Lawlor, Thomas Wilson

Regimental Number: 911294; 10749-L-8
Rank: Private
Branch: 196th Battalion; Canadian Machine Gun Corps; Royal Air Force

Thomas Wilson Lawlor was born on August 27, 1890 in Killarney, Manitoba. He attended the University of Manitoba, and later studied law at the University of Alberta. In March of 1916 his studies were interrupted by his decision to sign up for the war. Thomas joined the 196th University Battalion and served with the Canadian Machine Gun Corps in France and later the Royal Air Force in Egypt.

Returning to Edmonton after the War, he completed his law degree in 1920, and set up the first law practice in Spirit River. On May 2, 1921, Thomas married Sarah Clementine McCrimmon. In 1924 the family left Spirit River to start a practice with J.H. Sissons in Grande Prairie. The Lawlor homestead was located at 33-72-3-W6.

Thomas was very community minded – he was a part of at least eight different community groups and became Mayor of Grande Prairie in 1939. World War II had an impact while he was in office; a Basic Training Base was established at the south end of town, improvements to the airport took place and an American Army Base was also established as part of the Northwest Staging Route which ferried planes to Russia. It was also during Lawlor’s term of office that the town’s library became a public library.

The Lawlors had three daughters: Flora, Enid and Agnes. Thomas died on May 30, 1959 at the age of 68.

Sources: Chepi Sepe p. 611; HT June 2, 5, 26 1959

*see our “Family Names in Newspaper Articles” database for clippings about Thomas’s career in the 1930s-1940s.