When Naomi Chana Coodin (nee Cohen) passed away on January 29, 2015, our community lost an angelic voice, a resilient spirit, and a beautiful soul.
“Nomi” was predeceased by her mother Carole Cohen (nee Shell), and is survived by her beloved husband of 24 years, Sheppy Coodin; sons, Yoni and Elly; father, Jerry Cohen (Susan); sister, Shira (Stu Slayen); brother, Ari (Lisa Ryder Cohen); mother-in-law, Kayla Coodin; brothers- and sisters-in-law, Shalom and Terry Coodin, Dvora and Marshall Braunstein, and Dov Coodin; and many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
Nomi was born in Winnipeg on August 22, 1964. She was raised in Garden City and enjoyed a playful and happy childhood. Always dancing and singing, jumping for joy, she was a bundle of energy. She relished summers in Gimli from childhood right through to last summer when she visited the family cottage for the last time.
As a student, Nomi attended Talmud Torah and Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate, and later graduated with Bachelor’s degrees in education and music from the University of Western Ontario in London.
One of the highlights of her education was her Grade 10 year spent on Kibbutz Kfar Blum in Israel. It was a formative experience that helped shape Nomi’s loving character, her inner-strength, and her independence. And it was on Kfar Blum where she forged a remarkable, enduring friendship with Judy Bornstein.
Nomi was passionate about education and about music. As a gifted elementary school teacher she treated her students with empathy and great respect. She was sensitive to their individual needs and proud of their progress. Her love of the violin was infectious, and her singing voice was heavenly. She welcomed Shabbat with song every week, and her singing at Pesach seders elevated the holiday experience for all who sat with her. Music was at the core of her being.
She shared her love of music with Yoni and Elly, but shared much more than that, too. Nomi was a brilliant parent. She was loving and creative, and succeeded with Sheppy in raising two young men grounded in good values. Nomi and Sheppy’s home has always been a place of joy and play for all who visit – especially on Shabbat, the day of rest.
The pace and serenity of Shabbat epitomized Nomi’s approach to life. She was mindful and deliberate. Whether she was doing a crossword puzzle, eating breakfast, or having a conversation, she was focused and calm. Never in a hurry.
Her illness didn’t change those characteristics. In fact, her gentle, calm, focused energy undoubtedly added quality to her life during her 14 years with cancer.
Nomi was defiant and resilient, rarely letting the disease stand in the way of her having fun with family and friends. She remained engaged and active, going for walks and playing tennis for as long as she could.
We will miss Nomi’s voice, her pace, her genuine laugh, and her beautiful smile.
Funeral services were held February 1 at Chesed Shel Emes, and officiated by Rabbi Ari Ellis and close family friend, Albert Benarroch. Pallbearers were Arnold Shell, Robert Hyman, Steven Hyman, Gary Diamond, David Coodin, and Gilli Braunstein.
The family extends its deep and sincere gratitude to the many doctors, nurses, health care aides, and other hospital personnel who treated Nomi with great skill and determination, with care and with dignity over so many years. We stand in awe of their devotion, and are forever grateful to the teams at CancerCare Manitoba and at St-Boniface Hospital’s Palliative Care Unit.
We are profoundly grateful to the many friends who provided support to Nomi in so many ways throughout her illness.
Friends and family wishing to honour Nomi’s memory are invited to contribute to the “Naomi Coodin Gray Academy Music Fund” at the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba, phone 204-477-7525 (toll free 1-855-284-1918) or donate online at www.jewishfoundation.org.