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Obituaries

JACK SHINDLEMAN (September 30, 1923 – October 28, 2020)

Jack Shindelman edited 1Young at 97 years and 4 weeks. Yes, Jack Shindleman was young. He lived independently, cooked, cleaned and drove himself. His joy of life included being a loyal minyannaire at Shaarey Zedek for 22 years. Jack deserved to be fearless of age, and proud of it too. How young he seemed, was and looked.

Jack Shindleman was the second youngest of seven children, and grew up knowing the challenges of being a member of an immigrant family, particularly when others were not always friendly. His parents, Harry and Shprintza came to Canada from Zhitomer, Russia with their first two children, Clara and Max. His siblings, all of blessed memory, were Clara Greenberg, Max Shindelman, Sophie Goldstein, Elsie Yuffe, Eddie Shindleman and Gladys Kushner. Jack was also predeceased by his loving companion, Doris Bordian.
Jack learnt to become a watch repairman, but ultimately left his hometown of Winnipeg to join his sister Clara and his brother Eddie in Portage la Prairie. Jack and Eddie became a team at work in a grocery store, as livestock buyers, and as dealers in scrap metals and furs. He was also a founder of Prairie Abattoir in Portage la Prairie. Over the years, they were the true welcoming team to many a Portage family. With humour and a large dose of generosity, bonds of trust and loyalty were developed with customers. Many adults today will remember the joking and teasing, as well as the genuine interest in and care for their welfare that came along with a visit to the grocery store. Jack was an integral part of this. Jack always had a story to share, always made people welcome.
Elected and re-elected several times as city councillor in Portage la Prairie, Jack’s approach was summed up in one sentence: “My name is Jack Shindleman and I will work for Portagers to make Portage a better place.” Simple. To the point. And, indeed, that is just what he did. Jack also served as Deputy Mayor.
He had an expansive knowledge of world affairs, but he also had an encyclopedic mind of every corner and highway in the province of Manitoba. In his early years, Jack drove a horse and buggy to travel rural Manitoba along with his father in the livestock trade. A trade he continued throughout his life. And, those roads were indelibly written in his mind. Imagine the winter storms he prevailed through. It showed, because no matter how challenging the weather or road conditions, Jack was the driver (by horse and later by car) who remained calm and always got to the destination. It did not hurt, as well, that the horses knew the way home!
In 1967, baseball matches of the Pan Am Games were held in Portage la Prairie. Jack was there to help and support the teams. He took a continuing interest in the sport throughout the decades that followed. One of his last conversations with his great nephew Edward, who recalls that Jack’s mind remained sharp, was about the upcoming World Series. Jack’s passing was hours after the completion of this year’s World Series. How timely for a man passionate about the sport.
His regular visits with his nephews and nieces were Jack’s truest pride. His advice was sought on innumerable topics. His visits with family were much awaited. Jack never missed a birthday of a nephew or niece. He was always there with a hug, stories to share, and loving kindness.
Few people actually capture the essence of a place. Manitoba is “Friendly Manitoba”. Jack took this to become his mantra. He took a genuine interest in those he met. He had a view on how others could be helped, or indeed how they could help themselves. His experiences of people from all across society fostered wisdom that he shared eagerly.
After his sister Clara became a widow, Jack took it upon himself to attend to Clara’s wellbeing and was very dedicated to her. Jack was mechanically-inclined and well organized. He could fix everything and anything. Just give him a task and he did it. Somehow he always figured it out.
Going to an appointment meant that Jack first stopped to buy Morden’s chocolates to give as a gift to whomever he met, and their assistants. It was an act of kindness without any expectation. True kindness. Jack came from most humble beginnings, experienced the Great Depression and the war years, and lived a modest lifestyle.
He became a fixture on the local casino circuit, as well as taking casino tours to the United States with friends.
After returning to Winnipeg for retirement, he soon found that retirement could be as busy as work. With brother Eddie, he travelled around always busy with too many tasks to complete in a day. The loss of Eddie in 1998 lead to an ever-increasing bond with Eddie’s sons, Robert and Sandy. Breakfasts, lunches and dinners together. Baseball and hockey games too, always together. Caring for the family pets, always together. Shabbos and holidays spent together with family were a longstanding tradition not to be missed.
Jack’s siblings predeceased him. He is survived by many nephews and nieces, including great and great great nephews and nieces, and their families. We wish to express our appreciation for the care and comfort Jack received at the St. Boniface Hospital, by Dr. Kevin Coates, and a very special note of appreciation to Marlene who became Jack’s faithful aid, driver and companion. We also thank the pallbearers, Howard Yuffe, Stephen Yuffe, Michael Kushner, Jared Kushner, Stephen Rosenfield, and Howie Raber.
Doing the right thing came naturally to Jack. Donations of food, clothing, his time, as well as financial support were all part of his way. Should anyone wish to make a donation, please contribute to the Gray Academy of Jewish Education, the Canadian Institute for the Study of Antisemitism (“CISA”), or a charity of your choice.
Jack is missed, but not forgotten. His humour and humility, his friendship and fellowship, his wisdom and wishes for others, will always be remembered to bring light to future days. May Jack’s memory forever be a blessing.

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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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