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Obituaries

KOBY AIDEN SHUSTER September 29, 1989 – May 27, 2020

Shuster KobyKoby was not your average human.

He was precocious, charismatic, genuine, articulate, caustic, determined. He could be sweet and caring. He could be provocative. He could be sly. As a child, he read early. He watched Fantasia religiously. He was a notorious mouth-open eater and an idiosyncratic toe-walker.
 He began to play classical guitar when he was five years old, swiftly surpassing his father’s abilities. His phenomenal vocabulary emerged effortlessly and often baffled his peers. Later, when he studied Criminology at SFU, he would dissect slower students’ feeble arguments with ease. He would produce excellent work if he felt like it or subtly infuse an unappealing assignment with derisive humour. On the soccer field, he was a wrecking ball.
He loved his family and friends, and he especially treasured his grandparents, Lawrence and Eddy Werier, who encouraged him to colour outside the lines. When he wanted to accomplish something, however difficult, he found his focus. He claimed his Jewish heritage despite being born into a secular household. He decided that he would have a bar mitzvah and learned how to read the Hebrew alphabet in a week. During later travel in Israel, he felt that he had come home.
Koby kindled a deep relationship with music. He bewitched the bass guitar. He found kinship in artists who circumvent norms, from Tech N9ne to RATM (who he was so excited to see in concert again before Covid-19 hit) to Shuggie Otis to Run the Jewels. He held a deep abiding love for southern hip-hop. His band, Dust, enjoyed significant high school fame. Koby made many deep bonds with musicians of all backgrounds and had an uncanny ability to connect with and support others through music.
Koby was a sage of sorts. He would never mince words or participate in cheap generosity. His caring was raw and true. If he saw that you needed support, he would help, but if you were being overly dramatic, he had no sympathy for that. His challenging words were often an invitation to play or discover truth. In another time period he might have been a lauded orator or philosopher.
People were drawn to him. His presence had an orbit. Koby’s charisma was irresistible, and he loved to have a good time. He could get his way so naturally because his magnetism was bound with a respect for others’ boundaries. Despite his omnipresent independence, he could make others feel at ease with a caring look or an honest, incisive observation. He said what was needed in the moment, and he expected others to speak honestly to him. He was a secret-keeper for many people and held this position as a sacred trust.
 Koby understood darkness, and it understood him. He experienced trauma from losing several beloved friends to addiction, which hardened him against himself and fueled his own substance abuse. He never recovered from the guilt of believing he was responsible, even though he wasn’t. He knew himself so well, and yet he was never able to forgive himself.
 Koby suffered deeply but was too proud to accept help. His identity was bound up in making it without outside support. His web of mental health struggles grew over the years.
 Sometimes when you tie a knot very tightly, you can’t untie it again.
Koby’s death was an accidental overdose. He was in his small apartment, in the bath. He loved to soak in the tub. He was sick of anxiety and tired of being afraid, but he didn’t want to die. He was a suffering guy who did some bad dope. It’s ironic that what got Koby in the end was the insidiousness of fentanyl.
It’s important to understand that Koby never gave up his honour. He put those close to him through heartache, but he was also very loyal and loving. In his last text to his Mom a few days before he died he told her he loved her. He did that all the time.
He made a point of not implicating others in his actions. He lived fast and with so much heart. He rejected dull moments. Some of his exploits had a legendary quality that only he was capable of generating. Those fortunate enough to be beneficiaries of his gifts in this life know how blessed they are.
He is survived by his mother Jodie Werier, father Michael Shuster, grandparents Lawrence and Eddy Werier, nanny and second mom Augustina (Olive) Johnpierre, Ziggy, the dog that made his eyes itchy, and his extended family of neighbours and friends on the block that he grew up on and beyond.
We don’t want flowers. They make us sneeze. Please contribute to a charity that supports mental health and addiction. They go hand in hand. And please take the time to know and love yourself enough that you can live how you want but also have the resolve to care well for yourself.

 

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Obituaries

DR. MONTE HOWARD KOWALL November 9, 1928 – April 17, 2024

He will be dearly missed by his wife of almost 68 years, Cecile (nee Pollock); children, Pamela (Gary Brooker), Paul (DD), Feryn and Sheri (Robbie Weisz); grandchildren, Alana (Matt Joudrey), Ivy, Rachel, Sarah, Lainey, Nayce and Sienna.

Monte grew up with his older brother Bernard in the North End of Winnipeg. He attended school at Machray, St. John’s and the University of Manitoba where he received his medical degree. After completing specialty training in Boston, MA, he established his pediatric practice, first at the Mall Medical Clinic and then in the Boyd Building, enjoying a rewarding 45 year career. He served on staff at several hospitals and volunteered decades of service to the St. Amant Centre, Cerebral Palsy Association, Mount Carmel Clinic and in northern Manitoba at Indian Lake and Norway House. Monte and wife Cecile were very involved in their synagogue, Herzlia-Adas Yeshurun. Monte also had many hobbies. He was an avid reader, stamp collector, culinary expert, gardener and handyman. Most of all he enjoyed being with family and friends and truly enjoyed the special times with his grandchildren and his many nieces and nephews.

Monte and Cecile travelled to many destinations including Italy, Russia, Hawaii, Mexico, Dominican Republic, California and Florida. Monte really enjoyed the lake at Winnipeg Beach where he and Cecile eventually decided to reside during the summers, while wintering in Margate, Florida.

Monte enjoyed life and was blessed to have remained in his own home until his last day. He lived with dignity and humility and will always be remembered by the many patients he cared for over the years, as well as by his loving family and many friends.

Funeral services were held on April 21, 2024, at the Shaarey Zedek Cemetery. Pallbearers were Martin Pollock, Ethan Pollock, Jayden Pollock, Charles Morris, Liam Pollock and Harlan Morris. The family would like to extend their heartfelt appreciation to dedicated caregivers, Nelly, Eddie, Marietta, Ann, Connie and Gizelle for the kind, caring and respectful manner in which they attended to our father over the last few years.

Donations may be made to the Monte and Cecile Kowall Fund at the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba or to a charity of your choice.

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Obituaries

BETTY ANN SEARLE (nee PRESSMAN)

Born – April 16, 1937 Passed Away – April 14, 2024

With broken hearts, we share the news of the unexpected, but peaceful, death of our dear mother, Betty Ann Searle, on April 14, 2024, just shy of her 87th birthday.

Betty is survived by her beloved husband of over 66 years, Samuel (Sam); children Sharna, Lorne (Barbara) and Beverlee (Barry); grandchildren Evan, Aaron, Jamie and Matthew; brother-in-law Garry Shapera; sister-in-law Eve Blank. Many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends will also dearly miss her.

Betty was predeceased by her parents Jack and Sally Pressman, and her only sibling, younger sister and close confidante, Doreen Shapera, as well as by other cherished family members including her sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law.

Born in Brandon, Manitoba, Betty lived in small Manitoba towns, moving to Weyburn, Saskatchewan, in 1948, where her father established Pressman’s Style Shop, a boys’ and men’s clothing store. Possessing evident early charm and people skills, Betty would bring a daily hot lunch to her father and mind the store while he ate. Later, she became her high school’s first female student council president.

Betty moved to Winnipeg in 1955 and soon met Sam at the Good Earth Restaurant, a popular hangout for young Jewish adults. They married in 1957 and a few years later settled into the house designed by Sam in Winnipeg’s North End. When the kids were a little older, Betty obtained an Early Childhood Education certificate from Red River Community College, worked at Peretz and Ramah schools, and became an active community volunteer. Among several positions, she served as Winnipeg Section president of the National Council of Jewish Women of Canada and manager of Art Rental and Sales at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. In later years, she remained peripherally involved with NCJWC and sat on the WAG’s advisory and foundation committees. In 1985, Betty graduated from the University of Winnipeg with a degree in economics and art history, landing a job as an account executive immediately thereafter.

Betty transformed the beautiful house Sam designed for them into a warm and welcoming home. With impeccable taste and a flair for fashion, mom, the quintessential hostess, entertained friends and family with style and good humour year-round. Betty also loved exploring the world. Her travels with Sam, and often with the whole family, included North American camping trips and ski holidays, adventures in Europe, China, Cuba, Israel, the Caribbean and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, the latter becoming “home base” for several weeks every winter for 20 years. Closer to home, mom loved residing at the family cottage in Loni Beach (Gimli), MB, for July and August each year.

Betty and Sam shared a rich, cultural life in Winnipeg. They had season tickets to “everything”: symphony, opera, chamber music, theatre, ballet, jazz. Also passionate about family, mom keenly understood the importance of staying connected and taking the time to celebrate as many simchas together as possible, crisscrossing Canada and the United States to enjoy myriad milestone occasions with extended family. The same can be said regarding Betty’s lifelong friends.

Mom’s ultimate delight was the unbridled joy she experienced being with her grandchildren. Bobbie Betty couldn’t get enough of them and spared no expense to see them as often as possible. Toronto became a regular destination and the Gimli cottage became “grandchildren central” for several weeks each summer. She was an involved, interested Bobbie, and her grandchildren loved sharing the special times in their lives with her.

Betty passed away peacefully at the Seven Oaks General Hospital. We are grateful for the kindness and dignity with which the staff treated her. A heartfelt thank you, as well, to Sam’s wonderful care team at the house – Sharon, Violeta, Naomi, Jamie, Cheryl – for providing loving support to both dad and mom.

The graveside funeral service was held on April 17, 2024, at the Rosh Pina Memorial Park, warmly officiated by Rabbi Kliel Rose. The pallbearers were grandsons Evan Searle and Matthew Pearl, son-in-law Barry Pearl, cousin Selma Gilfix, great-niece Amy Braunstein and devoted nephew David Shapera.

Donations may be made to the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba’s “Betty Ann Searle Memorial Fund” or to a charitable organization supporting Winnipeg’s arts community.

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Obituaries

NEIL CHARACH July 23, 1935 – April 30, 2024

With heavy hearts we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, zaidie, brother, family and friend.

Neil was born in Winnipeg and grew up on Scotia Street. In 1952 he began learning his trade as a photographer at Charach Studios which was opened by his late father Irvine in 1928. Neil was a meticulous perfectionist and no detail was left to chance. Being a wedding photographer of over four decades he took great pride in his work and good reputation. He was a kind and generous person with a strong will. Family and friends were important to him and he had a large group of lifelong buddies as he called them. Everyone who knew Neil enjoyed hearing his stories. As the story is told, Judy chased him until he caught her. They married in 1971 and were together for almost 53 years. They created a beautiful life together.

He was predeceased by his parents, Fanny and Irvine and sister Sheila. He will be deeply missed by his wife Judy, children, Marla (Mark), Ian (Sherry), Dana (Hart), and grandchildren, Courtney, Hailey, Max, Farrah, Nathan and Lilah, brother Harold, sister Elaine, and numerous nieces and nephews.

A special thank you to his home care workers, especially Manuel and Abdul.

Funeral services were held at Chesed Shel Emes on Friday, May 3, followed by burial at Shaarey Zedek Cemetery. Pallbearers were Daniel Bell, Max Binder, Marc, Riley, Jesse and Seth Streifler.

In lieu of flowers, friends wishing to make a donation in Neil’s memory can do so to the Neil Charach Memorial fund c/o The Jewish Foundation of Manitoba (204-477-7520) or the charity of your choice.

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