Frank Arnason

Frank Arnason

page 1 | page 2

home | back to NIHM website
The Book Of Life
Alphabetical Story Index
Taken from the Icelandic Appeal website, circa 2000.
Arnason, Frank & Marie

By Marie Arnason

Although I am not of Icelandic origin, I have lived with and around Icelanders for over fifty years. I guess that makes me an Icelander by association. My husband Frank’s parents, Petra and Guðjón Árnason, were born in Canada and lived all their lives on the farm Espihóll, one mile south of the town of Gimli. Petrína, or Petra, was the daughter of Captain Baldvin “Baldi” Anderson, and his wife Petrína Soffía Árngrímsdóttir who came to New Iceland in 1876 and 1893 respectively. Guðjón was the son of Jóhann Pétur Árnason and Soffía Abrahamsdóttir who immigrated to New Iceland in 1883. Petra and Guðjón raised a wonderful, generous family of seven boys and three girls: Baldi, Joe, Valdi, Ted, Frank, Charlie, Winfred, Laura, Margaret, and Bernice. Although times were tough and money scarce, Guðjón and Petra succeeded in raising a family that contributed positively to the Interlake community.

Franklin Marino Arnason was born on Sept. 15, 1922. He had a strong desire to further his education. It was difficult to find the funds, but with his perseverance and a strong work ethic, he graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1946 with a degree from the Faculty of Engineering.

At that time, the government of Manitoba approved the electrification of rural Manitoba. Frank saw an opportunity to go into his own business. He borrowed funds from his older brothers, and with three associates formed “Amalgamated Engineering” and “lit up” Manitoba. It was a tough go as materials were scarce and everyone was anxious to obtain the luxury of electricity in their homes and barns. Within a short time the company had three crews with about forty men covering most of rural Manitoba.


It was during Frank’s travels in the Riding Mountain region that we met. I, Marie Arnason (nee Vann), was born on October 11, 1930 in Bethany Manitoba, the daughter of Harry and Myrtle Vann. It was at the Bethany Friday night dance that Frank and I first met and seemed to find a spark. We enjoyed the evening very much and after saying goodnight, Frak said to my mother, “Look after your daughter, I will be back to marry her someday!” And that he did, three years later. I finished high school and taught for one year in a country school near Plumas. We were engaged in September 1948, and married on August 6, 1949—the hottest day of the century.

We settled in Gimli and Frank took over his parent’s dairy business, “Arnason Dairies”. Frank was instrumental in opening a dairy bar that sold the first soft ice-cream ever in Manitoba. It was a good life, taking part in all the activities that a small town has to offer. Our five wonderful children, Brett, Barry, Ron, Roy, and Lynne, were all born in Gimli.

In the early 1960s, an opportunity arose for Frank to enter into the water and sewage treatment business. He started “Arnason Construction” with three brothers: Baldi, Joe, and Ted. In August 1963 we moved to Winnipeg. In 1976 Frank started “Arnason Industries” with his two sons Brett and Barry, and my brother, Les Vann. This business is still operating successfully, supplying water and sewage treatment throughout northern and southern Manitoba.