Edvin Sjomansson

Philanthropist and man of the world


Tall, gaunt, and raw-boned, Edvin never quite filled out the frame of his Viking ancestors. He has a long, hollow-cheeked face, unruly brown hair and blue eyes like shards of frosty sky, with deep laugh-lines. Though he can certainly dress for success, he prefers to go through his days in corduroys, sandals, and his own handmade knitwear. He’s rarely seen outside without his cane, a length of sharp ashwood, ringed with iron and topped with a silver ship’s wheel, and never seen at all without his ship’s wheel medallion.


Born to the Icelandic branch of an old Norwegian family, Edvin was raised in Norway, where he attended the most progressive schools and spent his summers working for his uncle, explorer and ethnographer Thor Heyerdahl. He never got to go on one of Thor’s famous expeditions, and so resolved to sail the seas on his own — a resolution he has religiously kept.

Edvin got his bachelor’s in comparative mythology at Oxford, his master’s in computer engineering at Stanford — his friends teased he was “built ’Ford smart.” He worked for Apple when its HQ was a garage, for Groupe Bull in France, and Nintendo in Japan. He always insisted on working at each company’s home office, always got moved in his bluewater sailboat, Vindkylling, and always got equity.

By the early 1990s, he was wealthy enough to found Rormann International, a progressive investment company with money in both tech booms. Managing to pull his investments before the Second Depression, Edvin Sjomansson’s worth was estimated to be in the dozens of millions. He summarily invested most of it in schools and charities across California, his only requirement that none of them be religious.

When he’s lived in the US, he’s lived in Los Gatos (well, El Sereno…) and so his money has helped renovated Los Gatos High School, and move the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad to Oak Meadow Park. Edvin sits on the board of trustees at both Stanford and San Jose State, and the Los Gatos and San Jose rotary clubs. He still sails Vindkylling when he can, and takes daily hikes, aided by his heirloom walking stick.

Though linked with many beautiful ladies and gentlemen, Sjomansson never married or had children, though his El Sereno house sometimes hosts any number of visiting nephews and nieces.

Edvin Sjomannson has lived a fascinating life and seen many unusual things, and taken them all more-or-less in stride. He grew up on tales of trolls from his mother, ancient ruins from his uncle Thor, studied mythology in the hoary halls of Oxford and the limitless possibilities of technology at Stanford. He’s met some of the movers and shakers of the millennium’s turn, and traveled to some of the darkest corners of the globe. Very little frightens Edvin Sjomansson, though new discoveries still delight him.

Edvin Sjomansson

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