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Memorable Manitobans: Asta Austmann Oddson (1893-1974)

Educator, social worker

Born in Manitoba in 1893 to Icelandic parents Gorg Austmann (c1859-?) and John Austmann (c1857-?), she attended the Central Normal School and Wesley College (BA), and by 1916 resided with her family at 512 Toronto Street in Winnipeg. Her early work in rural Manitoba included teaching at Lakeside School (1912), Markland School (1914, 1915-1917), Principalship of Gimli School (1918-1919), and she taught at Jon Bjarnason Academy (1919-1920), as well as several decades later at Fisher Branch Collegiate (1960-1962).

On 2 October 1920, she married widower Leifur Oddson (1887-1945, son of Thorsteinn Oddson) at Winnipeg and had at least six children and step-children: Jakobina Rakel “Jackie” Oddson (1915-1997, wife of ? Brant and ? Bonnevie), Olga Clara Oddson (1917-1997, wife of Paul Skaftfeld), Thora Margret Oddson (1922-1997, wife of John Winchester Low), Leifur Thorsteinn Oddson (1923-1998), Kristjan Magnus “Kris” Oddson (?-?), and Olof Rosemary Oddson (?-?, wife of ? Moon). The family resided initially near Elm Creek (1921). By the mid 1930s, she attended Success Business College and became a social worker for the federal government’s Department of Indian Affairs, retiring from that by the latter 1950s, followed briefly with a return to teaching. She was politically active, standing for election on several occasions, with the Social Credit Party in the 1936 provincial general election (Gimli), 1941 provincial general election (Winnipeg), and 1962 federal general election (Winnipeg South Centre), or as an Independent in the 1958 provincial general election (Rupertsland).

She retired to Edmonton, Alberta and died there on 24 December 1974. She was buried in Edmonton’s Mount Pleasant Municipal Cemetery.


Marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

1916 Canada census, Ancestry.

1921 Canada census, Library and Archives Canada.

“Results of recent Manitoba University examinations [Scholarships - Icelandic],” Manitoba Free Press, 14 May 1915, page 7.

“University notes,” Winnipeg Tribune, 20 March 1917, page 6.

University of Manitoba Yearbooks, Brown and Gold - 1937, page 14.

“Woman candidate in Rupertsland,” Winnipeg Tribune, 3 May 1958, page 34.

“Woman social worker candidate in election,” Winnipeg Free Press, 3 May 1958, page 44.

“Mrs. Oddson conducts unique campaign,” Winnipeg Free Press, 12 June 1962, page 14.

Obituary [Leifur Oddson], Winnipeg Tribune, 4 april 1945, page 31.

“Socreds pick four candidates,” Winnipeg Tribune, 19 May 1962, page 39.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 21 January 1975, page 35.

Obituary [Thora Margret Low], Winnipeg Free Press, 27 April 1997, page 27.

Obituary [Olga Clara Skaftfeld], Winnipeg Free Press, 24 October 1997, page 44.

Obituary [Leifur Thorsteinn Oddson], Winnipeg Free Press, 15 October 1998, page 17.

Mount Pleasant Municipal Cemetery burial transcriptions [Edmonton, Alberta], FindAGrave.

We thank Gordon Goldsborough for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.

Page revised: 11 December 2019

Memorable Manitobans

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