Former judge Seabright dead at 79

Rosie Mullaley
Published on May 15, 2013
Gordon Seabright

Hours after Gordon Wilburn Seabright's death Tuesday morning, the tributes poured in.

Judges, lawyers, politicians and community members all praised the man, whom they called unforgettable.

The 79-year-old was remembered as a respected judge, a dedicated and hard-working volunteer, and a pleasant person.

"I'm really sad to hear of his death," longtime St. John's defence lawyer John Kelly said.

"Gordon had an inane sense of fairness. He treated both counsel and the accused with respect.

"He made a significant contribution to jurisprudence in this province."

Seabright was called to the bar June 26, 1961, and practised as a lawyer for several years before being appointed magistrate in 1964.

Following his retirement from the bench in 1989, he returned to practising law in Mount Pearl.

With his recognizable, reverberating voice, Seabright was widely known for his friendliness and sense of humour inside and outside the courtroom.

"Those of us in legal circles remember Judge Seabright as a colourful and spirited public servant who enriched the community and the lives of those around him," provincial court Chief Judge Mark Pike said.

"On behalf of the staff and judges of the provincial court, I extend our sincerest condolences to his family."

Throughout his long career in law and public service, Seabright was active in numerous community events and functions, and served a number of charitable causes.

He was heavily involved with Newfoundland Capital Corp. and its foundations for the past 20 years, as well as the Shriners and other organizations.

On VOCM's website, Harry Steele of Newfoundland Capital Corp., Steele Communications' parent company, said Seabright had boundless energy and did a lot of good things.

Seabright was chairman of the provincial government's Multi-Materials Stewardship Board and chairman of a committee that headed a campaign, Marching Home, to rebuild the Church Lads Brigade's Armoury after it was destroyed by fire in 1992.

He will especially be remembered for his volunteer work and contributions to the city of Mount Pearl, where he lived.

Seabright was chairman of the first Mount Pearl Frosty Festival in 1983, a position he held for the next 10 years. He also chaired the 1988 Newfoundland and Labrador Summer Games in Mount Pearl; and, in 2007, he was appointed by city council to chair a special committee to commemorate and recognize Sir James Pearl, Mount Pearl's founder.

In honour of his contributions to the city, in 2005, Mount Pearl named a street after him - Seabright Place in Kenmount Park.

"It is with great sadness we learned of the passing of Gordon Seabright," Mount Pearl Mayor Randy Simms said.

"On behalf of my colleagues on council and the entire community of Mount Pearl, I pass along our deepest condolences to his family and friends.

"Gordon's contributions to many community groups and charitable organizations will never be forgotten."

Seabright leaves to mourn his wife Madeline, son Glenn, daughter-in-law Nola and grandson Robert.

He's resting at Barrett's Funeral Home, 73 Commonwealth Ave., Mount Pearl, with visitations from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. today and Thursday.

The funeral is scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday at the First United Church on Park Avenue in Mount Pearl. Twitter: @TelyCourt