MHS Smarty Party: 20 October 2022

Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Gunnar Erwin “Hi” Johnson (1906-1992)

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Gunnar Erwin Johnson
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Giant.

Born on a farm near Sinclair on 3 September 1906, son of Joe and Fredricka “Lauga” Johnson, he attended Bardal School from 1914 to 1923. Measuring some eight feet in height, he travelled around the United States with a circus starting in 1925. He studied radio telegraphy in his spare time and, after settling down at Orlando, Florida around 1929, he became known as the world’s tallest radio repairman. He died unmarried in Florida on 9 July 1992. A specially designed casket was used for his burial.

Sources:

Birth registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“Descendant Icelandic giant is back home,” Manitoba Free Press, 18 December 1928, page 4.

Trails Along the Pipestone by Pipestone History Project, c1981, page 26. [Manitoba Legislative Library, F5648.P56 Tra]

His love made him a giant of a man,” Orlando Sentinel, 17 July 1992.

Erwin Johnson, TheTallestMan.com

This page was prepared by Rob McInnes and Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 14 April 2022

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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