Memorable Manitobans: Joan “Sigrid” Johnson (1950-2018)
Librarian, community activist.
Born at Arborg on 26 February 1950, one of three children of Gudny Thorunn Jonasson (1926-2014) and Jon Snorri Johnson (1914-2003), she grew up on the family farm in the Framnes district and spoke Icelandic until attending Ardal School. Subsequently, she received a BA degree from the University of Manitoba and a Library Sciences degree from the University of Alberta.
She returned to the University of Manitoba where, for 43 years, she was its Icelandic Librarian, helping to develop the Icelandic collection into the largest one of its kind in Canada and the second largest in North America. Active in the Icelandic community, she was co-editor/editor of The Icelandic Canadian magazine, President of the Icelandic National League of North America, and a member of the board of the Canada Iceland Foundation and Icelandic Festival of Manitoba.
On 11 December 1977, she married Robert Sproule and they had three children. In recognition of her community service, she received a University of Manitoba Outreach Award (1992), Order of the Falcon (2000), Islendingadagurinn's Fjallkona (2003), and IODE Good Citizenship Award (2018).
She died at Winnipeg on 12 December 2018.
“Icelandic tales good, but …,” Winnipeg Free Press, 27 November 2012, page 11.
We thank Robert Sproule for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 9 April 2022