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Born: Aug 23, 1921

Date of Passing: Oct 15, 2021

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Agnes Bardal Comack led an exceptional life. Her story is remarkable not simply because she lived for a century but also because it is a testament to a woman who dedicated her life to the service of others.
Born in Winnipeg on August 23, 1921 to Arinbjorn and Margrét Bardal, Agnes was the second-youngest of 12 children. She grew up in a home she cherished on the bank of the Red River in North Kildonan and spent her childhood getting into mischief with her sister Margrét Stefania while her father ran the Bardal Funeral Home and her mother took care of the family. As a child, she was encouraged to study piano and take up embroidery and knitting, which she continued throughout her life. Every member of her large family can attest to her incredible skill with their own collection of her knitted hats, socks, mitts, and sweaters - often made of Icelandic wool.
Agnes graduated from the nursing program at Winnipeg General Hospital as a Registered Nurse in 1943 and worked in military hospitals across the country. Anyone who knows Agnes has heard of the mustard plasters and diligent aseptic techniques she used at the time. It was in 1945, while working at the Deer Lodge Hospital in Winnipeg, that she met Hugh Comack, back from the war and recovering from surgery. They were married just a year later - a marriage that lasted 67 years. Agnes and Hugh had four children - Margrét (Mitchell), Donald (Jude), Elizabeth (Wayne), and Alyson (Scott) - and their family grew to include 10 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
Whether it was building a cottage on Caddy Lake as a gathering place for her family, teaching herself to sew and making clothes, drapes, and bedspreads from upcycled material, developing her artistic and writing talents in her 50s, staying physically active, or maintaining correspondence with her massive list of friends and family, Agnes was not one to sit idly by while life happened around her.
The true matriarch of our family, Agnes Bardal Comack - often referred to as "Angel Ammie, love of my life" by her little boosies (at her suggestion, of course) - was ultimately a woman who held family and relationships in the highest regard. She lived her life from a place of connection, never letting life's challenges inform how she showed up in the world. From bubbly child to caring nurse to impeccable hostess to the social butterfly of her retirement home, Agnes lived her father's adage: "You've got to know your connections."
Agnes left this world on October 15, 2021, knowing that she had been well loved by so many and that she had fulfilled her duty in making sure her family appreciates the depth of their roots. A private family service has been held to honour her life.
It was Agnes' wish that donations in her memory be made to the Neil Bardal Scholarship Fund of the Jon Sigurdsson Chapter IODE fund c/o 111-132 Marrington Road, Winnipeg, MB R3T 5Y5.


As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Oct 23, 2021

Condolences & Memories (6 entries)

  • I first visited Agnes in Winnipeg in 2008, eager to learn more about the fascinating Icelandic roots of my maternal grandmother, Agnes’s aunt. Agnes shared her memories, photographs, and extensive genealogical research with me. She toured me around Winnipeg to places steeped in Bardal history. I looked forward each year to her magical Christmas cards and newsy letter. Her two books “This, Too, Will Happen to You” and “Knowing your Connections” are testaments to her love of family, Winnipeg, and her Icelandic heritage. I am honoured to have met Agnes and am grateful for the stories she shared. My sincere condolences to the family. - Posted by: Miji Campbell (Second cousin and friend) on: Nov 04, 2021

  • On behalf of the WGH/HSC Nursing Alumni we extend our sincerest condolences to Agnes's family and friends. We were blessed having Agnes, she was generous, notably, she gifted her hand drawn cards, she was inspiring, supportive, a great friend to everyone. Agnes was an exceptional class rep, keeping in touch with her classmates even as as approached her 100th birthday. As well, attending Homecoming, the last for Agnes was her 76th, 2019! Agnes will be remembered. - Posted by: MARIAN Ulyatt (WGH/HSC Nursing Alumni Friendship Convenor) on: Nov 01, 2021

  • How sad it was to learn that Ag has passed away. She was a very special lady and will be missed. I didn't get to know her until she moved into the Wellington where my mother was living. It was quite something that four Winnipeg General Hospital nursing classmates should, for a time, all live in the same place, so many years after living in residence together. I know she looked out for my Mom which I really appreciated. I think Mom saved every Class of 1943 newsletter and card Ag ever sent. Her hand drawn Christmas cards were wonderful. After my Mom passed away it was nice to go back to the Wellington and see Ag. We'd visit over coffee or lunch or in her apartment. Of course, we always had Caddy Lake to talk about. Ag loved the cottage she and Hugh built and was so pleased it stayed in the family. I was very impressed that she swam across the lake and I will always think of her when we boat by her Caddy cottage. Ag made living a very long life look easy. She always looked terrific, was always smiling, happy and busy. I will try and follow her advice about keeping active. It certainly worked for her. She accomplished her goals of writing her Bardal family history and living to be 100 years old! It was my pleasure to know her. With sympathy, Linda S. - Posted by: Linda S. (Friend) on: Oct 31, 2021

  • So many special memories of Auntie Agnes. Her strength, courage, and love continues to inspire me. Love Maureen - Posted by: Maureen Coe (Niece) on: Oct 24, 2021

  • My condolences go out to Kaylie on the passing of Mrs. Bardal Comack. I used to be enrolled in swimming and athletics with Special Olympics Manitoba. Kaylie and I had fun in the Bridge the Gap program when Andrea was our coach and cheered on each other with Nancy at swim meets! - Posted by: Philip Bialk (Friend of Kaylie) on: Oct 24, 2021

  • I first met Agnes, thru Don, when I was 16 years old. It was a brief intro, I was invited inside to wait on the front landing (Valleyview Dr.) while Don was getting ready to head out for a Saturday evening at a friends house. Agnes flowed to the head of the stairs and in a less than 3 minute conversation I felt as though I had met a lifelong friend, gladly answering all questions about myself, my family, my view on the state of the universe… As I’ve spent most of my life residing outside of Winnipeg I didn’t get to see her often. One thing I’ve always cherished is Agnes and Hugh always included me as though I was family. I consider myself blessed for the opportunity to have the Comack family as part of my life. Agnes was a great individual, she will be revered by many. - Posted by: Dean Wilson (Family friend ) on: Oct 23, 2021

Neil Bardal Inc. (Winnipeg)

Neil Bardal Inc. (Winnipeg)

3030 Notre Dame Ave (Map)
Ph: 2049492200 | Visit Website

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