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Obituaries

LEE ANNE BLOCK 
February 9, 1952 – February 19, 2022

Block Lee AnnLee Anne Block died peacefully on Saturday from pancreatic cancer. She was 70.

A few weeks earlier, Lee Anne was teaching at the University of Winnipeg, playing with grandkids and frustrated by some persistent stomach discomfort that was evolving into pain. She was also glowing after a joyous trip to see her grandsons, Sam and Ari.

Lee Anne grew up in Winnipeg’s vibrant North End Jewish community. The eldest of three sisters, her neighbourhood was filled with cousins and friends whom she cherished throughout her life.
Lee Anne met her first husband, Sheldon Oberman, when registering for classes at the University of Winnipeg. They had two children together, Adam and Mira, and later became a model of how to cooperatively co-parent post divorce.
Lee Anne taught middle school and English as a Second Language in Seven Oaks School Division and was active in Winnipeg’s theatre community. A major project was co-producing a community theatre production about women’s struggles with mental health.
She moved to Toronto in 1995 and obtained her Master’s degree from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto.
On a visit home over the winter break of 1997, Lee Anne’s former mother-in-law introduced her to Richard Grunfeld. Her life was forever changed for the better.
Not long after she moved back to Winnipeg to be with Richard, Lee Anne decided to continue her academic career. She obtained a PhD from the University of North Dakota. Lee Anne was hired by the University of Winnipeg’s Faculty of Education; where she obtained tenure in 2016. A passionate educator, her research focused on place-based learning and sustainability.
Lee Anne helped create the Langside Learning Garden, a partnership with Spence Neighbourhood Association – to develop sustainable urban gardening, and also worked on projects related to greenspace used by teachers, outdoor learning, and the importance of school gardens.
Lee Anne worked with a remarkable group of people to create the Kapabamayak Achaak Healing Forest Winnipeg in St. John’s Park. The Healing Forest is a living memorial to Indigenous children and families lost to or affected by the residential school system. Lee Anne helped develop educational programming and curriculum so neighbourhood schools could use the space for outdoor learning.
Her academic and community service work was recognized with the University’s 2018 Faculty and Staff Campus Sustainability Recognition Award.
Lee Anne is survived by: her mother Jeanette Block; her partner Richard Grunfeld; her children, Adam Oberman (Jill) and Mira Oberman (Brent); stepsons, Ben Grunfeld (Pancham) and Aaron (Alina); her grandchildren, Rani, Sam, Daniel, Lizzy, Ari, Asa and Finn; her sisters, Rhea Tregebov (Sam) and Sheila Block (Marylin); her brother-in-law Tom (Leslie); along with beloved cousins and many dear friends. She was predeceased by her father Sam Block.
A funeral was held on Tuesday, February 22, 2022.
A “Baba’s Bannock and Jam” Fund is being established to honour Lee Anne’s legacy. It will support educational programming – and snacks for visiting school children – at the Healing Forest. Donations can be sent to St. John’s Anglican Cathedral, “Kapabamayak Achaak Healing Forest”, 135 Anderson Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R2W 5M9.

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Obituaries

MONTE NATHANSON February 24, 1931 – June 15, 2024

We are heartbroken by our father’s death. Monte is survived by June, his wife of nearly 70 years; his kids, Sherryl, Gail (Warren), and Janice (Joel); his grandchildren, Ashley, Julie, Amy (Zach), Lindsay (Mathew), Jonathan and Kate; and his great-grandchildren, Mia, Hannah, Benji, Jake and Noah. Nothing made him happier than the entrance of the latest baby.

Monte was born to Ida and Max Nathanson in the North End of Winnipeg. He arrived on the scene late, 12 years after his brother Sidney and nine years after Cecil. Their house on O’Meara St. was a centre of cultural life where Yiddish writers, artists, actors and thinkers from everywhere gathered, talked, performed and ate (of course).

Monte’s young life was much a lot like other kids in the neighborhood: Peretz school, then St. John’s Tech, then the University of Manitoba. But our dad’s kindness stood out even as a young boy. Cecil was deaf and back then there was no technology. So, every week, Monte took his brother to the movies and signed the dialogue for him. He stayed by Cecil’s side the rest of his life.

Our parents got engaged in 1954, six weeks after they met. They married the same year. Monte was working in his father’s mattress company when, one day, he saw a plot of land. He borrowed the money, bought the land, and his life’s work began. He was a business force. He loved building buildings. He was everywhere: Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto.

But more important to him was his community. Max was the first chair of the UJA campaign, and at age 28, Monte was its youngest. He went on to become the president of the Winnipeg Jewish Community, a governor of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and a stalwart supporter of Jewish education and Israel. When his father died, our dad built a kindergarten in his honour in Carmiel. It’s still there, serving kids from tough backgrounds. He took all of us to visit not that long ago.

And then there was the golf. What a player. A four handicap. That’s not easy in Winnipeg, given our winters. He would not be derailed. As he was a teenager, he built a putting green on his front lawn. He had his golf gang at Glendale they called the mafia. He played the world’s great golf courses, including Augusta. The last time we saw him, as we stood at his bedside, he was wearing his Master’s golf shirt. So perfect.

Above all, it was family first. Our mom was the centre of his life. Their unfaltering bond lasted nearly 70 years. Together, they built homes, travelled the world, and had amazing adventures. They had huge circles of friends. But it was really all about the kids. Nothing was as important to our parents than us. Our happiest moments were summers at West Hawk, road trips to Grand Forks (yup), winter vacations. As long as we were together, we were good.

When we talk about our dad though, we remember not what he did, but who he was. Everyone seems to describe him the same way: Elegant, dignified, larger than life. So many people have reached out to talk about his kindness and his graciousness. He made people feel special. When he walked into a room, you just knew everything would be okay.

Our father made our lives great. Because he was great. Right now, it’s hard to imagine our world without him.
Funeral services are being held on June 18, 2024, in Boca Raton, Florida. Shiva is in Toronto. Donations may be made to United Hatzalah Canada at https://www.uhcanada.org/. Click the donate button for a dedicated memorial page to Monte Nathanson.

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Obituaries

ANNE JACOBSON January 25, 1917 – March 4, 2024

On March 4, 2024, our mama, grandma, and great-grandma left this world at the age of 107.

Anne was born in Boston, Mass. to Harry and Rose Urdang. In 1923, the family moved to Winnipeg and resided at 420 Manitoba Ave. and then 358 Pritchard Ave. She attended the University of Manitoba and was planning to become a dietician. Those plans were derailed when her father died of leukemia at the age of 42.

Anne started a small hairdressing business in her home to help support her mother and sisters. Later she worked as a buyer for Green Brothers, a dress wholesaler.

Anne met Nate when he was with the RAF, stationed in Winnipeg. They were married at the Marlborough Hotel New Years Eve, 1945. In 1950, they moved to Rupertsland Ave. where they raised Arlene and Gary. They were an integral part of the neighbourhood and made many lifelong friends. She and Nate were charter members of the Rupertsland bridge group and Anne eventually attained the designation of Life Master.

Anne was involved with ORT (Organization for Rehabilitation through Training) and served as president of the north end B’Nai Brith Chapter. She enjoyed working with people, and had fond memories of her job in the jewellery department at Clark’s and later as a hostess at Genser’s furniture.

Although Anne was unable to pursue her goal of becoming a dietician, she continued to pursue her interest in food and nutrition and was an excellent cook and baker. Her apple and blueberry pies are fondly remembered by all her family.

Nate passed away in 1996. Anne, being the independent woman that she was, continued to live on Rupertsland until 2006 when, after a brief stay at The Bolton, she moved to the Simkin Centre in 2007. While at the Simkin, she took up Scrabble and over the years she and Gary enjoyed many games, most of which – even into her late ‘90s – she won.
Anne was predeceased by her two sisters, Evelyn Schmitt (2014) and Beattie (Kraven) (2021). She leaves behind daughter Arlene McMahon of Burlington, son Gary Jacobson (Ricki) of Winnipeg, granddaughter Tamsin McMahon (Scott Whitley) of California, grandson Jamie McMahon (Anna Nelson) of Thunder Bay, grandsons Dan Jacobson of Vancouver and Noah Jacobon (Vienna Luong) of Winnipeg and great-granddaughters Maren and Karine McMahon.

Funeral services were held at the Chesed Shel Emes funeral home on March 8, 2024. Thank you to pallbearers Noah Jacobson, Daniel Jacobson, Adam Spigelman, Murray Greenfield, Robbie Waldman,and Avrom Charach. The family would also like to thank Cantor Tracy Kasner for a beautiful eulogy and service. If desired, donations in Anne’s memory can be made to a charity of one’s choice.

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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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