Memorable Manitobans: Runolfur Marteinsson (1870-1959)
Born in Iceland on 20 November 1870, son of Marteinn Jonsson and Gudrun Jonsdottir, he came to Winnipeg in 1883 and was educated at Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota (1895) and the Chicago Lutheran Theological Seminary. He was ordained as a Lutheran cleric in May 1899 and served for a short time at the First Lutheran Church in Winnipeg and in the Churchbridge district of Saskatchewan.
He spent ten years serving congregations at Gimli and Arborg. He taught at Gimli Public School (1908-1910), Wesley College (three years) and was Principal of the Jon Bjarnason Academy for 27 years, from 1914 to its closing in 1940. He went to Vancouver, British Columbia where he organized a Lutheran congegation in 1944 before returning to Winnipeg. Near the end of his life, he lived with his daughter at Ninette.
On 30 June 1900, he married Ingunn Bardal (1872-1964), sister of A. S. Bardal, at Winnipeg. They had four children: Gudrun Marteinsson (1902-?, wife of Charles E. Hill), Jon Larus Marteinsson (1903-?), Theodis Marteinsson (1905-1999, wife of Alfred L. Paine), and Brandur Tomas H. Marteinsson (1907-?). He was Honorary President of the Icelandic Lutheran Synod of America and, in 1939, he received the Royal Order of the Icelandic Falcon.
He died at Brandon on 10 May 1959 and was buried in the Brookside Cemetery.
1901 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
Birth and marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
1916 Canada census, Ancestry.
“Iceland’s only merit award goes to two Winnipeggers,” Winnipeg Free Press, 16 November 1939, page 2.
“Tributes are paid to Rev. R. Marteinsson on 70th birthday,” Winnipeg Free Press, 27 November 1940, page 19.
“Dr. and Mrs. R. Marteinsson,” Winnipeg Free Press, 1 July 1950, page 16.
“Lutheran minister marks 60th year since ordination,” Winnipeg Free Press, 5 May 1959, page 38.
“Retired minister, R. Marteinsson, dead at 89,” Winnipeg Free Press, 11 May 1959, page 2.
Obituary [Ingunn Marteinsson], Winnipeg Free Press, 7 September 1964, page 19.
We thank Nathan Kramer for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 22 January 2023