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Memorable Manitobans: Signy Hildur Stephenson Eaton (1913-1992)

Philanthropist.

Born at Winnipeg to parents Fridrik (Fridriksson) and Anna (Olson) Stephenson, both of Icelandic background, her father having come to Canada as a boy in 1876 and survived the smallpox epidemic in New Iceland, and her mother having been born in New Iceland to indigent settlers there. Raised in Winnipeg, where her father was a printer and publisher, she met John David Eaton (1909-1973) while he was working in the T. Eaton department store. The two married in 1933 at the Eaton family summer estate near Toronto. They had four sons: John Craig Eaton (b c1936), Fredrik Eaton (b c1937), Thor Eaton (b c1943), and George Eaton (b c1946). Following her husband’s death, she became active in the family business and also with its philanthropic activities. She died at Toronto on 10 September 1992.

Sources:

“Eaton’s matriarch wielded power, aided arts,” Winnipeg Free Press, 11 September 1992, page 3.

We thank Nelson Gerrard for providing additional information used here.

This profile was prepared by Angela Graham and Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 2 August 2014

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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