Gudrun Helga Julia Sigurdson

Gudrun Helga Julia Sigurdson’s story is one of assimilation in the 20th Century. Sigurdson was born on July 7, 1920, to pioneering Icelandic immigrants, Sigurdur Danielson Holm and Sigridur Gudny Borgfjord Holm, on the family homestead in the Lundar District.

She was born four years after the Bill of Enfranchisement became law in Manitoba, 50 years after
Manitoba joined Confederation.

She married Johann Straumfjord Sigurdson on October 31, 1942, and, except for a few early years
spent in Vancouver and Winnipeg, she has called Lundar home. They raised four children, Linda, Sandra, Johann and Lorenz, in an Icelandic settlement. The family valued education and all four have university degrees, two with PhD’s.

Residence in a small town requires community commitment. As a member of the
Lundar Historical Society, one of Helga’s greatest contributions is the documentation of the first
100 years of the history of Lundar and district in the 784-page Wagons to Wings. She named
it, designed the cover, arranged the pages, edited stories and proof read, in a period of five years. No
computers. Her dedication ensures that people are not forgotten and that 1000s of their descendants will understand their heritage both in Canada and the countries of origin.

Both Helga and Johann were community workers and innovators. Sigurdson was involved in the following: Agricultural Society – Women’s Section, served as president, director over 50 years; 4 H sewing instructor; Seniors’ Resource Council since its inception; New Horizon member; Care Home Guild as charter member, president and board member; Senior Citizen Co-op Board (20 years), Museum Board as founding member and over many years; Holmgardur Heritage Park; Sundial; Prairie Dog Central to 1987 Celebration; Diamond Jubilee (1947) and 1987 centennial celebrations committee member.

Sigurdson’s extensive trailblazing follows: Icelandic National League of North America, member over 70 years, served on board; INLofNA Lundar Chapter president for 15 years; Logberg Heimskringla (newspaper) as board member; Woods and Water Association Cavalcade reception in Lundar, over 20 years.

She proudly joined the Jon Sigurdsson Chapter IODE, at age 90.

Sigurdson has been a talented artist all of her life and as a ceramicist has won many awards, including the Athena. She is a certified ceramic teacher instructing both seniors and school students. Her signature Giant Canada Goose pair are found in many countries and in Bessastadir, home of Iceland’s president.

She designed the Lundar Centennial plate, pins, painted the Lutheran Church confirmation cups for 30 years and ceramic lambs for the Fair Baby Show for over 20 years.

In 1947, she and her father created and painted the dragon head and tail attached to a boat on which she and Johann enacted persons from the Viking Age. Together with sister Lilja, she sewed and created the national dresses for Iceland, Scotland, Ireland, Manitoba (26 dolls) -- heritage treasures.

Helga G. J. Sigurdson continues to live life to the fullest, trailblazing through her century to become an honoured citizen of Manitoba and Canada. Beloved icon for the ages.

Image: 

Supplied