Lisa Wiborg is one of the quintessential people in the Scandinavian community of the San Francisco Bay area. She has been active in so many things, both Swedish and Norwegian, that she certainly holds a special place in the hearts of all her countrymen.
Born Lisa Gustafsson in Örebro, Närke, Sweden, she was very active in a volunteer’s defense service displaying her resourcefulness and natural gifts to such a high degree that she won a prize for being the best lottery salesperson. The prize was presented to her by Queen Louise. It was an extraordinary beginning for a future doyenne of the Swedish/Norwegian community in San Francisco.
Lisa first worked at a bank in Örebro. She received a scholarship to go to England for further training. She was an active member of “Lottakåren,” a volunteer group of young women who assisted the military. Later Bilkåren trained these girls to drive all sorts of vehicles, and they had to deal with problems associated with vehicular transportation, such as changing a tire on a bus.
Eventually, her interest turned to America and she came first to Rochester, New York in 1954. Lisa continued her travels to Florida, then by bus to Chicago and finally to San Francisco. The city captured her heart and she has lived here for almost 60 years.
She worked at American Trust Company/Wells Fargo downtown and was soon introduced to the Swedish community in San Francisco. Her second marriage was to Norwegian Christian Fredrik Wiborg in 1964. He was involved in the shipping business and soon had Lisa busy as well, guiding visitors and arranging special activities for them. Their marriage was a success and she has frequently said their years together were the happiest of her life. He died in 1979.

Scandinavian though and through
Her entry into the Young Scandinavian Club was a fortuitous one. She was their first woman president 1961-64. During her tenure they purchased property in Lake County and Lake Tahoe. She started the Lucia celebration in 1957 for that club and later introduced the ceremony to SWEA and the Norwegian Seaman’s Church. The Swedish American Chamber of Commerce also benefited from her managing a Lucia ceremony. She was often involved as a hostess, finding sponsors and making contacts for visitors from Scandinavia. Lisa seemed equally at home doing the dishes after parties and being the honored guest with many important visitors.
She has been an active member of the Swedish Club, Tabitha Norwegian Ladies, Fiske Klubben Riddare, Young Scandinavians, Utile Dulci, Norwegian Seaman’s Church, Swedish Church Abroad, SWEA (Swedish Women’s Education Association) and served on many special committees. She was the organizer of the Friends of Vestkusten Champagne receptions which helped to keep that paper afloat. Lisa received the Merit Award from the Swedish Council of America presented by Ambassador Jan Eliason in 2000. Almost all of these organizations have honored her for her leadership and participation in Norwegian and Swedish cultural events. In 1976 she presented King Carl Gustav with an engagement gift from the Swedish Community of San Francisco on his impending marriage to the future Queen Silvia.
No task is too small or too large for her special talents. Lisa is most gracious with a warm smile for everyone. She is known and respected by all and it is always a special treat to see her in action. In 1974 she was awarded the Vasa Order First Class by Sweden. On November 11, 2012 she was honored by the Norwegian Seaman’s Church as the first person to receive a Lifetime Honorary Membership.
Lisa Wiborg lives in a charming house that overlooks the site of the San Francisco 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition. Her view is of the Palace of Fine Arts and the beautiful lake in front of this facility. It is a fitting palace for this queen.


Muriel Nelson Beroza