Herdis died peacefully on Thursday, January 14, 2021 at the Charleswood Care Centre in Winnipeg at the age of 104.
Herdis grew up in the tiny hamlet of Vestfold, Manitoba, near Lundar. In those days on the family farm, there was no electricity or running water, and the family was isolated, especially in the long Manitoba winters. On the plus side, Herdis and her five siblings dealt with the isolation by developing an impressive portfolio of skills. Herdis could play the accordion and piano, and became an expert at cooking, baking, sewing, knitting, and crocheting, not to mention carpentry. She also became a wonderful painter, and the family still has many of her paintings hanging proudly in our homes.
She met Charlie Maddin at a dance at the Norwood Hotel in 1938. It turned out that they were both accomplished dancers, and it was not long before they were winning jitterbug and swing competitions, dancing to the music of Glenn Miller and the other big band names of that era. They were married on October 23, 1940 and had four children: Ross, Cameron, Janet, and Guy. All four of her children were accomplished in their academic work, in athletics, and in their artistic endeavours.
Herdis was a co-owner of Lil's Beauty Shop at Ellice Avenue and Arlington Street in Winnipeg, along with her sister, Lillian. During this period, she won many awards for her hairstyling, and formed life-long friendships with her clients.
She suffered greatly from the death of her son, Cameron, in 1963, and then lost Charlie in 1977.
Starting in 1978, she became a grandmother to six grandchildren and, in the Icelandic tradition, became known by them as Amma. She loved them all, and we gathered each summer at her cottage at Loni Beach in Gimli, Manitoba on Lake Winnipeg.
Herdis was a proud Icelandic-Canadian and became legendary in Gimli for her mastery of Icelandic delicacies such as Vinarterta and Icelandic donuts called Kleinur. She hosted marvelous dinners for her family and knitted and sewed countless garments for her grandchildren, each of whom she called Elskan (“sweetheart” in Icelandic).
She volunteered for many years at the First Lutheran Church in a group called Dorcas, so named for their charitable works for the poor. Herdis produced food, crafts, and knitted garments and raised considerable amounts of money for the Church.
Herdis was predeceased by her parents, Sigurdur Eyolfson and Kristin Anna Danielsdottir, her husband Charles, her son Cameron, and her siblings, Allan, Lillian, Herbert, Ronald, and Lawrence. She is survived, and will be lovingly missed by, her children, Ross Maddin (Jennifer) of Toronto, Janet Neale (Allan) of Victoria, and Guy Maddin of Winnipeg, her six grandchildren, and her 11 great-grandchildren.
The family will be forever grateful to the staff at the Charleswood Care Centre for their compassion, kindness, and care during her stay there.
There will be a Celebration of Life later when we can all get together in Winnipeg.