HomeObituariesRITA GUNN November 29, 1941 – April 18, 2023

RITA GUNN November 29, 1941 – April 18, 2023

With deep sadness the family of Rita Gunn (nee Grushko) announces the passing of our beloved Wife, Sister, Mother, Grandmother, Aunt and Great Aunt.
Even before she graduated from St. John’s High School, Rita fibbed about her age and started working in the Eaton’s slipper bar. After a period in retail, she married Bernie Gunn, and moved to marketing and promotions for CKY Radio. She began her university education alongside motherhood, as an adult student. During this time, she became a crisis counsellor for Klinic, setting the stage for a lifetime commitment to feminism and social justice.
Well into her forties, Rita earned her Master of Arts in Sociology at the University of Manitoba, completing a thesis on the failure of the criminal justice system in supporting victims of sexual assault. This eventually became a book (co-authored with Candice Minch) published by the University of Manitoba Press: Sexual Assault: The Dilemma of Disclosure. She lectured in Women’s Studies at the university and was a guest speaker at conferences in Canada and abroad.
When many contemplate slowing down, Rita embarked on a career as a management consultant, co-founding Prairie Research Associates in 1988 with her second husband Gregory Mason and Kerry Dangerfield. Thereupon followed a 27-year career where she directed major studies in criminal justice, health, and the arts. One of her favourite projects was an evaluation of the Inuit Art Foundation, which saw her travel throughout remote northern communities visiting artists in their studios and homes. A painting gifted to her by Simon Tookoomee was among her treasured possessions.
Rita gave generously of her time, serving as a life member of the National Council of Jewish Women. She also was on the Board of MTC and led the revitalization of the Black and White Ball to become one of Winnipeg’s premier fund-raising events.
Rita lived life large. She was a fabulous cook, though any meal she prepared always seemed to have more leftovers than food at the start. She cared for her father when his health faltered and attended her mother during her years in long term care. She always dropped anything she was doing to support her grandchildren. She was the ideal travel companion, always game for an adventure and new sights. Anyone who met her quickly realized they had encountered a force of nature: charming, astute, and generous to a fault.
Rita was predeceased by her parents Jack Grushko and Pearl Grushko (nee Levine), sister Geraldine Sugarman (nee Grushko) and brother in-law Jack Sugarman.
Left to mourn and remember Rita are her husband Gregory Mason, sister Brenda Casey (Peter), son Danny Gunn (Karen Blicker), daughter Alana Gunn (Steven Gall), and grandchildren Matthew Gunn, Jeremy Gunn, Jonah Gall, Ariella Gunn, and Raeya Gall. Also deeply saddened by Rita’s passing are nephews/nieces Jeff Sugarman, Rochelle Winterton, Noah Casey, and Jessica Musoke (Ronnie), great nieces/nephew, Niria Sugarman, Aziza Musoke and Keon Musoke, sister-in-law Cathy Albrecht (Sam) and Skylar Albrecht.
The family thanks the palliative care team at WRHA and the caregivers who helped Rita pass at home after her prolonged illness. Most notably, we owe a debt of gratitude to Joy Senyondwa, who tended to Rita selflessly to the last. Also, we appreciate the kindness of Helen Funk and Valerie Firth who offered Rita hours of companionship and compassion.
If you wish to remember Rita, please donate to the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba, or the charity of your choice.

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