Memorable Manitobans: Vilhjalmur William “Bill” Fridfinnson (1890-1941)
Administrator, postal official.
Born at the family farm in the Rural Municipality of Argyle, between Glenboro and Baldur, on 7 January 1890 to Jon Fridfinnsson and Anna Sigridur Jonsdottir Johnson (1867-1940), he moved with the family to Winnipeg in 1905. He attended Wesley College and began taking an arts course, but dropped it when he was hired by the Post Office, where he had a 32-year career. He started as a Clerk (1909), and received promotion to Senior Clerk, then Director of Railway Postal Stations, and finally to Superintendent of Secretariat and Finance (1940), a position he held until his death. His integrity was commendable and of good repute locally as well as in Ottawa. He served on special assignments within the Post Office, including a three-month confidential operation in 1915, where he went to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan at the request of Ottawa Postal Affairs headmaster George Bess. In 1928, he was selected to be the principal individual in charge of air mail, but the position was cancelled before he took charge.
In February 1918, he enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force 76th Artillery Battery and was discharged in December of the same year, having not served overseas. He was Secretary-Treasurer for the Winnipeg Falcons during the 1919-1920 season and traveled with the team to the 1920 Allan Cup Championship against the Toronto Varsity squad and then on to Antwerp, Belguim for the 1920 Olympic Games, where they won the gold medal. He resigned as Secretary-Treasurer before the start of the next season, having been with the club since he played large role in the 1910 merger of the Icelandic Athletic Club and the Viking Club together into the Winnipeg Falcons.
On 7 August 1920, he married Gudbjorg Kristin “Bertha” Arnason (1884-1988) at Mountain, North Dakota and they had two children: Audrey Fridfinnson (1922-2006) and Ronald William Fridfinnson (1924-1999). He played a leadership role with the First Icelandic Lutheran Church and was a noted player and executive member of the Manitoba Contract Bridge Club.
Following two years of ailing health, and two months of noted illness, he died at his Winnipeg home, 622 Agnes Street, on 10 September 1941 and was buried in Brookside Cemetery. He was inducted posthumously into the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame and the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame (1980).
1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
Marriage and death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Attestation papers, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Library and Archives Canada.
“Falcons lining up for grand season,” Manitoba Free Press, 20 September 1920, page 10.
“W. Fridfinnsson dies Wednesday,” Winnipeg Free Press, 11 September 1941, page 2.
“W. Fridfinnson, Falcon hockey club chief, dies,” The Winnipeg Tribune, 11 September 1941, page 21.
“Fridfinnson funeral today,” The Winnipeg Tribune, 13 September 1941, page 25.
“William (Bill) Fridfinnsson, gentleman,” Lögberg, 11 December 1941, page 5.
Obituary [Gudbjorg Kristin Fridfinnson], Winnipeg Free Press, 29 January 1988, page 25.
Obituary [Ronald William Fridfinnson], Winnipeg Free Press, 16 August 1999, page B6.
Obituary [Audrey Fridfinnson], Winnipeg Free Press, 4 February 2007, page 10.
When Falcons Fly by David Square, 2007. Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame, 1920 Winnipeg Falcons.
Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame, 1920 Winnipeg Falcons Team.
This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.
Page revised: 15 May 2014