Barney Asgeir Egilson

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Taken from the Icelandic Appeal website, circa 2000.
Egilson, Mayor Barney

Barney was extremely interested in helping the community excel. His interests were many, but his main goals were serving in local politics, helping youth through positive activities, sports and education, and working for the Lutheran Church. While serving on the council in 1941, Barney became Mayor of Gimli after Mayor H.M. McGinnis passed away.

Barney was a natural leader even though he hadn't had any formal expertise, he soon was admired for his ease with public speaking. His approach was "know what you want to say, say it, then sit down". In the fifties there was much progress in the development of the town. Previously Gimli was a village and under Barney's direction it developed into a town with sewer and water along with several paved streets. Barney was also very careful with the taxpayer’s money and allocated it accordingly. When he became Mayor, Gimli was in a deficit of $9,000.00, he was able to get the books into the black by $1,000.00. The town budget of $26,000.00 when he became mayor grew to $134,154.00 in his last year as mayor.

His interest in sports led him to become the President of the skating rink and it's construction dedicated to the veterans. He enjoyed curling and played hockey in his younger days. He also was keenly interested in card games and horse racing, as well as golf.

Other boards and committees that he was involved with included the Old Timers Association, the Cemetery Association, a charter member of the Chamber of Commerce, the Betel Home, the Municipal Advisory Board and the Icelandic Celebration Committee. The government of Iceland decorated him with the Order of the Falcon on the 75th Anniversary of the Icelandic Celebration.


Patricia (Guttormson) Peacock and Arlene (Anderson) Orlando consider their uncle Barney to be their mentor. Although Rooney and Barney had no children of their own, Arlene, the daughter of Rooney's brother Arni and his wife Mathilda Lindal, lived with the couple for a few years when she was about six years old. Her parents were in the Ninette Hospital at the time recovering from tuberculosis. Arlene had a wonderful time living with her aunt and uncle.

Patricia (or Patsy as she was called as a child) spent alot of time at their beautiful home on fifth avenue. Patricia is the daughter of Laura (Rooney Anderson’s sister) and James Guttormson. As a child Pat remembers going to Winnipeg to see the Santa Claus parade, then going to the Eaton's dining room for a children's Christmas lunch. “Barney was the kindest man we knew and also the wisest. He had just the right sense of humour to share with a child. One time he was going to Winnipeg to the horse races with his friends and he asked me to pick a horse and bet on it. He read all the names of the horses and of course I couldn't decide which one so he picked "Straw Boss" for me because I thought it was a funny name. I remember how excited Barney was when he got home to tell me about the race. I can’t recall how the horse made out but Barney and I had alot of fun together.

He was a wonderful husband to our aunt Rooney. She enjoyed a very comfortable life with him and that helped her excel in her love of gardening and home decor. Arlene and I both feel the utmost respect, love and admiration for this incredible man." After Barney passed away February 27, 1965 at the age of sixty four, Rooney presented a scholarship fund in his memory to students in Gimli who showed strong leadership and community interests.