Memorable Manitobans: Leo Friman Kristjanson (1932-2005)
Professor, community activist.
Born at Gimli on 28 February 1932, son of Hannes Kristjanson (1883-1957) and Elin Bordis (1895-1978), nephew of Albert Edward Kristjansson, he attended Gimli Public School and received a BA degree at United College and an MA degree at the University of Manitoba, finishing his education with a PhD from the University of Wisconsin. In 1959, he became a researcher, professor and later administrator at the University of Saskatchewan.
Retiring in 1989 after nine years as the President of the University of Saskatchewan, Kristjanson returned to his hometown of Gimli, where he invested himself in giving to his community, including coordinating the full restoration of the Gimli Public School as a community space.
In 1957, he married Jean Cameron (1935-2021) and they had four children. He received many honors during his life, including an honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Winnipeg (1980), the Order of Canada (1990), Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal (2002), Lieutenant-Governor’s Medal of the Institute of Public Administration, Regional Volunteer Award from the Manitoba Heritage Federation, and other awards and recognitions.
He died on 21 August 2005.
“Kristjanson saga spread to Lake Winnipeg shore,” Winnipeg Tribune, 13 July 1971.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
This page was prepared by Kris Keen and Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 21 April 2022