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Matiisen Family

Members of the Matiisen family arrived in Canada at varying points in their lives. They all serve as fine examples of inter-war and post-World War II Estonian immigrants arriving in Alberta. Alfred Matiisen arrived in Canada in June 1929. He worked on various farms in central and southern Alberta for 3 years. In 1932 he arrived in Eckville where he worked on the farm of John Moro. The following year he married Amanda Moro and, together, they purchased their first farm. They farmed in Eckville until 1970 when they retired to the moderate climate of Summerland, British Columbia. Winters were spent in Hawaii in ambitious efforts to seek solace in its unrelenting sunshine and avoid Canada's inevitable snow storms.

Arnold and Salme Matiisen immigrated to Canada in 1937. After a brief stay in Mundare, Alberta they arrived in the Eckville district circa 1940. Their children, Tina and Rein, grew up on the farm and later attended the University of Alberta. Tina received a Bachelor of Arts in history followed by a Master's degree in library science from McGill University. Rein completed a Bachelor of Science and a Master's degree in civil engineering.

Voldemar and Rita Matiisen and their two children Eda and Arne settled in the Medicine Valley area in 1948 where they were reunited with Voldemar\'s twin brothers Arnold and Alfred. The Matiisens were active in the Medicine Valley Estonian Society until the early 1980s.The Matiisens were actively involved in the Medicine Valley Estonian Society Voldemar Matiisen, sponsored by his two brothers, Arnold and Alfred, arrived in Canada with his wife Rita and their three children. They were Hendo, Arne and Eda. Desperately trying to avoid the perils of World War II, they had lived in Sweden for four years prior to immigrating to Canada. Rita and Voldemar emigrated to Alberta in 1948 and settled in Medicine Valley. In spite of their professional backgrounds in dentistry and forestry, they farmed outside of nearby Eckville, joining other Estonian families. Aside from farming, Voldemar also worked in the oil field sector and Rita became a school teacher. All of their children attended the University of Alberta.

Now retired from farming, the Matiisen's continued to live in their farmhouse. During his retirement, Voldemar researched and compiled the history of Estonians in the Medicine Valley, recognizing their significance as pioneers in the area.

Rita retired in Red Deer following the death of her husband. She soon became an active supporter of the Red Deer and District Museum where she served as a member of the Board. Her continued work on behalf of the community earned her an Alberta Achievement Award in 1984. Rita and Voldemar are buried at the Gilby Kalmu Cemetery.

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