anne Louise, Laura Rose, and John David.
He died on 6 February 2008 while vacationing in Mexico.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 9 February 2008.
“Manitobans’ Legacy a Better Province,” Winnipeg Free Press, 4 January 2009, page B2.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 30 March 2016
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