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Saying goodbye to a Northern man
Edwin Lindberg remembered by family and friends

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, May 12, 2011

LIIDLII KUE/FORT SIMPSON - There was standing room only in the gymnasium in the Fort Simpson recreation centre as family, friends and acquaintances gathered to remember the life and to mourn the death of a true man of the North.

NNSL photo/graphic

Edwin Lindberg, right, seated in his kitchen at Lindberg Landing with his wife Sue will be remembered in the Deh Cho as a true man of the North with a pioneering spirit, one of the last of his kind. - NNSL file photo

Edwin Lindberg died on May 3 at the age of 81 at Long Term Care in Fort Simpson. He had lived with a diagnosis of cancer since 2001. His memorial service was held in the village on May 5.

Edwin will be remembered for his charisma, his generosity and hospitality and for epitomizing a type of Northern lifestyle that’s now rare.

Edwin was born at the old Lindberg homestead approximately a quarter of a mile downriver from what would later become Lindberg Landing. His mother Anna’s family had moved to the region from the Lac la Biche area of Alberta. His father Olaf Lindberg and some friends were headed to Prairie Creek to look for gold but with winter setting in they built a cabin in the Blackstone area, stated Sue Lindberg, Edwin’s wife, in an email.

Edwin was born at the homestead on June 16, 1929. Anna had been to the mission school in Fort Providence and refused to send her sons there. Instead, she taught Edwin and his younger brothers Arnold and Eric how to read and write at home.

Edwin grew up at Blackstone helping his father trap. Olaf died in 1947 and the family moved to Fort Simpson in 1950 because both Edwin and his brother Eric had tuberculosis. Eric died soon after the move.

Edwin went on to spend four years in the hospital in Fort Simpson and another four years at the Charles Camsell Hospital in Edmonton before being discharged. He was taking art lessons in the city when he heard his brother Arnold had been killed in an oil rig explosion so he returned to Fort Simpson to be with his mother.

Edwin then spent a few years working for Northern Canada Power Corporation first in the village and then in Field, B.C. Back in Fort Simpson, around 1961, Edwin started a barge service between the village and Fort Providence to move a variety of items including fresh produce.

While running the barge, Edwin earned the nickname Captain Eddy, a moniker that stuck over the years, Sue stated.

Bob Norwegian of Fort Simpson along with his brother Herb and father Roderick ran the barge in the summer of 1967 for Edwin.

“He was a great inspiration to us,” Norwegian said. “He was up early and one of the last ones to go to bed.”

Norwegian said Edwin was a living link between the trapline and the modern world. Edwin was a type of a pioneer and set the work pace for everyone else to live up to, he said.

Edwin worked hard but he also found enjoyment in singing and playing the guitar. In the 1950s and ‘60s, he was in a country band with the Lafferty boys, including Morris, Peter, Eddie and Bob, said Norwegian.

“He was a good player, too,” Norwegian said.

Edwin was also always on the lookout for business opportunities, said Norwegian.

“He’d find work even though things are very slow,” he said.

It was while running the barge service that Edwin had his daughter Carol met Sue Cliff, who moved to Fort Simpson in September 1962. The couple were married in December 1963.

Sue stated that she has heard Edwin described as charismatic and that more or less sums up his character.

“There was nothing pretentious about him,” she wrote.

As the highway was being built to Fort Simpson, Edwin used his boat and barge to provide ferry service at the Liard River crossing and did so until a proper ferry was available.

In 1979, the couple moved to Lindberg Landing so Edwin could be back home and go trapping. A year later, Edwin bought a sawmill and started to cut lumber for local sale.

At Lindberg Landing, Edwin displayed his hospitality and his love of socializing. Above every storage building he constructed, he made a room for guests because there always seemed to be people coming to visit, Sue stated.

As people boarded with them while they worked in the area, Lindberg Landing soon became thought of as a bed and breakfast. In time, Nahanni Butte Outfitters brought its tandem canoe groups to the landing for its last night during trips.

Edwin was happy to chat with each visitor and share some local lore, stated Sue.

He also loved campfire singsongs with guitars included, stated Margaret Jones.

Margaret and her husband Paul were neighbours with Edwin and Sue for 20 years at Lindberg Landing. When the couple started their air charter business they came out one day to find Edwin had built them a dock.

“That’s typical Edwin, doing things for people without being asked,” stated Margaret in an email.

“He was generous beyond belief.”

Edwin also had a huge love for animals and took in many orphaned or hurt animals and birds. For awhile he had Winston the owl who lived in the house, Margaret stated.

Edwin was also an accomplished artist. The couple have a camping scene he painted for them and his paintings of fungus were terrific, Margaret stated.

Edwin is survived by his wife and daughter as well as by three grandchildren.

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