Laura Belle Beltz Hagberg
World-famous parka maker Laura Belle Beltz Hagberg Wright, 87, died Feb. 22, 1996 in Anchorage.
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, Wright
later moved to Haycock.
In 1926 she marred 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 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."
Source: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner