Dec 28, 1929 - Nov 22, 2018
Unexpectedly, in the comfort of his home, aged 88.
Survived and forever cherished by his sister Betty Wexler, his children Ron (Debbie), Beth and Del, his grandchildren Zach Morton, Vanessa Rose, Tammy Brant and Matt Brant (Kerri). He was Alter-Zayde to great-grandchildren Alex Evans (Bree), Mackenzie Evans-Brant, Andrew Brant, and his newly-arrived great-great-granddaughter Raina Evans. He also leaves behind his adored grandpuppy Molly.
Predeceased by Lois, his beloved wife of 52 years, his sister Sarah, parents Sam and Rose, and his grandpuppy Sasha.
Arnold spent his childhood and early adult life in Winnipeg’s North End. He trained in the Cadets as the Second World War came to a close. A good student, notable amongst his extracurricular activities were the acting chops he displayed in local theatrical productions – he was a crowd pleaser. Learning piano wasn’t in the family budget, so after landing his first full time job, he purchased his own piano (on payments) and signed up for lessons. His love of classical music lasted his lifetime; he ensured his children all had lessons, and he enjoyed playing piano right up to this year.
Arnold and Lois chose to raise their children in River Heights. With Lois an only child, and Arnold’s elder sisters having moved to the U.S., he became the extended family care giver – modelling after his beloved Auntie Jennie Nathanson (née Gorsky), a Second World War nurse who relocated to Winnipeg to care for Arnold’s mother in the 1940s. He treasured his long distance telephone relationships with each of his sisters into their 90s, and Arnold’s attention to and care of elder relatives, including Jennie herself well into her late 90s, continues to resonate with his children today as a firsthand example of how to respect family.
While Arnold was Dad to Ron and Beth, he was Del’s Pa. Their special bond grew ever stronger and more meaningful, and these last years she became his best friend. Arnold was fiercely proud of his children and grandchildren and their accomplishments – ask anyone within earshot. He revelled in their adventures and achievements in school, sports, relationships, the arts and in the workplace; and if he wasn’t present, he thirsted for firsthand accounts of their activities. He and Lois embraced all that makes our City an amazing place to raise a family – from library visits to theatre, exploring beaches and parks, camping on summer vacations, museums, community centre events and extra-curricular sports and music. His face lit up at the sound or sight of his grandchildren, in a way that made you verklempt.
A hardworking and dedicated employee, the largest part of his distinguished business career until retirement was as General Manager at Imperial Agencies – a confectionary distributor. Trips to the candy showroom and the warehouse were highly prized by his children and their friends, and sparked many school fundraisers.
Arnold involved himself and his family in the Winnipeg community. His and Lois’ lifelong friendships had their origins in the 1960s among founders of Temple Shalom, where his roles included ritual committee chairman through the synagogue’s formative years, and he subsequently purchased and donated the storied Margolis Torah to its membership. Following retirement and a move downtown, Arnold and Lois enjoyed the connectivity of the walkway system, and were enthusiastic patrons of local theatre and festivals. Arnold started the Portage Place Residents Association, partnering with City Police and local business groups to improve living conditions in the downtown. He sat on the Winnipeg Public Library Board, and volunteered as a tour guide for the Winnipeg Art Gallery where he revelled as much in the visitors he engaged with each shift, as learning about the artwork. A longstanding force behind LWTB (lunch with the boys) club – he helped keep a disparate group of friends and extended family in touch. And after passing the torch, he looked forward to catching up at these “events” most recently together with his cousin Marsha. His easygoing manner and sense of humour meant Arnold was always popular amongst neighbours and staff at Place Promenade, The Boulton, Charleswood Adult Day Club and Lions Manor.
Again and again, we're hearing that Arnold put the “gentle” in “gentleman." His devoted daughter-in-law Debbie referred to him as her teddy bear. He always went out of his way to express his appreciation to family and care givers and medical professionals, and so while we want to thank all those who supported and cared for him since Lois passed in 2007, we know he’s already done that himself many times over.
Please honour Arnold by spending time with precious family; those so inclined may donate to a charity of your choice. He leaves us with the important reminder that a big life is not a requirement to leave a big legacy.