Memorable Manitobans: Asmundur Petur Johannson (1875-1953)
Building contractor, community activist.
Born in Iceland in 1875, he came to Winnipeg in 1900 and worked as a carpenter on buildings for the University of Manitoba until 1903. He then formed a partnership with Sveinn Palmason and they built several houses in the West End between 1904 and 1910, and apartment blocks through the 1910s and 1920s.
He was also a western director of the Iceland Steamship Company for 36 year and director of the Icelandic weekly newspaper Logberg. An avid proponent of Icelandic culture, he was a founder and treasurer of the Icelandic National League of North America, and he contributed to the establishment of a chair of Icelandic language and literature at the University of Manitoba.
He was married twice, first in 1899 to Sigridur Jonasdottir (1878-1934) with whom he had three sons: Jonas Valdimar “Walter” Johannson (1901-1974), Kari Vilhelm “Bill” Johannson (1903-1976), and Grettir Leo Johannson (1905-1985). On 9 May 1937, he married Gudrun Eiriksson (c1890-1965). He was a member of First Lutheran Church. In recognition of his service to the Icelandic community in Canada, he received the Millenial Medal and the Commander Cross with Star in the Order of the Falcon.
He died at his Winnipeg home, 910 Palmerston Avenue, on 23 October 1953 and was buried in the Brookside Cemetery.
Some of his construction works in Manitoba included:
Birth registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Mrs. Sigrudur Johannson dies in General Hospital,” Winnipeg Tribune, 2 October 1934, page 4.
Marriage registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Ex-contractor A. Johannson dies at 78,” Winnipeg Free Press, 23 October 1953, page 42.
Obituary [Gudrun Johannson], Winnipeg Free Press, 10 April 1965, page 36.
“Early Icelandic builders in Winnipeg” by S. Aleck Thorarinson, Logberg-Heimskringla, 30 March 1967, page 5.
Obituary [Jonas Walter Johannson], Winnipeg Free Press, 24 October 1974, page 43.
Obituary [Kari Wilhelm Johannson], Winnipeg Free Press, 2 June 1976, page 48.
Obituary [Grettir Leo Johannson], Winnipeg Free Press, 29 May 1985, page 40.
We thank Nathan Kramer for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 15 April 2023