Thomson (nee Thorsteinson), Bertha (1888-1975)

Born in Iceland, Bertha emigrated from Isafhjorfur to Winnipeg in 1893.  Her family homesteaded in the Holar District in southeastern Saskatchewan.  After training as a nurse at the Winnipeg General Hospital, Bertha went overseas with the Canadian Expeditionary Force where she served until the end of World War I.

After the war she trained in Public Health at UBC, then worked in the Vancouver General Hospital.  She married Roy Thomson in 1925, but he died when Bertha was forty-three, leaving her with two small children.  She moved to Keremeos, where she nursed in primitive conditions to improve the health of the residents.

From 1947 to 1954 she ran Hofn, the Icelandic Care Home in Vancouver.  Later she lived in New York and Toronto before returning for her final years in Vancouver.  Her life was characterized by selfless care and service to her family and community.

Contents of Biographical File

  1. CEF Soldier Detail for Nursing Sister Bertha Thorsteinson
  2. Gerardi, Josephine, “My mother, Bjorg (Jonsdottir) Thorsteinson (Thomson): A Story of a Five-foot Two-inch Titan”, Logberg-Heinskringla, Fostudagur, July 11, 2003, pp. 12-13.
  3. Backgrounder to the Icelandic Care Home Hofn Society