community mourns board member, former student|
|EXPLOSION AT LAURENTIANS HOME|
64, oversaw scholarship program|
4 September 2007
the McGill University community were devastated to learn yesterday
that the victim of a weekend explosion in the Laurentians was James
Wright, a prominent governor emeritus of the university's board and
ac¬tive participant in campus and community affairs.|
64, a former Westmount city councillor, served on the McGill board
of governors and various university committees from 1997 to 2006 and
was named governor emeritus in January.
He died Saturday
afternoon in a powerful blast at his family's vacation home in
Entrelacs,100 kilometres northwest of Montreal.
student, Meriem Maza, 33, who became friends
with the Wright
family while studying at McGill on a scholarship from the Sauvé
Scholars Foundation, which Wright directed, was also
Maza, who spent the past year studying science
communication in Britain on a scholarship, ar¬rived in Montreal on
Friday for a conference and was spending the weekend with the
Wrights, with whom she had lived during her studies at McGill in
Wright's wife', Nancy, is in Sacré Coeur Hospital
and is expected to recover from her injuries. She is also well-known
in Westmount and the city's volunteer community. Her late father,
Peter McEntyre, was a mayor of Westmount.
Police say the
blast could be linked to a propane leak. Several intact propane
tanks were found on the property.
"The lake residence was the
heart of the family," said Wright's sister Mary Wemp.
Students from the Sauvé scholarship program which Wright
oversaw, brings scholars from around the world to McGill for a
year of study were also frequent visitors.
them was Sarah Meyer, 26, a Sauvé scholar from Australia who spent a
lot of time as visitor at both the lake and Westmount homes of the
Wrights during the past year attending home-cooked dinners, pumpkin
carvings and the many other events the couple organized for
"The extent to which he opened his home and his
family to us is unbelievable," Meyer said.
Trained as a real
estate lawyer, Wright left the firm of Martineau Walker (now Fasken
Martineau) in 1999 to devote himself to community work.
became involved in EPOC, a non-profit organization that helps
unemployed young people acquire work skills and jobs and in 2009 was
appointed director of the Sauvé program.
From 1991 to 1999,
he served two terms as city councillor in Westmount and continued to
be involved in municipal affairs.
'Any of the things we
needed him for, he always made himself available and pitched in and
helped - whether it was walking around with a picket sign or
advising us legally on what we were or weren't allowed to do," said
Westmount Mayor Karin Marks, who served alongside Wright as
Born Nov. 5,1942, in Vancouver, Wright graduated
from McGill University in 1966 with a bachelor of arts degree and
went on to earn a law degree from Université Laval.
Nancy, a childhood friend of his sister's, in 1975.
survived by his three children, David, 29, Kathleen, 27, and
Melanie, 24; his brother George, 63, and sister Mary,
Meriem Maza's uncles Lazhar and Lamri Cheriet, who live
in Montreal and Sherbrooke, respectively, said yesterday the
permanent Canadian resident, regarded Wright as her second
The uncles were still waiting yesterday for the coroner
to release her body so they could accompany it back to Setif,
Maza is survived by her parents, sister Ines,
brother Mourad, a niece and nephew and six other uncles and
|James Wright, a
McGill University governor emeritus, and his wife were having friend
Meriem Maza (down) over for the weekend.|
Editor : Heinz Koch
Tel.: (450) 228-3828