Arnold Frieman — family man, philanthropist, businessman and Holocaust survivor —died peacefully on Friday, April 6, 2019, surrounded by his family.
Arnold is survived by his adored wife of 58 years, Myra — the love of his life, partner and advocate — and their beloved daughters and their husbands, Nona and Ashley Leibl and Gina and Jea Guertin. He also leaves his cherished grandchildren Marli Leibl and Josh Vickar, Lexi Leibl, Benji Leibl, Mara and Benji Ostrove, Cayli Weinberg and Sara and Warren Gardiner. He was thrilled to welcome into his family his cherished great-grandchildren Emerson and Brooks Vickar and Cameron Ostrove. He also leaves his sister, Elizabeth Samuel, his sister-in-law, Rita Silver, his nieces and nephews and many friends.
Arnold’s family is his legacy — and his revenge against the murderous tyranny of Hitler’s Nazis.
Arnold was born in Hungary in 1928, one of six children in a tight-knit Orthodox Jewish family whose happy life was destroyed by the Holocaust. He went to a Jewish elementary school, but his town lacked a Jewish secondary school and his parents sent him to relatives in Budapest for further education. He was there when he heard that Jews outside Budapest were being rounded up and shipped out of the country. To help save his family, he headed home, but by the time he arrived his family was gone. Everyone — his mother, father, two brothers, three sisters and his maternal grandfather — had been deported to Auschwitz.
As a teenager, alone, Arnold survived an odyssey of flight, capture, forced labour, prisoner-of-war camp and miraculous escape across four countries. After the war he was selected for transfer from a displaced persons’ camp near Bergen-Belsen to Norway, where he received medical care, returned to school and eventually studied electronics. In 1947 he was recruited to fight in the Israeli War of Independence. In the Israeli Air Force he put his electronics training to use and — another miracle —discovered that two of his sisters, Elizabeth and Edith, had survived Auschwitz and were living in the nascent Jewish state. Despite their happy reunion, at the end of 1949 he returned to Norway.
In 1951 Arnold’s desire to see imagined worlds drew him across the Atlantic Ocean to Canada. He was on his way to an arranged job in Windsor, Ont., but on a whim headed for Winnipeg — where he hoped to find the Wild West he had fallen in love with as a child through the movies. He arrived in Winnipeg in May 1951 penniless, alone and knowing four languages, none of them English.
He found a job and new friends, one of whom, Minnie Heft, encouraged him to pursue a university education. He hesitated, fearing that poor English and a lack of money would stand in his way, but he passed the entrance exam. With a $1,000 gift from Mrs. Heft, he was able to start a business to finance his studies: He fixed and re-sold car radios purchased from wrecking yards.
Arnold’s four years at the University of Manitoba were transformative. He had been a wild teenager and young adult, but the university experience stabilized him. Arnold graduated in 1960 with a bachelor of arts degree and a renewed belief in possibilities — as well as the love of Myra Thompson, whom he had met on her 18th birthday at a Hillel House debate he was moderating. Seven months later they were married. Their daughter Nona was born a year later, their daughter Gina 17 months after that.
Persuaded to go into business by Myra, Arnold in 1962 bought a two-person television sales and service shop from which they also sold car radios and the hot new thing — television sets. Within 12 years, the shop had been transformed into Advance Electronics, a multi-million-dollar business with 170 employees. It remains the largest independently owned retail and professional electronics stores in Western Canada.
One of the great joys of Arnold’s success was his ability to give back to the community. He and Myra have supported nearly 50 provincial, national and international organizations and institutions. They range from iconic arts groups, such as the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and Manitoba Opera, to small, grassroots causes. Among the beneficiaries of his generosity was the premiere of I Believe, a Holocaust oratorio that helps people everywhere appreciate the importance of peace and justice. He was a devoted supporter of Israel and his many contributions to his alma mater include support for the University of Manitoba-University of Szeged Partnership, which funds exchanges between Hungarian and Manitoban scholars. Arnold’s inclusive style of philanthropy encouraged creativity, kindness and many of the other qualities that he treasured in his adopted home.
Over the years, his achievements have been recognized with numerous honours, most notably his induction into the Order of Manitoba in 2006 and the awarding of an honorary doctor of laws degree in 2018 by the University of Manitoba, which cited him as an exceptional global citizen and builder of his community.
A funeral was held on Monday, April 8, 2019, at Shaarey Zedek Synagogue. Arnold’s dear friend Rabbi Alan Green, the former senior rabbi at Congregation Shaarey Zedek, returned from Iowa to deliver the eulogy. Burial was at Shaarey Zedek Cemetery.
Pallbearers were Ashley Leibl, Jea Guertin, Norman Silver, Shane Silver, Michael Silver, Josh Vickar and Benji Ostrove. Honorary pallbearers were Peter Robertson, Robby Olynik, Steve Samuel and Oded Samuel.
Memorial donations may be made to the Jewish National Fund or the Benji Leibl Special Needs Fund through the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba.
On Monday, July 3, 2023, at home, after a short illness, Harry Reiss passed away at the age of 93. He was the beloved husband of 55 years to Vicky Reiss (Shumsky), who predeceased
him, as did his parents, Ira and Raizel Reiss. He is survived by his children, Jeffrey, wife Marlis,
grandchildren Sheena, Anita, and Leanna; Alan; and Ken, wife Sonya, grandchildren
Chloe, Noah, and Charlie; younger siblings, Sam Reiss, Edward Reiss, and Ida Alpern; and his partner Honey Kowall.
Harry was born in Dunajow, Poland and escaped at age nine with his immediate family due to the growing threat of war and the Holocaust. They left Poland on the “Alaunia” of the Cunard White Star Line, eventually arriving in Halifax on April 16, 1939, then arriving by train to Winnipeg on April 19th, proceeding to Brooksby, Saskatchewan, before eventually settling on a farmstead in Edenbridge, SK, where Harry went to school and helped out on the farm. At age seventeen, due to financial reasons, Harry needed to leave school to find work and arrived in Winnipeg, working 70-hour weeks in a fur coat factory. In 1951, he went to New York City where he stayed with relatives to attend a 6-month course in Fur Designing & Fur Cutting at the Sol Vogel School of Designing. Upon his return to Winnipeg, Harry started his own business in the basement of his parents’ house (who had moved to Wpg. with his siblings earlier that year), sewing patterns and selling fur coats to department stores, in addition to bringing his father, uncle Joe, and brother Sam into the venture. Later, the business expanded first to James St. and later to the Bedford Building on McDermot & King, where it remained thereafter and known as Reiss Furs, engaged in both wholesale and retail sales. Over the years, Harry and his partner Sam, developed an extremely successful enterprise, becoming the largest furrier business in Western Canada, renowned for their high-end garments, with international celebrities and royalty amoungst their clientele. Indeed, they were the last independent furrier in Winnipeg, as eventually the marketplace was changing with less demand for fur coats. Ever the astute businessman, Harry had evolved the business into additionally involving retail sales of high-quality non-fur winter wear, as well as men’s and women’s fashion for some time. In the latter half of his career, Harry successfully expanded into the area of property management, acquiring a number of downtown Winnipeg buildings and parking lots. He continued with property management after the closing of his retail operations in 2008 and “semi-retiring” at nearly eighty years of age.
Harry started to date Vicky in 1956, with them marrying the following year. They enjoyed many happy years together, socializing with family and friends, and in later years looking forward to their winter vacations in Florida. Tragically, Vicky passed away after a brief illness in 2012, at the age of only 73. Fortunately for Harry, over the passage of years he developed a close relationship with Honey Kowall, leading to the two of them ultimately living together, and with him being warmly accepted into the Kowall family.
The family wishes to extend their gratitude for the compassionate care given to Harry by the healthcare-aides who assisted him in his later days, as well as the longstanding service of Judy Hansen.
Funeral services, officiated by Rabbi Kliel Rose, were held at the Rosh Pina Memorial Park on Wednesday, July 5, 2023.
Peacefully, on October 4, 2023, Molly Rosenblat passed away in Winnipeg at the age of 96, just shy of her 97th birthday.Molly was predeceased by her husband, Ernie, and her brother, Syd Glow. Molly will be lovingly remembered by her two sons, Rob (Sue) and Ed (Bev); her grandchildren: Sarah (Zach), William, Alex (Adam), Carly, Randy (Kate); her six great-grandchildren: Raphael, Aron, Artemis, Isadore, Benjamin and Emma; and her many good friends.
The family would like to give special thanks to Drs. Sean Armstrong and Sarah Dunsmore and to all of the very caring staff in the Dialysis Wards at Seven Oaks Hospital. We would also like to thank Maria Szymanska, Molly’s case co-ordinator for over 12 years, her excellent neighbours from 2000 Sinclair Avenue: Carolyn and Earl Standil, Pearl Rosenberg, and Gus and Grace Kokoschke; as well as Molly’s sister-in-law, Freda Glow and her family, and Molly’s friends, just to name a few, that always looked in on her and cared deeply for her wellbeing.
We would also like to offer a very special thank you to nurse Jane Jaculak and the great and very caring staff at The Simkin Centre, where Molly resided for the past few years. A very special thank you also to Molly’s private caregivers, Liza Monton and Gloria Navarro, and many others that provided additional care, companionship, and wonderful support to Molly for many years.
A funeral service was held on Friday, October 6, 2023 at Congregation Etz Chayim followed by interment at Bnay Abraham Cemetery.In lieu of flowers, those wishing to do so may make donations in Molly’s honour to the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba, the Gwen Secter Creative Living Centre, or to any charity of their choice.
GORDON CHARLES POLLOCK
Gordon Pollock, at the age 94, passed away peacefully, surrounded by family, on the morning of Sunday, September 17, at Grace Hospital. Funeral services took place at the Shaarey Zedek Cemetery on Wednesday, September 20, Pallbearers were grandsons, Jeremy Lee and Samuel Pollock, granddaughters Samantha Pollock and Marni Weiss and nephews Joey Katz and Paul Kowall.
Gordon had 5 children: Marshall (Judy), Michael (Ronni), Raymie, who passed away in 2008 (Maureen), Joey (Laura) and Avrum (Tracy); 12 grandchildren: Marni (Jason), Lea (Ari), Jeremy (Stacey), Jonas (who passed away in 2020), Richard (Sarah), Adam (Samantha), Samantha (Ben), Danielle (Jonathan), Liam, Samuel, Benjamin and Alyssa; and 14 great-grandchildren: Sarah, Sammi, Sophie, Julia, Bridget, Mason, Max, Mia, Aiden, Benny Ray, Goldie, Raya, Max and Sydney.
Gordon was predeceased by his loving wife of almost 67 years, Mimi (Bursten), his parents, Sam and Sluva Pollock, mother-in-law Chana and father-in-law Joseph Bursten, sister Myra and husband Chiam, brother Mischa, brother Harvey and wife Sylvia, sister-in law Sookie and husband Zenith, and brothers-in-law Leslie and Raymie Bursten. In addition to his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, he is survived by his sister Cecile and husband Monte Kowall, sister-in-law Lynn Pollock, as well as many nieces, nephews, and their families. He had the unenviable status of outliving many of his life-long friends and would talk about them very fondly. He remained, well into his 90s, very sharp and loved to go out for meals, play bridge, do puzzles, play Rummikub, tell jokes, and was an avid follower of politics and current events.
Gordon was one of the longest practicing members of the Manitoba Law Society and prided himself on being a lawyer for clients of all walks of life, races and religions, many of whom were welcomed to his house on evenings and weekends to sign documents, as they were working people who couldn’t get off work during the day. He was a man with great patience and put the welfare of others above himself. He gave unconditionally to his family and friends, many times at his own expense. His and Mimi’s house always had an open door policy to which many of his family will attest. He loved to cook and barbeque and many times for 20 plus at a time. He and Mimi enjoyed traveling and especially to Palm Springs for many years. They will be missed by all that knew them.
We would like to thank Rabbi Matthew Leibl for his kind words and wonderful service and the many home care workers for their wonderful assistance over the last year. Donations can be made to the Gordon and Miriam Pollock Fund at the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba or to the charity of your choice.