Life and Work
Hilda was born in Buxton, North Dakota on July 03, 1891. Her parents, Jone and Aaste Knudsvig, emigrated from the County of Telemark, Norway. Hilda was fourth in a family of ten (seven girls and three boys.)
In 1908 the Knudsvig family move to Bergen, Alberta. John Alfred Mjolsness accompanied the Knudsvig family on this move and in the doing started a lovely romance with Hilda that culminated in marriage in Bergen on August 15, 1911.
Hilda and John lived for seventeen years in Didsbury, Alberta where John was the town electrical engineer and ran the powerhouse. During these years Hilda and John’s seven children were born. With the coming of the Calgary Power Company and the Great Depression of the thirties, the family moved first to Red Deer (1928), then to Innisfail (1929) and back to Bergen in 1932 until John’s tragic death in 1938.
In the fall of 1939, Hilda moved to Edmonton and lived there for the next fifteen years, watching over her family as the children married and dispersed. On July 14, 1954, Hilda married David Bryce and settled on the Bryce farm on Oldfield Road, out of Victoria on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. After ten happy and active years together, David died in 1964.
Hilda suffered a stroke in 1966. Her remaining sixteen years were not easy, but in her usual style Hilda met them with courage, spirit and deep religious faith. These extra years gave her grandchildren and her great grandchildren the very special opportunity and privilege to know “Grandma” and “Great Grandma”. Confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak; she was aware, knowledgeable and outreaching, as always. Her constant strength, courage and deep faith not only sustained her through the years but were an inspiration to her family and the many friends who came to visit and share memories of yesteryear and the affairs of the day.
No brief history of time and place can hope to capture the fullness and richness of the life of woman like Hilda, as she met the challenges of a pioneering existence, a large family, the premature death of her first husband, and the dramatic changes wrought in the twentieth century; a woman who achieved two happy marriages and created homes renowned for their warmth and generous hospitality. She has given love unstintingly; she has given understanding, no matter the circumstance; she has lightened the burdens with humor and taught us all the value of faith.
Visits and letters were a vital part of Hilda’s life-stream that kept her head high and her spirit undaunted. To know about…to be aware of… to have a vivid picture of the births, weddings the growing up, the making of careers, the travels, the joys and the sorrows of her extended family and great network of friends was the very essence of Hilda’s character. Knowing and caring; loving and compassionate; sensitive and wise… Hilda was a strong yet gentle woman; a grace on earth. Her presence and embrace are our blessing.