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Alberta Online Encyclopedia


  • Barbara Gullickson

    Barbara Gullickson grew up on a farm north of Barons, Alberta. She graduated from high school in Barons. Following a secretarial program at Mount Royal College in Calgary she married Leroy (Roy) Gullickson.

    Currently, Barbara is a member of the Alberta Estonian Heritage Society and the Barons & District Historical Society. She is the Chairperson of the Barons 2010 Group, an organization planning the 100 year celebration of Barons as a community.

  • Dave Kiil

    Dave Kiil was born in 1936 on the island of Saaremaa, Estonia - the largest island in the Baltic Sea. In 1944, Dave's family made the difficult decision of fleeing their country when Soviet forces arrived commencing an unwelcome occupation that lasted some fifty years.

    Dave attended high school and university in Toronto, graduating from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Science in Forestry in 1960. His career in forestry took him to Calgary to initiate a forest fire research program in the province of Alberta.

    Following several trips to the land of his ancestors, Dave's interests shifted to family history research and involvement in the Edmonton Estonian Society. In 2004, he contributed to the formation of the Alberta Estonian Heritage Society, a province-wide organization dedicated to preserve Estonian heritage.

  • Robert Kingsep

    Robert (Bob) is a grandson of Henry and Emilie Kingsep, the first Estonian pioneers to homestead in Alberta. Bob attended high school in Eckville and continued his education in Edmonton, establishing a career as a computer systems analyst.

    As a descendant of Alberta's first Estonian pioneers, Bob was invited to co-host the 1999 Alberta Estonian Centennial celebrations in Stettler. Inspired by the events in Stettler Bob became an active member of the Alberta Estonian Heritage Society and became president of the newly formed organization in 2007.

  • Arne Matiisen

    Arne Matiisen was born in Tallinn to Voldemar (Volli) and Rita Matiisen. Arne completed Grade 12 in 1957 and attended the University of Alberta on a Wheat Pool Scholarship. Upon graduation, he began what turned out to be a 40 year career in the oil industry, working in both Canada and abroad. At the University of Alberta, Arne met his future wife Carolyn Ray Wilfley. They married in 1962 and have two daughters, Janet Ray and Melanie Gail, and a granddaughter Arabelle Ray.

    In retirement, Arne and Carolyn split the summer season between their home in Calgary and their cabin at Hidden Valley. Winters are enjoyed in their RV touring the southern United States.

  • Eda McClung

    Eda Matiisen McClung was born in Tallinn, Estonia to Voldemar (Volli) and Rita Matiisen in 1943. The following year, her parents along with their sons Hendo and Arne fled to Sweden to escape Soviet occupation. Continuing political uncertainty in Europe convinced the family to immigrate to the Eckville/Gilby area of central Alberta in 1948.

    Eda completed school at Eckville in 1962 and like her brothers before her, attended the University of Alberta. She graduated with a Masters degree in Counselling Psychology leading to a career at the University Hospital in the area of Adult Psychiatry.

    In 2005, the province-wide Alberta Estonian Heritage Society was formed. Eda serves on its Board and is active in several projects including the 2007 production of the DVD "Alberta's Estonians" and the Heritage Community Foundation website project entitled "Alberta's Estonian Heritage".

  • Evelyn Shursen

    Evelyn Shursen was born in Stettler, Alberta in 1939, the eldest child of Paul and Agnes Klaus. Her grandfather, Juri Klaus, immigrated to Canada from Estonia in 1902. As a child growing up in Alberta, Evelyn heard numerous stories about her Estonian heritage, particularly on the life of her grandfather. Evelyn graduated from high school in Stettler and enrolled at the University of Alberta where she became a teacher. She taught at Stettler Junior High School for 35 years before retiring in 1994.

  • Lori Sparrow

    Lori Sparrow is a fifth generation Estonian descendant. Her great great grandfather, John Kinna, was one of the original pioneer families that settled in the Medicine Valley near Eckville, Alberta. Lori maintains fond memories of growing up in this area and retaining her Estonian heritage.

    Lori is a registered nurse for the David Thompson Health region and resides on a farm north of Eckville with her husband Rick Sparrow and their three young children, Lexi, Evan and Reed.

  • Robert Tipman

    Bob Tipman is a descendant of the Tipmans, an Estonian family who migrated to Canada from Nurmekunde, a village near Tver, Russia in 1902. Bob grew up on a farm near Stettler, Alberta. He enrolled at university and obtained a PhD in Mineral Engineering.

    Bob represented Alberta's Estonian community as a member of the Alberta Cultural Heritage Council from 1979 to 1984, and the Alberta Cultural Heritage Foundation from 1985 to 1988. From 2005 to 2006, he served as the first ever president of the Alberta Estonian Heritage Society.

    Bob is married to Cathy and they have two children who reside in Calgary and Saskatoon. He remains semi-retired living in Calgary but spends his winter months in Mexico.

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Alberta's Estonian Heritage
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