John G. "Smokey" Ordway Jr., a businessman who had a strong role in a number of Twin Cities civic and educational ventures, died Wednesday at his Wayzata home, his family said Thursday. Ordway was 89.
Although involved with many businesses, Ordway had as his main focus the MacArthur Co. in St. Paul, where he worked for 40 years, including stints as CEO and chairman. He also served on the boards of the 3M Co. and the University of Minnesota Foundation.
Ordway also began a long association with St. Paul's Ordway Center for the Performing Arts when his sister, Sally Ordway Irvine, led the effort to build the theater.
He was one of eight founding owners of the Minnesota North Stars when the team was established in 1967. He also was a founding board member of Minnesota Outward Bound, a commissioner of the Metropolitan Airports Commission and a board member of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.
Ordway is survived by his wife of 65 years, Margaret; two sons, John of Mahtomedi and Phil of Long Lake; a daughter, Strandy Quesada, of South Freeport, Maine; eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Services will be private.