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Memorable Manitobans: Baldur Rosmund Stefansson (1917-2002)

Agricultural scientist.

Born at Vestfold on 26 April 1917, son of Gudmundur Stefansson and Jonina Sigurbjorg Halldorsdottir, he served in the Canadian Army during the Second World War, after which he received several degrees from the University of Manitoba (DipAg 1949, BSA 1950, MSc 1952, PhD 1966). He worked as a plant breeder at the university where he developed a variety of rapeseed that could be used as an edible oil. It became known as canola. He retired in 1986. He was inducted into the Order of Canada (1985), Manitoba Order of the Buffalo Hunt (1988), Order of Manitoba (2000), Icelandic Order of the Falcon (?), Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame (2003), and Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame (?). In 1977, he received a Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal. He received honorary doctorates from the University of Manitoba (1997) and the University of Iceland (2000). He and wife Sigridur “Sigga” Westdal (1919-2009) had three children. He died at Winnipeg on 3 January 2002 and was buried in the Garry Memorial Park.

Sources:

Birth registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 7 January 2002.

Brookside Cemetery: A Celebration of Life, Volume 1, published by E. R. Publishing & Communications Ltd., Winnipeg, 2003, ISBN 0-973346-0-5 (paper).

“They will never be forgotten,” Winnipeg Free Press, 31 December 2002, pages A8-A9.

Obituary [Sigridur Stefansson], Winnipeg Free Press, 19 August 2009.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 1 July 2020

Memorable Manitobans

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