Clara & Carlo




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The Book Of Life
Alphabetical Story Index
Taken from the Icelandic Appeal website, circa 2000.
Steffensen, Clara & Carlo

By Clara Steffensen

My parents were Pálína Elínborg Johnson (b. Feb. 23, 1896 in Winnipeg) and Guðmundur Friðgeir Einarson (b. May 12, 1892 in Akureyri, Iceland; came to Canada at age four). Guðmundur and Pálína met in Gimli and married there on Oct. 19, 1921. The couple had four children: Jónína Guðrún (b. Mar. 25, 1922), Clara Margret (b. Mar. 23, 1923), Elert John (b. Apr. 27, 1924-d. Mar. 22, 1993), and Lorainne Elsie (b. Nov. 18, 1926-d. Aug. 2, 1988). We were all born in the house on 100-3rd which still stands tall and stately today. Our mother was a very caring and loving person. She worked in charity organizations and volunteered her time freely. She was blessed with a very beautiful voice; she was the soloist in the Gimli Lutheran Church for many years, and she sang at many weddings and funerals. Our mother died in Winnipeg on Dec. 12, 1968 and is buried in the family plot in Gimli. Our father was a hardworking man who took pride in his home and worked hard to provide us with all the necessities of life. He was a fisherman and an excellent carpenter. Our father died Oct. 17, 1942 and is also buried in the family plot in Gimli.

My school years were all in Gimli. I had many wonderful teachers, and they provided us with a wonderful education. I worked at the Betel Home in Gimli for two years prior to entering the ‘Old Winnipeg General’ in 1942 for my three-year nurse’s training. I graduated in 1945 and worked at Deer Lodge Hospital until 1946. I returned to the Winnipeg General and worked there until July 1966. I worked as head nurse on old 7 flat and 6 flat, and later as head nurse in the outpatient department. I returned to Gimli and joined the staff of Johnson memorial hospital in 1967. I became director of nurses in 1972 and held that position until 1975. Miss Sigga Hjartarson offered me a part time nursing position back at Betel. Miss Hjartarson was retiring at the end of the year and Dr. George Johnson recommended me to Mr. Albert Johannesson who was the administrator. There was no hesitation on my part so on Jan. 5 1976 I began the most rewarding position of my nursing career. I thoroughly enjoyed my work; the residents all became very dear to me. With much thought, I retired in July 1984.



I married Franklin Stevens May 16, 1970. From that marriage I have two stepsons: Gregory (wife Mary, children Mark and Kristin), and Richard (wife Beverley, children Alicia, Tracey [Adam]). Franklin died on Feb. 15, 1981. I married my second husband, Carlo Steffensen, Oct. 6, 1984. From that marriage I have two stepdaughters: Mona (husband John, children Michael, Donna [Mario] and Karen), and Janet (husband Terry, children Scott and Heather). I continue to reside in Gimli although I have traveled extensively. I am now content to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of Gimli.

My brother, Elert Einarson, joined the Air Force following his schooling, and was stationed in Alaska. Following the war he worked for the CNR and Via Rail for over 40 years as a conductor and in Thunder Bay as an Instructor. He was a very dedicated employee who thoroughly enjoyed his work on the railroad. He was predeceased by his first wife Anne in 1956 and his second wife Dorothy in 1992. He retired in 1986 and moved back to his beloved Gimli. At Gimli he became very active in the Royal Canadian Legion, the Icelandic Festival Committee and the Icelandic National League. In 1992, Elert served the Legion as Vice-President. Whatever he worked at, he was totally dedicated. Elert died March 22, 1993 following a heart attack and is buried in the family plot in Gimli.

My sister Lorainne also attended Gimli Public School. She was a very clever young girl and usually stood first in her class. After High School my mother and Lorraine moved to Winnipeg where she took a secretarial course at Success Business College. She soon found employment at Ray-O-Vac Ltd. And a short time later became secretary to the General Manager. She wrote most of the articles for their company paper, where she displayed her writing talent. In 1984 the company closed. In a short time she was employed as a secretary for the Government of Canada. She was planning an early retirement and a return to Gimli, but was involved in a fatal traffic accident on Aug. 2, 1988 as she returned from the Icelandic celebration. Lorainne is buried in the family plot in Gimli.

All of us have always had our heart and soul in Gimli.