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Obituaries

BLUMIE PORTNOY

BLUMIE PORTNOYBLUMIE PORTNOY passed away peacefully at home, Wednesday, May 24, 2017.

Blumie was predeceased by her parents, Ida and Sam Polinsky, her brother, Dave Polinsky, sisters-in-law, Betty and Phyllis Polinsky, and her beloved husband, Iser Portnoy. She is survived by her daughters Phyllis Portnoy (Rory Egan), Susanna Portnoy (John Bluethner), and Sallie Portnoy; grandchildren Becky Chisick, David Johnson (Linda), Lorien Johnson, Cassandra Bluethner, and Ben Portnoy; great-grandchildren Nicholas, Jonathan and Amaya van der Veen, Lily Chisick, and Felix and Spencer Johnson; and brother, Ron Polinsky. Funeral services were held at Shaarey Zedek synagogue on Monday, May 29; pallbearers were Becky, David, Cassandra, Ben, Nicholas and Jonathan; honorary pallbearers were Blumie’s nieces and nephew Shirley Stone, Sandra Polinsky, and Max Polinsky.

Blumie was born in Winnipeg in 1924. She attended Peretz school, Talmud Torah, St John’s High School, and United College, but she acquired her outstanding quiet wisdom at the Polinsky school of family, friendship and Jewish tradition. She and Iser were sweethearts from the age of 15. Together they traveled the world, spent summers at Winnipeg Beach and winters in Florida, very often with close friends or children and grandchildren in attendance, and they were a strong presence in the Winnipeg community. They were a paragon of loving and caring and generosity that Blumie carried on with determination and passion throughout her 26 years of very active single life. Blumie’s smile lit up a room, and her vitality was unparalleled. She was a champion speed-skater, an award-winning bowler, a pro at tennis, a whiz at bridge (which she continued playing right up to this February). She was also an accomplished pianist and an award-winning member of Hadassah. Blumie was very close with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren; they adored her no-nonsense, feisty good humor. For her daughters she was a guiding force, always able to see the clearest path through all complexity and pretext, and always helping to put things into better perspective; it was like having a conscience as well as a guardian angel by our sides. Blumie’s remarkable integrity and sincerity set her apart and won her life-long friendships. She will be remembered by all who knew her as a woman who charmed the world with style and grace.

The family would like to thank Dr. John Rabson and Debby, Tess, Hilda, Lana and Myra, all who did so much to enhance our mother’s later years. Donations in her memory may be made to the Iser and Blumie Endowment Fund at the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba or to a charity of your choice.

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Obituaries

GERTRUDE YUSIM

Trudy was born July 29, 1926 in Winnipeg. She grew up in River Heights, attended Mulvey Elementary, continued on to graduate from Gordon Bell High School, and studied at a technical college to become a bookkeeper.

Trudy and Moe Yusim married on June 30, 1952 and raised their family, Alan, Norman, Susan and Robert.

Trudy was smart, beautiful, poised, dignified and elegant. She enjoyed bowling, playing bridge (she was a Life Grand Master who played well into her 90s.)

Moe’s sudden death in 1977 was heartbreaking. and Trudy faced her heartbreak with resolve, determination, strength, and resilience.

Trudy continued to live in the family home for another 35 years. She was an amazing cook and her meals brought the whole family together many times a year and for holiday celebrations. It was hard for her to leave the family home after her health took a turn, but during her 12 years at the Shaftesbury Residence she found continued comfort and a place to be social, to join activities, and a place where she could proudly entertain her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

As a grandmother she was Nanny Trudy. Her love for and interest in everything her grandchildren and great- grandchildren were doing was obvious. She absorbed their interests and made them her own. She celebrated all their accomplishments and achievements, both personal and professional. 
Trudy passed away peacefully on January 8, 2024 at the Simkin Centre. The family is grateful for the tender care she received during her final months.  Trudy leaves behind her four children and their spouses, nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her parents Rose and Max Thow and her beloved husband Moe and her great- grandson Leo.
The family would like to thank Rabbi Matthew Leibl for officiating at Trudy’s graveside service. As a long-time family friend his eulogy to Trudy was both personal and poignant.

In conclusion, here are words written by Trudy’s eldest granddaughter: 
“She was the strongest woman, going through the tragedy of losing her beloved husband suddenly and at a young age. Left with 4 children and without the love of her life. She persevered, and became a more independent woman than she ever was before. She still enjoyed life and continued on to live another 47 years with grace and love. She lived a full life of 97 years, with many different chapters. We love her and will miss her always.”

May Trudy Yusim be at peace.

And may her memory be a blessing.

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Obituaries

ANN NOVAK

Anne Novak (née Fink) passed away peacefully in her 100th year on January 24, 2024. She lived a life that spanned three continents and two centuries. Born in Sanok, Poland on March 18, 1923, Anne was the second of five siblings born to an observant Jewish family. Her early years in Poland were happy, but life became bleak when Hitler invaded in 1939. Before long the Fink family fled to their grandparents’ home in the Russian controlled part of Poland seeking safety. Unfortunately, the Russians deported the family to the depths of Siberia where they were resettled in work camps. The war years were filled with hunger and depravation, but ultimately six of the seven family members survived.

When the family was allowed to leave Siberia, they made their way to  Germany and ultimately to Canada.

By the time Anne arrived in Winnipeg in 1948, she had married her beloved husband Oscar Novak and had her first child Carol. Having worked in kindergartens in Russia and Germany, she got a job at the Peretz School as a kindergarten teacher. Like many other immigrants, her husband bought a small grocery store and the young family began to grow and thrive. Two more children, Phil and Allan, completed the Novak family.

Anne’s best times were with family. Her siblings Sally, Sol, and Ruth were an important part of daily life and all lived close by. Last year, they were designated by the Shoah Foundation as the oldest Holocaust survivor siblings in the world. Her son Allan Novak recently made a film about the Fink family which had its world premiere in New York six days before she died.

Anne also took great pride in her children, her grandchildren, and her great-grandchildren, delighting in their visits, family celebrations, and accomplishments. 

Anne was a wonderful cook and baker, making legendary tortes and cakes for special occasions. Food was love to her and she showered her family with tasty delicacies until well into her 90s. No visit to her kids in Toronto was complete without a box of food containing homemade treats.

Although she was a quiet and refined person, she also had a great sense of humour and enjoyed the funny side of life. She was always kind to the people around her and was the peacemaker in the family. 

The family would like to thank Dr. Hamedani and the nursing staff at the Grace Hospital for their kind attention in the final weeks of her life. 

She will be sadly missed by her surviving children and their spouses Carol and Brian Sevitt, Allan Novak and Keely Sherman, her grandchildren and their partners Julia Sevitt, David Sevitt and Alexa Abiscott, and Evan and Samantha Novak, and by her great-grandchildren Theo, Zac, Miles, Simone, Matthew and Phil.

In memoriam donations can be made to Jewish Child and Family Services of Winnipeg https://www.jcfswinnipeg.org/donate

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Obituaries

SHERRY CHOCHINOV

Our loving mom and baba, Sherry Chochinov, passed away on January 7, 2024, at the age of 97.

She was predeceased by her husband Ben Chochinov; her parents, Chana and Max Rubinfield; and her sister Naomi Wolfe. She leaves behind her brother Jack Rubinfield; sister Eddy Werier (Lawrence); children, Alecs (Ruth Graham), Cindy (Charles Guberman), Lori (Andy Rafelman), Shale (Sary) and Michelle (Morry Murad); and grandchildren, Janna (Peter), Michael (Nataliia), Matthew, Noah, Ethan, Leah, Adam, Maya, Sydney, Annie, Eden and Jonah.

Sherry was born Sarah Rubinfield in a small town near Mokre, Poland. She immigrated to Canada in 1929, at the age of four. Canada was much safer than Europe in those years for a Jewish family but was also on the threshold of a depression. Her family lived in the back of a small grocery store on Alfred Avenue, across from Isaac Newton, where she went to school. She didn’t know it at the time, but she would grow to have a life of incredible richness, though not in the literal sense.

As a young teen, Sarah wanted a more modern, fashionable name so when her friends nicknamed her Sherry, it stuck. While her younger siblings played tennis and volleyball, socializing was Sherry’s preferred sport. She regaled her kids with stories about her dates as a teenager, but once Ben came into the picture, that was it. They were together for 73 years and she gave up her social life almost entirely, but willingly, for her family.

Mom waited seven years before Alecs was born but by the age of 45 she had five children and a vibrant household, where there was never a quiet moment, only the sounds of children. Those sounds were music to mom’s ears.

Sherry was a beautiful young mother, in every sense of the word. In the early 1960s, her shopping excursions with the kids left indelible memories. Lori and Cindy would watch with rapt attention as she transformed into a model from Vogue magazine, putting on her lipstick, gloves, fancy hat and outfit. A day at The Bay would often end at the Paddlewheel, with chocolate cream pie for all of us, Sherry included. She really seemed like the perfect mom – glamorous, nurturing, gentle, patient and happy.

Later, as teenagers, she’d wait up for us with coffee and cinnamon buns on Friday and Saturday nights, and we’d chat for hours. Mom was eternally curious about the details of our lives and those of our close friends.

Even after the kids left home – each departure a great upheaval and one of the rare times we would see mom cry – she called her daughters every day for years, until they had stable relationships of their own. She just needed to know that her babies were safe, even though the youngest of those babies was already an anesthesiologist in Toronto.

Sherry had an unflinching belief in the ability of her kids to achieve whatever they put their minds to, which gave us the confidence to be independent and successful in our own lives.

She knew who she was, lived life on her terms and didn’t care a whit about what anyone else thought. She was as strong, smart and determined as they came, yet incredibly gentle. Her independence of mind and stubbornness were hallmarks till the end, and her eccentricities will be the stuff of family legend.

Sherry’s home was a haven for her and her brood for her entire life. She is still at home now, in the only lasting home we can ever have, in the hearts and loving memories of her kids and grandkids, where she will remain, smiling, forever.

Mom’s generosity extended to everyone she touched in her life and was especially evident in her relationship with the ladies who cared for her these last eight years, after Ben passed away: Shirley Halpenny, Cresilda Magno, Susan Genido, Lisa Comia and Gloria Laconico. Sherry had a special relationship with each of them, and they clearly loved and took exceptional care of her. Our family will be forever grateful for their devotion and kindness.

Donations can be made to the Sherry and Ben Chochinov Fund at the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba.

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