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Obituaries

LAURIE (ALI) MAINSTER

LAURIE MAINSTERFamily and friends of Laurie Mainster are deeply saddened by his passing on Monday, April 8, 2019.


Beloved son of Arthur and Fannie, the youngest of six children, Laurie is survived by daughter Gail Mainster, son-in-law Harold Gutovich and grandson Jay Gutovich (Sara); son Samuel Mainster; son-in-law Viktor Lewin; granddaughter Brianne Lewin, partner Chris Schwab and great-grandson Abraham; grandson Eli Lewin; great grandaughters Reah Shine Cheryl and Zoey Riley Dawn Lewin, and numerous loving nieces, nephews and other extended family members and friends. Laurie was predeceased by his daughter, Cheryl Lewin, on January 19, 2010 and his wife Bernice (Bayla, née Claman) of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on April 9, 2017.

Laurie was born in Winnipeg on September 18, 1925. He attended the I.L. Peretz Folk School and graduated from St. John’s Tech High School, where he was a popular athlete and renowned for his hard work, even as a  child, delivering newspapers. He served in the RCAF during the Second World War as a wireless operator, leaving with the rank of sergeant. Laurie married Bernice on November 27, 1948 and was married to her for more than 68 years. Laurie started his career selling advertising for the Winnipeg Free Press Weekly Farmer, followed by positions with J.J. Gibbons Ltd. and other agencies until he joined Foster Advertising Ltd. as Winnipeg manager in 1962. While with Foster, he helped organize The Spirit of ‘70 centennial celebrations for the Province of Manitoba and made Foster the agency of record for the province’s Ministry of Industry and Commerce. He was also an advisor to the late Dufferin “Duff” Roblin during Roblin’s tenure as Manitoba premier from 1958 to 1967. After leaving Foster in 1986 as Executive Vice President overseeing operations for all of Western Canada, Laurie continued to run his own agency, Laurie A. Mainster Advertising Ltd.

Laurie was known for his overwhelming efforts for the betterment of all levels of his community. He participated actively in promoting his city and province and donated much of his time on behalf of charitable and not-for-profit causes. His notable positions included: Director, City of Winnipeg Library Foundation; all offices up to and including President of the Central Canadian Council of B’nai Brith; President and member of the Board of Governors, I.L. Peretz Folk School; President and member of Executive/Board of Directors, Winnipeg Jewish Theatre; President, Rosh Pina Synagogue; Marketing/Public Relations Chairman, Asper Jewish Community Campus of Winnipeg Capital Building Campaign; President, Rainbow Stage Productions; Chair, I.L. Peretz Folk School 90th Anniversary Reunion, Aug.1-4, 2003; and co-producer, Mameloshen: Festival of Yiddish Entertainment and Culture. Laurie was also a member of the following organizations: Board of Directors and Executive Committee, Health Sciences Centre Foundation; Jewish National Fund Board of Directors; Jewish Foundation of Manitoba Board of Governors; Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada Board of Directors; Canadian Friends of Hebrew University; Canadian Associates of Ben Gurion University of the Negev Board of Governors; Congregation Etz Chayim; Variety Club of Winnipeg; Winnipeg Football Club Board of Directors; Seven Oaks General Hospital Foundation; Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors; General Monash Branch Royal Canadian Legion; and Canadian Associates of Technion – Israel Institute of Technology.

Laurie’s many community service awards included the Advertising Association of Winnipeg 1993 Director’s Award; Honorary Directorate from the Health Sciences Centre Foundation; plaque in honour of his efforts in the The Spirit of ’70 Campaign, Province of Manitoba; recognition of his work producing the official opening program for the Winnipeg Convention Centre in 1975; certificates of appreciation from the City of Winnipeg “For his selfless dedication and outstanding contribution to the success of Rainbow Stage” and from the Seven Oaks General Hospital Foundation; certificate in recognition of his “…years of leadership and dedication in support of the Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada”; the Winnipeg Jewish Community Council Shem Tov Award in 1997 for his role as marketing/public relations chair for the Asper Jewish Community Campus; Special Community Award from State of Israel Bonds in celebration of Israel’s 50th Anniversary in 1998; special tribute in 2000 from the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba in recognition of “30 Years in the Life of the Community” and 30 years of volunteer service to the Foundation; and 2014 Shem Tov Award on behalf of the Rady Jewish Community Centre. He was a key fundraiser and organizer for the I. L. Peretz Folk School Yiddish Teaching Fellowship at the University of Manitoba and was active in organizing the Hebrew Congregation of Winnipeg Beach, a popular Saturday morning synagogue for many Jewish Winnipeggers.

Funeral services were held at Congregation Etz Chaim on Wednesday, April 10 and graveside at the Hebrew Sick Cemetery, led by Cantor Tracy Kasner Greaves. Pallbearers were Harold Gutovich, Shalom Coodin, Sheppy Coodin, Chaim Raber, David Coodin and Bernie Sucharov. Honorary pallbearers were Viktor Lewin, Chris Schwab, Dvora and Marshall Braunstein and Joel Dudeck. Thank you to everyone at the Saul and Claribel Simkin Centre and especially to Marilyn Roldan and other caregivers and staff from Friendly Caregiver’s Senior’s Care. Donations to honour Laurie can be made to the Bayla and Laurie Mainster Family Trust and the Laurie Mainster Community Visionary Fund at the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba.

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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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