W.F. (Bill) Davidson

Wedding Picture
W.F. and Thorbjörg Davidson on their wedding day

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Taken from the Icelandic Appeal website, circa 2000.
Davidson, Viglundur (W.F. or Bill)

As with so many other Icelanders in Canada, ‘Bill’ had a number of names. As a child in Gimli, he was ‘Villi’ to his friends and family. When he moved to Winnipeg he became ‘Bill’. When he joined the Air Force during the Second World War the double ‘s’ was dropped in Davidsson, and when his children were born they were registered as Davidson. Somewhere along the line the ‘V’ was changed to a ‘W’ and Villi Davidsson became known to all as W.F. (Bill) Davidson.

Bill, born in Gimli, Manitoba, Oct. 1, 1916 and died Sept. 13, 1989, in Winnipeg Manitoba, was the son of Trausti Andrésson Davíðsson (b. Nov. 3, 1887, Reykjavík-d. June 1934 Selkirk, MB), and his paternal grandparents were Andrés Davíðsson (b. Mar. 24, 1856 at Undirfell, Húnavatnssýsla-d. Jan. 30 1950, Winnipeg MB) and Steinnun Jónsdóttir (b. Aug. 28, 1854 at Bakka-d. Apr. 3, 1931, Winnipeg).

Andrés’ parents were Davíð Davíðsson (b. 1827 at Gilá, Vatnsdalur, Húnavatnssýsla-d. Iceland) and Guðrún Magnúsdóttir. Steinnun’s parents were Jón Vigfússon and Katrína Gísladóttir. Bill’s mother was Guðrún Jónína Þorláksdóttir (b. July 22, 1887 at Litla-Fróðá, Snæfellsnessýsla-d. June 29, 1965 St. Catharines, Ontario) and his maternal grandparents were Þorlákur Þorláksson (b. Borgarfjarðarsýsla -d. Iceland) and Margrét Guðmundsdóttir (b. Erpstaðir, Dalasýsla -d. Manitoba)

Trausti, came to Canada as a young man of 17 with his father, Andrés Davíðsson, mother, Steinnun Jónsdóttir and sister, Sigríður (m. Methúsalem Þórarinnsson) in 1904. Trausti’s brother Viglundur had come the year before and his sister Guðrún (m. Hans Sveinsson) followed some years after. Andrés and Steinnun settled in the Geysir area of Manitoba. Bill’s mother, Guðrún, came to Canada as a grown woman. Guðrún trained as a midwife (yfirsetukona) in Iceland and in 1911 came with her mother, Margrét Guðmundsdóttir for a visit to New Iceland and never went back.

Guðrún and Trausti were married on July 16, 1914 in Gimli, Manitoba and made their home on a farm just outside of Gimli where they brought up their six children: Friðsteinn Guðmundur (Jim), Víglundur Franklin (Bill), Laufey Júlíanna (m. E. W. Treasure), Einar Philip (Phil), Marinó Sigurður and Fjóla Guðrún (m. A. A. Burke).


When Bill had completed his schooling in Gimli he went on to Winnipeg where he entered the faculty of Engineering at the University of Manitoba.

Times were very difficult for the Davidsson family. It was during the aftermath of the depression, Trausti became very ill and died and it became necessary for Bill to drop out of University. Bill may have been compelled to forgo formal schooling but he never stopped learning. In the evenings, he could always be found with a book enthusiastically embracing a new idea or theory. When his children brought home their texts from University he could always be found reading them. He delighted in debating with his children and grandchildren, making them think of other ways to look at an idea or support a theory. Like many others of his generation he was a very bright, self-taught man.

When he left University, he began working with his uncle and namesake, Víglundur Andrésson Davidsson, who was a property developer and realtor. Through the necessity of maintaining the properties he became a skilled carpenter and painter and soon he became a developer and realtor on his own.

Later he founded Viking Construction Ltd. and also developed a furniture manufacturing company that supplied upholstered furniture to The T. Eaton Co. and several other outlets throughout Canada. Tragically, in 1961, the factory was gutted by fire.

On June 25, 1940, Bill married Thorbjörg (Bobbi) Solmundsson (b. Aug. 25, 1910, Gimli MB) they made their home in Winnipeg where they raised four children, daughter ‘Bonnie’ Patricia Ruth (m. Dennis J. Ayden) brn May 5, 1941, daughter Constance Arlene (m. D. Michael S. Geller) born Feb. 23, 1943, son William Franklin Trausti, born July 30, 1945 and son Kenneth Andrew Jonas (m. Reva), born May 7, 1951.

Shortly after they were married Bill joined the Air Force and was stationed in Edmonton as a mechanic with the RCAF for the duration of World War II.