W.F. (Bill) Davidson

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Davidson Family

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

Bill was a complicated man, it is difficult to give a clear picture of him on a page. He was a quiet man, uncomfortable in social situations but generous to a fault with family and friends. He freely and quietly gave money to extended family members whenever they needed it and was very generous to many charities and Icelandic causes. He volunteered his time and materials to renovate the interior of the Icelandic Unitarian Church on the corner of Sargent and Banning in Winnipeg. He served on the Board for the development and building of Betelstadur in Winnipeg.

His home, at 143 Harvard Avenue, was a very busy place. It was a landmark to out of town relatives, the place to overnight for those who came in from the Interlake for a doctor’s or dentist’s appointment. It was where one got a cup of coffee or a meal before heading back out onto the road, winter or summer. And it was a home to numerous nieces and nephews who came into the city to learn a trade or take their University in Winnipeg.

Bill believed very strongly in the importance of a higher education and financially assisted many young people in pursuing their goals. When his children had grown and left the home, he opened his home to troubled teens. He and Bobbi dedicated a lot of time, money and effort to the growth and welfare of many youngsters who had been abused and abandoned by their natural parents.

One of the greatest pleasures of his life was to spend time tinkering around his cottage at Falcon Lake in the Whiteshell of Manitoba. In 1949, the Manitoba Government opened up the south shore of Falcon Lake and subdivided it into lots for summer cottages. Bill was there at the beginning and chose lots for himself and for other family members. On a picturesque lot, high on a rock, before the roads were cut, Bill hauled lumber in on a small boat and built a summer palace for his family. It became his refuge from the stresses of the world and his outlet for his restless creativity.

Many will long remember ‘Uncle Bill’ with a hammer, brush or shovel in his hand, fixing painting or building for the pleasure and comfort of others. Bill didn’t suffer fools but his patience with children was infinite. He loved and was loved by children. His children and grandchildren remember him with a fondness that verges on reverence.


When they were asked what they would like to see being said about their Dad and Afi they were effuse with their affection. The following are some quotes:

“My fondest memories of Afi were sitting and watching him build for hours on end. I remember once he let me hammer in the sauna. He was very careful about teaching me how to do it. I took three swings and on the fourth I hit the cedar. He took that hammer away from me and told me I could go back to watching for a while. He always treated me like a "grown up" even when I was just a little kid. He made me feel important when he asked me for help”

“My memories are numerous; sitting on his lap, watching the news at the lake, watching him swim at the dock, picking cranberries and raspberries, getting up early in the morning and helping him make porridge. He was funny. He would make jokes while we worked and played together. He always had time to listen, and he always asked my opinion.”

“After I "officially" became part of the family, he always made me feel like I belonged, and I always felt and still do feel grateful for that.”

“I think the things that have stayed with me most are the days at Falcon when the kids were still little. He would work in his bathing suit and I remember him taking a dip in the lake then not using a towel or anything, just putting his hat back on and carrying on with what he was doing. He used to do quite a bit of work around the cottage in those days and that’s how he would cool off.”

“He was very nice and took the time to listen and show children new things. I remember being at Falcon Lake and he took me and a couple of the other kids around the bushes to pick some berries to make jam. He took the time to explain what kind of berries they were and what he was going to do with them.”

“He taught me so much. He taught me how to swim, ride a bike, paddle a canoe, paint a house, shingle a roof, hang a door and make porridge. He taught me to question, to question everything and to learn to think for myself. He taught me to love and appreciate. He taught me that different wasn’t wrong, different was just different.”