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Obituaries

RUTH KETTNER

It is with sadness and gratitude that we mourn the loss of our mother, Ruth Kettner. She died in her 100th year on February 15, 2023. We are sad that she is gone. We are grateful that she died the way she wanted to: peacefully in her own home, in her favourite chair, with her family holding her hands. Her warm heart stopped after more than three billion heart beats.
Most of all, we are thankful for her. She had a wonderful life. She was loved by more people than we know.
Ruth put her joy of life, her heart, and her warm hard-working hands into everything she did. She seemed to find enjoyment in all of it, especially being with and caring for her family, their friends, her nephews and nieces, her friends, fellow activists, work colleagues, and her patients. She made people feel welcomed and valued. Although not officially trained as one, she was a counselor to many, ready to listen to anyone who sought her advice or support. She was inclusive in a way that made those around her feel that they were part of her family. She made people feel loved. It was easy to love her back.
Ruth was born on May 2, 1923 in Winnipeg. Her parents were Molly Hechter and Hymie Wiseman. She grew up on Corydon Avenue with her three siblings: Ethel (Bert), Edna (Jack) and Barrie (Maureen). At the age of 19, she married Max Kettner. She and Max, who predeceased her in 2008, led a life full of love, work, adventure, compassion, learning, and generosity together for 66 years. They married in Kingston, Ontario during WW2 and moved shortly thereafter to Minneapolis for Max to complete his PhD. Ruth supported the family, which increased from two children (Faye and Billy) to four (Joel and Bruce), by working as a typist. In 1956, they returned to Winnipeg and moved into 84 St. Cross in Winnipeg’s north end. That house served as the well-loved family home for them and countless friends until all the children left.
Born left-handed, Ruth was pressured at school to write with her non-dominant right hand. Although she was initially resistant to it, she became ambidextrous, which may have been a factor in her lively and entertaining piano playing and her award-winning penmanship, which endured until the day she died. Her ability to navigate her way through or around such efforts to mould or constrain her – whether personal or societal – were a theme of her life.
Prior to her eventual career, Ruth was predominantly a “stay-at-home” mom. She was reliable and always available – not just for a hot lunch every school day or for help with homework and school projects. She created a home that was warm, comfy, and stimulating. Outside the home, she was involved with a peace activist group “Voice of Women”, Girl Scouts and Cubs leadership, and the PTA at Luxton school. She directed school plays for the annual Winnipeg Play Parade.
She had fun and knew how to create fun for others. She hosted events, big and small, and welcomed everyone with genuine warmth. She was delighted to receive guests – whether invited or not! – at the house or cottage.
Despite her many activities, she found time for relaxation and recreation. She was content to be alone, baking pies, cakes, and muffins in bare feet while listening to opera. She was as at home at the opera or ballet in New York, London, or Winnipeg, as she was camping in Arizona or the Rockies.
At the age of 42, once her children were in high school and university, Ruth decided to go back to school to obtain a diploma in Early Childhood Development. She chose to work with hospitalized sick children, and soon became the Director of the Child Life Department at Children’s Hospital. There, she led a gradually expanding team that developed and implemented an innovative and well-respected program. She became a sought-after teacher, speaker, and consultant, locally, nationally, and internationally. At the core of the program’s success was Ruth’s creativity and warm heart, inspiring all the staff as well as others throughout the hospital. Although she loved working directly with the children, much of her work was providing direct support for their parents, especially those of terminally ill children. She also applied her life experience of navigating challenging obstacles by using her charm and persuasiveness to advocate for the children and to obtain resources from administrators and benefactors.
She was awarded many honours during her life including the Queen Elizabeth ll Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977, YWCA Woman of the Year in 1978, and the Child Life Council Distinguished Service Award in 2004. She received an honorary professorship in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Manitoba. Not bad for a girl who left school after grade 10!
For their retirement, Max and Ruth bought a recreational vehicle for winter vacationing in Arizona. When Max’s eyesight failed, Ruth learned to drive the 32-foot RV so they could continue wintering in their favourite State Parks in Arizona.
After Max died, Ruth continued her engagement with The Compassionate Friends of Winnipeg. She maintained relationships with at least three generations that were touched, directly or indirectly, by her care for their children and support of their families. She remained in contact throughout her life with the numerous staff and colleagues who sought ongoing connection with her. She joined a creative writing group that met regularly at her home. Over a period of ten years, she wrote over one hundred short non-fiction stories, some already published, and others yet to be.
We think that the story of her life is a wonderful and inspiring one. We are grateful that our families – all three generations – and so many others have been a part of her story and share her legacy.
Her greatest joys were, of course, her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. She made them all feel special. She was their “Ma”, “Baba”, or “Baba Baba”.
Faye: Marni (Grant), Isanne, Maya, Noa; Rachel (John), Hannah; Katherine (Bryan), Nathan, Tess. Frank and Valerie, Martyn, The Hilderman/Berry Family, The Greenberg Family.
Billy (Jane): Amy, Jack; Libby, Lucas, Emma. Billy (Debbie): Robert (Lisa), Sally. Billy (Avril): Ashlyn (Eitan), Devon (Sandra) Lola.
Joel (Sharon): Michelle (Joel), Arthur, Hannah; Beth (David), Alice, Georgia, Simone; Joanne (Matt), Juliette, Emma. Joel (Charlotte): Heather (Roz), Demi; Ben (Megan), Jack; Jace (Olena).
Bruce (Lindafern): Madeleine (Nico), Aaron, Yael; Jacob (Rylie), Asher, Ben.
Donations can be made to the Ruth Kettner Child Life Endowment Fund (at Children’s Hospital Foundation) to support child life workers’ attendance at professional development conferences and courses.
A memorial service to mourn her death and celebrate her life will be held on June 29, 2023, at The Leaf conservatory in Assiniboine Park. The service will begin at 2:00 PM (doors will open at 1:00). Our plan is to livestream and record the formal part of the ceremony.

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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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Obituaries

VAL CORRIN June 7, 1935 – May 11, 2024

With profound sadness, the family of Val Corrin announces her passing on May 11, 2024, at the age of 88.

A graveside service was held on May 14, 2024 at Rosh Pina Cemetery, with Rabbi Kliel Rose officiating. Pallbearers included her sons Blair and Bradley, nephews Philip Corrin, Benji Sepke, Jonah Sepke, and Simon Sepke.

Val was born in Winnipeg to Alda and William Cook. She married the love of her life, Mort Corrin, in 1957 and they lived briefly in Denver, Colorado before returning to Winnipeg where together they began raising three children – daughter Debbie and sons Blair and Bradley. Val converted to Judaism in 1961 and became active in Hadassah and ORT. In the mid-1970s, the family moved to Toronto where Mort had a successful career as a Regional Manager for London Life. Following Mort’s retirement in 1992, he and Val made their summer home in Winnipeg, while enjoying winters in sunny Florida where Val enjoyed playing mahjong and golf, and watching her favourite team, the Toronto Blue Jays.

Val was predeceased by her daughter Debbie, husband Mort, and sister Elaine. Left to cherish her memory are her children Blair and Bradley, son-in-law Steve Douglas, and many grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. Thank you to the staff at Luther Home for their comfort and care. May her memory be a blessing.

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