Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Erik Harald Wadelius (1913-2000)

Administrator, community activist.

Born on the island of Froson near Ostersund, Sweden on 15 July 1913, his family came to Canada in 1914 and settled at Winnipeg. He attended East Kildonan Collegiate and was an accomplished violinist, serving as first violinist with the Winnipeg Orchestra and performing on radio music programs in the early 1930s. During the Great Depression, he travelled throughout rural Saskatchewan and Manitoba with the Vagabonds dance band.

In 1937, he became employed with Sherritt Gordon Mines at Sherridon where he met his future wife, Olive LaFontaine (1917-2015). They married on 25 January 1939 and later had three sons, including Vaughn Wadelius. In 1958, he became Business Manager for the St. Anthony’s General Hospital, becoming Regional Administrator for Manitoba Health and Social Development in 1967. He retired in August 1978.

He was an active member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (Lodge No. 135), serving as Exalted Ruler (1951), Northern District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler (1954), and President of the Manitoba Elks Association (1957-1958). An original executive member of the Northern Manitoba Trappers' Festival, in 1948, and was involved in developing the original Rendezvous and Stage Shows. He helped to initiate Pony League Baseball, development of the Agricultural Fair Grounds west of The Pas, chaired the 50th Anniversary Committee of the Town of The Pas in 1962, and participated in the development of The Pas Valhalla Cooperative seniors residence. In recognition of his community service, he received a Citizenship Award from the Town of The Pas (1991).

He died at The Pas on 18 November 2000.

Sources:

“Russell welcomes Manitoba Elks for 2-day convention,” Russell Banner, 12 June 1958, page 1.

This page was prepared by Vaughn Wadelius and Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 16 September 2020

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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