Stefan J. Stefanson

Olla & Stefan StefansonOlla & Stefan Stefanson

page 1 | page 2




home | back to NIHM website
The Book Of Life
Alphabetical Story Index
Taken from the Icelandic Appeal website, circa 2000.
Stefanson, Stefan J.

I was born at 92, 3rd Ave. in the village of Gimli, on Feb. 13, 1915 to Guðný Björnsdóttir and Valdimar Stefanson, both of Gimli, Manitoba.

My paternal grandfather, Stefán Eiríksson, was born and raised at Djúpidalur in the Blönduhlið area of Skagafjörður in Iceland. He married Pálína Stefánsdóttir who was born and raised at the farm Þverá, also in the Blönduhlið area of Skagafjörður. They came to Canada in 1888 together with Pálína’s mother, Guðbjörg Tómasdóttir, and Stefán Eldjársson, Pálína’s son from a previous relationship.

My maternal grandparents were Björn Hallgrímur Jónsson, born and raised at Hornastaðir in the Laxadalur, Dalasýsla, Iceland and Guðfinna Sigurðardóttir from Saurhóll in Dalasýsla. They emigrated from Iceland in 1888, losing two infant children during the sea voyage to Canada; both children were buried at sea. They also brought with them an illegitimate son, Sveinn Björnsson, then eight years of age, who had resided with Björn and Guðfinna at Hornastaðir. They settled briefly in Gimli, MB, and then moved to Churchbridge, Sask. where my mother Guðný was born on Feb. 21, 1891. Three years later they returned to Gimli. My father and mother were married in 1913. To them were born three children: Elínbjörg Guðfinna, (b. Nov. 23, 1913) married Richard Dean Angevine of Rochester New York in 1938. I, Stefan Julius (b. Feb. 13th, 1915), married Olivia Svanheit Einarson (b. July 18, 1917-d. Jan. 20, 2000). Palina Lulu (b. Dec. 19th 1922) married Ingvar Marino Gudmundson on Sept. 1, 1946. She died on June 30, 1987 after a twenty-one year battle with cancer.

Olivia Svanheit, was always known as “Olla” to all her friends and contacts in North America and Iceland. Olla and I were married on Feb. 4, 1934. She was the daughter of Sigurður Einarsson, who was born at Auðnir in Laxdalur, Suður-Þingeyjarsýsla, Iceland, and María Jóhannsdóttir who was born at Gimli on Jan.18, 1880 and died June 14, 1962. Sigurður and María made their home on a homestead farm on NW1/2, Section 1 of Township 19, Range 4 in the RM of Gimli. They named their farm Thórsmörk. Sigurður died on Mar. 20, 1935.

Olla and I had five children:

Lorna Joyce, Stefan Ernest, Karen Maria, Valdimar Warren, and Eirikson Elswood (Eric).



I completed high school at Gimli in 1933, but for lack of finances I could not continue my education. I then entered into farming in partnership with my father and mother. Olla and I acquired the NE1/4, Sec. 20, Twp 19, Range 4 E in the RM of Gimli. This property was immediately across the road from my parent’s farm and their dwelling. This partnership lasted for 46 years until my dad died on Sept. 13, 1981. Several parcels of land were added to our joint partnership, some 1400 acres up and above the two farms which we resided on.

Olla and my mother kept two outstanding homes. Both were versatile, splendid cooks, who could also endure long days of farm labour, that was necessary even though our farm operations had become very mechanical. As the years wore on, my mother suffered severe Osteoarthritis. She found it difficult to tend her beautiful flowers and her garden. However, her family was closely knit that these chores were taken care of by family members. She carried on her kitchen chores using a walker with a large basket attached to carry food of any other things she had to move. In 1973, she broke her hip and the bone growth was very slow. She endured two major operations, the second of which was for the instillation of metal clamps to hold the bone in line and to wait for healing. She spent three months in Hospital in Winnipeg and then returned to Gimli, where she was admitted to the Betel Home. She spent eleven enjoyable years at Betel before dying at 94 years of age.

From the time I first remember I had lung problems, which did not leave me, and a very weak back. These ailments did not go well with strenuous farm labour. In 1951, I was approached by the Manitoba Government to assist the Attorney General’s Department in the many outlying County Court Districts with a variety of problems that they might be having, and to provide them with general support. This appointment was to be for one year only. However, I carried on till some thirty years later, in 1981, when I retired as the Chief Sheriff of Manitoba. During my employment I traveled extensively about the province. In 1970 I was appointed Deputy Sheriff, and other promotions followed.