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Obituaries

JOHN STATHAM

John Statham edited 1Embraced in the love of his partner and children, John Statham passed away in the early hours of Wednesday, February 2, 2022 at the age of 71. He had received a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer on July 7, 2021 and died naturally of his illness at the home of his partner Richard, where he had lived since beginning treatment in August, 2021. His life ended as he had lived it, with calm and dignity.

John was the cherished partner of Richard Yaffe for over twenty-two years, the much loved father of Anthony Statham (Alaina) and Alexandra Bolton, and the adored and adoring grandpa of Oliver Statham and Theo Statham. He is also survived by his sisters Margaret Stewart, Frances Statham (Esther Phillips) and Claire LeBane (Jeff), his brother Robert Statham, his nieces and nephews, and his children’s mother Anne Bolton. He was predeceased by his parents Arthur and Judith Statham.
John Arthur Michael Statham was born in Longueuil, Quebec on October 14, 1950. Following the untimely death of his father when John was 8 years old, the family moved to Winnipeg in 1959. John graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) in 1975. While living in London, England and Pau, France with his wife Anne from 1977 to 1980, he attended the City of London Polytechnic and The City Literary Institute (London) where he studied French language and literature, and then Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour from which he received a diploma following studies in French language and literature, history and translation. After returning to Winnipeg, he served as the Interpretation Section Head of Translation Services for the Province of Manitoba for over 27 years, earning a reputation among the judiciary, lawyers and members of the legislature for his work ethic and for his diligence and precision in French/English interpretation and translation.
It was his art, though, that gave true meaning to John’s life. His remarkable talent in painting and drawing was evident at an early age, and was recognized by mentors who guided him and facilitated his admission to the School of Art at the University of Manitoba and then his life as a visual artist. He maintained studios both in his home and downtown in the Exchange District, and more recently at the Clearwater Bay cottage he shared with Richard. John had the ability to decipher beauty and significance in the ordinary and even the mundane, and with great sensitivity and meticulous technique he created paintings and drawings, often based on the simplest subject matter, that uncovered hidden radiance and revealed concealed harmony. He believed in the purity of art as an expression of beauty.
John had been considering conversion to Judaism for many years. He identified with Jewish values and the Jewish approach to ethics. It was the concept of tikkun olam in particular that resonated, and its goal of repairing the world through the pursuit of social justice with acts of kindness, particularly for the benefit of those without a voice. Under the guidance of Rabbi Anibal Mass, John completed his conversion to Judaism eight weeks before his death. He had the privilege of choosing his Jewish name and decided on the name Yochanan Uri, which connotes grace and light – both integral to the man he was. John and Richard had planned to be married following his conversion to Judaism, but sadly the progression of his illness precluded that.
John’s life was defined by kindness, generosity and authenticity. He was a quiet, keen listener and when he spoke he did so with measured and thoughtful consideration. Although introspective and a deep thinker, he was possessed of a lovable, dry wit. He was an avid reader in both English and French, and a perceptive observer of people and the human condition. While self-promotion was abhorrent to him, he was an ardent supporter of those he loved and in whom he believed. He was a loyal friend, and those in John’s inner circle were the fortunate recipients not only of his wise counsel but also of his masterful baking.
John’s funeral service was held at the Shaarey Zedek Synagogue at 12:00 noon on Friday, February 4, 2022, officiated by Rabbi Anibal Mass. Eulogies were delivered by John’s children, his partner, and his friend Tom Lovatt. Pallbearers were Clifford Yaffe, Mariam Bernstein, Sarah Kredentser, Saul Simmonds, Eric Vickar and Shawn Yaffe. Honorary pallbearers were James Anning, Donald Pearen, Tom Lovatt and Bette Woodland. John was laid to rest at the Shaarey Zedek Cemetery. The funeral service may be viewed on YouTube (SZ Winnipeg).
We wish to express our gratitude to Drs. Benjamin Goldenberg and Paul Daeninck and their nurses Cindy and Melanie, and to the chemotherapy nurses at CancerCare (MacCharles), all of whom treated John with the kindness and respect he deserved.
We are deeply grateful for the many cards and donations already received in tribute to John. Those still desiring to honour John’s memory may wish to consider a donation to a fund being established in John’s and Richard’s names at the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba, or a charity of 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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