Memorable Manitobans: Bjorn “Bjossi” Stefansson (1888-1963)
Born in Iceland on 19 January 1888, he immigrated to Canada in 1889 with his parents, Stefan Bjornson (1861-1913) and Gudridir Bjornson (1859-1938). After a brief time in Winnipeg, in 1890 the family relocated to the RM of Coldwell where he attended Mary Hill School and was naturalized in 1895. He received his Bachelor of Arts (1912) and his Bachelor of Law (1915) from the University of Manitoba, working at the Winnipeg Land Titles Office during the three years he spent at law school.
In 1915, he joined the Royal Officer’s Training School, graduating a Lieutenant, and joined the 79th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force at Brandon. He fought in Europe with the 44th Battalion and returned home in 1919 from a grievous wound for which he was hospitalized for two years. In 1921, he established a law firm with in partnership with W. J. Lindal, practicing until the Second World War, when he served four years as an Adjutant in the Royal Canadian Air Force Training School at Virden. He ran unsuccessfully in the 1940 federal election. After the war, he served 16 years as a Family Court Judge, Police Court Magistrate, and District Registrar at Carman.
In 1946, he married Helen Viola Lemkey (1921-1996) and had a son, Bergman Laurence Stefansson. He was a long-time member of the Masons (Ionic Lodge No. 25).
1916 Canada census, Library and Archives of Canada.
Attestation papers, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Library and Archives of Canada.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 9 September 1963, page 24.
Wagons to Wings: History of Lundar and Districts, 1872-1980 compiled by Lundar and District Historical Society, 1980, pages 276-278.
Obituary [Helen Viola Stefansson], Winnipeg Free Press, 4 January 1997, page C11.
Page revised: 7 April 2020
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