Memorable Manitobans: Eric William Thrift (1912-1995)
Born at Winnipeg on 23 August 1912, son of William David Thrift (1888-1969) and Amy Evelyn Daw (1891-1937), he studied Architecture at the University of Manitoba, graduating in 1935. He then went to Cambridge, Massachusetts where he studied Architecture and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, receiving a Masters degree in 1938.
He returned to Manitoba, taught at the University of Manitoba and advised the provincial government on planning, producing in 1944 a report for the Post-War Reconstruction Committee. From 1944 to 1950, he was Director of the Metropolitan Planning Commission. He served as President of the Manitoba Association of Architects (1949-1950) and led a team in the 1950s that planned the new city of Thompson. In 1958, he prepared a master plan for development of the Fort Garry Campus of the University of Manitoba.
In 1960, he was appointed General Manager of the National Capital Commission based at Ottawa, Ontario, serving until 1970 when he became the campus planner for Queen's University. He also taught metropolitan planning and community design at the university. He helped to found the Community Planning Association of Canada in 1946 and its Manitoba chapter in 1947, and was active in the American Society of Planning Officials. In recognition of his contributions to the field of planning, he was inducted into the Order of the Buffalo Hunt (1960) and he received a Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal (1977).
On 22 August 1941, he married Melba Maude Belyea (1910-1987) at Winnipeg and they had a daughter and three sons.
He died at Kingston, Ontario on 12 February 1995.
Marriage registration [William David Thrift, Amy Evelyn Dau], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Birth registration [Eric Wilhelm Thrift], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Marriage registration [Eric William Thrift, Melba Maude Belyea], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Obituary [William David Thrift], Winnipeg Free Press, 30 December 1969, page 23.
Obituary [Melba Maude Thrift], Winnipeg Free Press, 20 January 1987, page 45.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 14 February 1995, page 31.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 15 May 2022