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GUSDAL, ERNEST AND LILLIlAN

by Patricia Gusdal my Father, my Family

The turn of the century brought great ch prairies. It was during this time that groups f farmers, many of Scandinavian descent, began to spi lover the border from the northern States in search of a brighter future. They left behind the tornadoes, the hI at and the dust.

One Norwegian family, Matthais Gusdal a d his wife Petra, made this journey from their farm nea De Graff, Minnesota to the Danvers District near Erickson, Manitoba. Among the children who accomp nied their parents, was a 5-year old boy named Erne t Fredrick Gusdal, born near De Graffe in 1905. He is th subject of this history.

Ernest recalls the excitement he felt in movi home but the journey by train was tedious or such a small boy. He remembers that his father r de in the freight cars with the stock. One of the most es ential and prized possessions which the family brought along was the cookstove. Years later, Ernest made the bottom of this stove into a coffee table for his home, a entimental reminder of those early days.

The family settled in the Danvers District 0 the south half of Section 18 near Rolling River in 1911. They lived in the house of the previous owner until a new home was completed in 1912.

In those early years, Ernest lived a life simil r to other farm boys of the district. He completed Gr des 1-8 at Tales School, Grade 9 at Erickson School and wor­ shipped at Bethel Lutheran Church where he was con­ firmed in the Norwegian Language. After a~ending to farm chores Ernest recalls the enjoyment of ri ing a farm horse named "Old Mini." He also liked h nting and' especially playing baseball. On the Danver Baseball Team he played the position of short stop.

Ernest has many fond memories of his child ood days.

He remembers the enjoyable church and sch 01 picnics and other social events. The values of hard work and Christian faith were instilled by loving parents.

In 1921, at the age of 16 years, Ernest left th farm and joined the Royal Bank. He worked in Wi nipeg and Lundar gaining experience for his long and successful career in business.

Seven years later, in 1928, he returned to Enckson and purchased a confectionery store from Abe doner. This business, the site of the present day Post ffice, was located between the Marinus Neilson Garage a d Doner's Store. The sale of confections was later a anged to general goods and the establishment became known as "E.F. Gusdal General Store." The store provi ed a place for socializing among friends and neighbol rs. Some stayed all day! Ernest recalls that his largest selling item was flour. He remembers that Orville usdal, his nephew, and Maurice Brekke were among the young fellows he hired to work after school. EI era Olson Shellborn also worked at his store for some yed;s.

Owning a general store at the height of the Depression was a rewarding but often trying experience. ~t was hard to see the poverty so many experienced. Er I est recalls

giving credit on his faith in the goodness of human nature. He remembers the rationing of sugar when his customers were required to turn in their vouchers in order for him to replenish his stock. The farmers who arrived from Saskatchewan were given food vouchers by the provincial government which provided some revenue for the store.

In 1942 Ernest and his brother Philip Gusdal bought the trucking franchise for Clear Lake-Erickson to Winnipeg. It was sold in 1946. During the years Ernest owned the store, he was also involved in business at Clear Lake. In 1930 he and his brother O. J. Gusdal built the Wigwam Restaurant. Three years later, in 1933, Ernest and his father-in-law, Gotfrid Johnson, became partners in Johnson Cabins, a business in which Ernest remained active. His is the singular distinction of maintaining the longest period of successful business ownership at Clear Lake -- 53 years.

Lillian Olga Johnson was born near Otter Lake on Easter Sunday, March 23, 1913, the first child of Gotfrid and Olga Johnson. At the age of three she moved with her family to Beaumont, Texas where her father worked in the shipyards. The family returned to the Scandinavia District in 1920 where she and her brother, Herbert, attended school. Lillian was confirmed at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Erickson. She also completed Grade Ten at Erickson School.

One of the most memorable and happy events of Lillian's childhood occurred on her 10th birthday when a loving father presented her with a set of doll furniture made by his own hands. Today this is one of the most treasured possessions of our family. Lillian also had many fond memories of the early years she spent at Clear Lake where her father was a builder of log structures and the owner of Wasagaming Lodge and Johnson Cabins.

Ernest married Lillian Johnson in 1932 at Neepawa, Manitoba. They were both active in community and church affairs. Ernest was trustee and treasurer of their church, Bethel Lutheran. He was also a school trustee and a fund raiser for both the curling and skating rinks. Being an avid sportsman, Ernest enjoyed curling, hunting and riding. During the years he owned the store, he and his son Gary kept riding ponies. Lillian was an avid worker in women's groups in the community and at Bethel Lutheran Church. She was a charter member of the Erickson Women's Institute.

Ernest and Lillian had two children, a son Gary Maurice born in 1934 and a daughter Patricia Anne born in 1945. Both children completed Grade 12 at Erickson School and were confirmed in Bethel Lutheran Church. During their school years, Gary excelled in sports and Patricia in music. Gary Gusdal, an executive with Canada Post lives in Vancouver with his wife Laurie (nee Marquette). After obtaining her B.A. and teaching certificate, Patricia taught for nine years at George Fitton School in Brandon, a great deal of it in the field of music. For the past twenty-five years this musical talent has given her much enjoyment as a soloist, organist and choir director. She is presently the owner-manager of the family business, Johnson Cabins at Clear Lake. Ernest's grandson, E.F. (Shane) Gusdal, a student of St. George's School for Boys in Vancouver, spends his summers

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