Isfeld Family
of Winnipeg Beach

Einar Pálsson & Grace

Einar & Grace Isfeld
Einar & Grace Isfeld

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Taken from the Icelandic Appeal website, circa 2000.
Isfeld, Einar Pálsson & Grace

Einar Pálsson Ísfeld was born north of Gimli on the family homestead to Páll (Paul) and Anna Ísfeld on December 15, 1904. He was a fisherman on Lake Winnipeg for over fifty years. He settled in Winnipeg Beach in 1928 and on September 9, 1935 married Grace Whalley of Winnipeg.

Einar was collecting tickets at the popular dance hall in Winnipeg Beach when he met his wife-to-be Grace. He worked only in this one summer in 1935 at the dance hall. Grace was living in Winnipeg at the time and working for Mrs. Blair, as nanny for her children. Einar wrote her a letter and said he was coming to Winnipeg and wanted to marry her. When he arrived in Winnipeg, he went over to Mrs. Blair’s home on Beaverbrook Street and got her. He then got his sister Pauline and her husband Jack Neil and together they went to the minister’s house where they were married. They returned to Winnipeg Beach and made their home there.

Going back to that summer of 1935 when Einar worked at the dance hall, he said he earned only a dollar for four and a half hours work and was quoted as saying, “It was the depression and we took whatever we could get because we were so poor.”

In addition to taking tickets, he folded chairs and swept the giant dance floor. He said, “The dance hall was so big it took ten men to sweep it. Thousands of people from all over came to the dance hall. It was something.”

Einar always had fishing on his mind and often mentioned the hard task of finding and catching fish. He fished in many ways such as hand sleighs, horses, rowboats, small outboards, and old snowmobiles but all in all, Einar’s fish was usually caught by a lot of hard work.


Over the years, Einar was a fish packer as well. He had accounts with many local fishermen, his brothers being among them. As time went on, his fish shed started to deteriorate but he always insisted on protecting it from deterioration. He always said “Maybe next year.”

He also built his own fishing boats, one of which is still in storage in a shed on their original property. I remember my dad bending the lumber to form the construction of the boat. He was a craftsman who was very serious about doing a good job.

In addition to boat building, violin making was something he enjoyed and made nine violins. When I was young I remember my dad whittling away all winter at creating a violin out of a block of wood. I remember a package coming from Chicago, a block of wood which he was going to use to create his masterpiece. He was very meticulous, right down to the sound holes and per flings around the edge of the violin. I remember the most part was the sound a the end of the accomplished task. Einar was quite good at playing the violin and was awarded first prize in an Old Time Fiddling Contest in the Wonderful Winter Weekend Festival in Winnipeg Beach, February, 1973. He continued to enjoy playing his violins right up until his death in 1993 at age 88.

Einar had many work projects, including one of the first Pepsi Cola Delivery businesses, he and Grace operating a small grocery store, being a saw filer, and the odd carpentry job. He was also interested in the well being of the Lake Winnipeg Fishery. He had many contacts with the Fisheries officials and had served as secretary on the Fishermens’ Association.