Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Stefan Hansen (1910-1961)

Insurance executive.

Born at Kirkjufell, Iceland on 22 March 1910, son of Bjarn and Karitas Hansen, the family moved to Canada in 1914 and settled at Arborg, later going to Humbolt (Saskatchewan). While pursuing an honours degree in Mathematics at the University of Manitoba (BA 1934), he obtained a fellowship in Actuarial Science around 1936. He worked for the Monarch Life Assurance Company until 1945 when he took employment with Great-West Life Assurance Company. He worked as Group Actuary, rising quickly through the ranks. By 1952 he was made Director of Group Insurance and was appointed an executive officer. By 1958, he was Vice-President and Director of Group Insurance.

He served on the Fort Garry School Board (1950-1953), and was Chairman for the Suburban School Trustees Association (1950). A member of the MacFarlane Royal Commission on Education, he also served as Vice-Chair in the absense of R. O. MacFarlane. Active in the Canadian Icelandic community, he was on the first editorial board of The Icelandic Canadian magazine (1942). In 1959, he chaired the committee that amalgamated the two Icelandic newspapers, The Ioberg and Hamsgrinla.

He married Jessie Hermione Blackwood with whom he had two daughters, Wendy Lorraine Hansen (1941-1993) and Signy Hansen. The family lived at 754 South Drive, Fort Garry where he had a professional-grade carpentry shop.

Following a lengthy illness, he died at the Winnipeg General Hospital on 1 April 1961 and was buried at Garry Memorial Park.


1916 Canada census, Library and Archives Canada.

“Great-West Life appointment,” Winnipeg Free Press, 4 June 1952, page 31.

“Insurance executive dead at 51,” Winnipeg Free Press, 3 April 1961, page 3.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 4 April 1961, page 23.

Obituary [Wendy Lorraine Hansen], Winnipeg Free Press, 2 October 1993, page C12.

Winnipeg Estate file PR93-01-31336 [Wendy Lorraine Hansen], Archives of Manitoba.

“Education Commission,” Winnipeg Free Press, 1 December 1995, page 4.

We thank Signy Hansen for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.

Page revised: 5 May 2017

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