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Laura Belle Beltz Hagberg Wright
22 Feb 1996 | Haycock, AK
World-famous parka maker Laura Belle Beltz Hagberg Wright designed and patented Laura Wright Alaska Parkys, an original winter parka that won numerous awards including Best Costume in a Miss Universe Pageant. Her parkas also caught the eyes of several celebrities. Notable clients included Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson, Ricky Nelson, Shirley Jones, and Burl Ives.
Born in Candle, Alaska Wright later moved to Haycock. In 1926 she married John Albert Hagberg. The couple lived a busy, happy life, operating a gold mine and raising their six children, eventually moving to Fairbanks so the children could attend high school.
After John A. Hagberg died in 1948, she married Dallas A. Wright in 1951. In 1971, they moved to Anchorage to open their downtown parka shop. Dallas Wright died in 1981.
As a member of the World War II Tundra Army in Alaska's Territorial Guard, Wright proved to be a sharp shooter: During a training drill she hit the bull's-eye 49 out of 50 times. She also delivered the U.S. mail by dog team, delivered babies, conducted funerals, and was involved in community activities.
The Alaska Federation of Natives named her "Most Outstanding Living Eskimo," and she was listed in Who's Who of American Women in 1967. She also was nominated for the Alaska Mother of the Year award in 1968. Wright was described by a family friend, the Rev. William Warren, as living a life that was "more unbelievable than a novel," "She had a compassion for placing others' needs before her own," her family said. "Her cheerful heart and home were always open. She was an inspiration to all who knew her."
She died on 22 February 1996 in Anchorage, Alaska.