Member Biography

J.H. Webb

John Hooper Webb

SLS (Life Member),
Commission #096
Articled to T.G. Tyrer

In a letter dated November 13th, 1947 to C.D. "Charlie" Brown, DLS & MLS, T.G. "Tommy" Tyrer, SLS (#074) wrote:

"I note you are going on part of the Saskatchewan Manitoba boundary north of The Pas with Mr. E. Gauer, MLS representing Manitoba. I think you will be working with one of my articled pupils, Jack Webb. He is turning out a pretty good lad and seems to be quite interested in this work. This experience will be of special benefit to him especially under your guidance. Any pointers you can give him will be appreciated. Abe Bereskin (SLS #91) speaks very highly of the boy."

These early observations were prophetic in introducing the long and pre-eminent contribution of John Hooper "Jack" Webb to the province, the profession and the land survey associations of Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba.

Jack, who can trace his roots back to 1769 in Wiltshire, England, was born on May 11, 1922 in Winnipeg, Manitoba to Alfred John Webb and Nina Simpson Hooper. He grew up in Grandview, Manitoba. In December of 1940 - at age eighteen - he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and served overseas, and in Canada, until June of 1945 when he was discharged as a wireless air gunner with the rank of Flying Officer.

After the war, he attended Regina College where he completed his grade 12 but not before falling in love with and marrying Dorothy Helen "Dot" Pulfer.

He went on to take classes in Engineering at Carson College at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon while Dot remained in Regina - not Jack's idea of how a young married couple's life should be.

On June 15, 1946, he became articled to T.G. Tyrer, SLS (#074) - who was Chief Surveyor at the time - and received his SLS commission on June 30, 1949. Soon thereafter, he moved to Edmonton to take a position with the survey firm of Phillips, Hamilton and Associates and received ALS commission #149. In 1954 he moved to Saskatoon to join the survey firm of Kent Phillips and Associates and obtained his MLS commission in 1955. In 1957 he went into partnership with another employee of Kent Phillips and Associates, R.A."Al" Webster, SLS (#131), to form the highly successful survey firm of "Webb & Webster". He remained active with the firm for more than forty years.

In 1959, Jack served as president of the SLSA and in the 1970's he became a member of the Board of Examiners at the University of Saskatchewan. In 1982 Jack obtained his commission as a CLS under a special offer that the Surveyor General of Canada made to many provincial land surveyors at that time.

In an article prepared for the October 1991 edition of the "SLSA Newsletter" Jack described the highlights of his career as follows:

  • Every person has memorable highlights throughout their life. My career was one big highlight, as I have always enjoyed my involvement in the profession. Some of the more memorable highlights and thoughts are:
  • Being on the ground floor in the 50's, 60's, and 70's when the west blossomed and required land surveyors to fulfil the needs of the survey industry at that time.
  • Surveying, and being in charge of part of the first right-of-way survey across the Rocky Mountains from Edmonton to Vancouver in 1952-1953. This was the Trans-Mountain Oil Pipe Line.
  • Being involved in many northern surveys; Mid Canada early warning systems across Manitoba, mineral claims by the hundreds, and transmission and control lines in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
  • Being on the ground floor of original surveys such as Creighton, Candle Lake, the Smokey Burn township surveys, and others in Saskatchewan.
  • Surveying the town site of Leaf Rapids in Manitoba, baseline surveys in Alberta, along with tons of right of way surveys.
  • Having the privilege of re-surveying part of the Saskatchewan-Manitoba border in 1968-1969.
  • Having the honour of being one of the Entertainment Chairmen for the International Society of Photogrammetry in 1972, the year the west helped put on a large Bar-B-Q event in Hull, Quebec.
  • Being associated with Eric Coursier, SLS, DLS in Prince Albert and later with Aubrey Reimer, SLS, who took over the Prince Albert office.
  • Being President of the Canadian Institute of Surveying in 1979-1980 and helping to bring the CIS convention to Regina in 1980.
  • Being a part of, and involved with the Saskatoon community through the Lions Club, Church, etc.
  • Having our son. Tom, under articles and starting his own successful career in surveying.
  • Being a Land Surveyor for over forty years with a well-rounded, enjoyable life in surveys, along with a comfortable lifestyle.
  • My major regret; the weeks on end that I was unable to be home and see my family grow up. However, due to Dorothy's tutelage, Rob, Meridee and Tom have become solid citizens.
  • Finally, being fortunate enough to retire at an early age and enjoy life with Dorothy and our children and grandchildren.

In 1982 Jack was elevated to the status of Life Member of the SLSA. However that did not encourage him to "rest on his laurels". If anything, it seems to have heightened his enthusiasm for his professional colleagues and the land survey associations of which he maintains his membership. After retiring from active practice in 1984 he has served on various committees of the SLSA - including the committee that drafted the "Land Surveyors and Professional Surveyors Act" that came into effect in 1997, and the Centennial Projects Committee that is overseeing the preparation of a book documenting the first 100 years of the SLSA.

Jack has also worked tirelessly to document his life experiences - and those of his colleagues in the survey profession - by writing no less than five books and preparing biographies (as of February, 2007) of thirty-four commissioned Saskatchewan Land Surveyors - many of which appeared in the "SLSA Newsletter " and its successor the "SLSA Corners Post", and which form the basis of may of the biographies posted on this web site.

Although there have been more than twice as many commissions granted since Jack's, than there were before, there can be little doubt that "the pretty good lad" that Tommy Tyrer referred to in 1947 has made one of the most significant contributions to the SLSA in its soon-to-be one hundred year history.

By SLSA Staff

(See also biography on Alberta Land Surveyors Association web site.)