Budvarson, Halla (Arngrimsdottir)

(1871 - 1966)

It troubled Halla Budvarson that someone might leave her home hungry or empty-handed.

The mother of ten children, and an early Icelandic pioneer in the New Hill district, Halla had a tough life, doing the chores required on a mixed farm and keeping her family fed, clothed and content. Her tasks were especially burdensome, since her husband, Jón, was permanently disabled shortly after their arrival here from Iceland, when he fell and broke his arm, and she had to assume many of the duties that he otherwise would have been able to do. One of her children, born prematurely, suffered from a chronic skin condition which required special care and attention. Another infant daughter died at only three years of age. Through the poverty and sickness of those early years, she remained a bright ray of hope. She cared for her own family and many of her neighbours, and many of them learned Icelandic from her, as they enjoyed her generous meals, kaffi and baked goodies like pönnukökur, kleinur and vínarterta.

Although her children often teased her about weighing less than a sack of flour, Halla Budvarson was a women with faith, hope and love of the mightiest. She endured countless hardships in her native home, Iceland and in central Alberta where she emigrated in 1905, but she maintained her wonderful sense of humour and outstanding hospitality throughout her years. Her lífsglađi (gladness for life) was remarkable and her family and friends remember her as one who was happiest when surrounded by people, serving them coffee and the best food she had.

Category: Alberta