Raisa Naumovna Balagur was born on November 19, 1937 in Kharkov in the former Soviet Union to Nathan and Chana Mikhanovsky, and peacefully passed away on Wednesday, April 26, 2017.
Her father Nathan’s family came from Propoisk of Mogilev Gubernia in White Russia. Her mother Chana was the daughter of Rabbi Simon Bolotin from a shtetl on the border of the Ukraine and White Russia. Raisa’s father was a soldier in the Soviet Red Army during World War II but was injured and sent home to recuperate in hospital and the family, Raisa, her mother and brother were evacuated to Kazakhstan, south of Russia when Raisa was only 5 or 6 years old. She remembered the terrible hunger they suffered during those times many years later. A family member hearing of their circumstances, enabled them to move on to Siberia so they wouldn’t die from starvation. She lost many loved ones before and after the war.
Raisa later went on to complete 5 years of study at the University in Kharkov, becoming a pharmacist and working in the manufacture of medicines. After Perestroika, when the doors opened to let them leave, and then the disaster of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor in 1986 not far from where they lived, Raisa, her husband Leonid, daughter Marina and husband Igor, and their two children Dimitri and Anna, decided to leave. They were sponsored by the Micay family of Winnipeg.
They arrived in Canada in 1989, settling first in Winnipeg. Raisa worked at Niagara Drugs in Winnipeg and enjoyed the opera, symphony and reading.
In 2012, Raisa moved to Victoria. Raisa was predeceased by her husband Leonid, and
is survived by her daughter Marina (Igor), her grandson Dimitri (Karen), her granddaughter Anna, great grandsons Oscar and Heath of Victoria, her brother Vladimir of Moscow, and extended family members in Canada, the USA, and Russia.
Funeral services were held on April 27, 2017 at the graveside at the Vancouver Island Jewish Cemetery, officiated by Rabbi Meir Kaplan.
Donations in memory of Raisa can be made to Canadian Hadassah-WIZO or to the charity of your choice.
“Raisa was a lovely person,
kind and wise and loved by many,
and she will be greatly missed
by both her family and her many friends.”