Dr. Sidney Fleisher died peacefully at his home on November 4th. He was a loving and adored husband, father, father-in-law, zaida, and great-zaida. He is missed and will always be remembered by his daughters and sons-in-law, Marcia and Kelly, Rhonda and Bob, Susan and Larry, and Sara and Benjamin. Also mourning Sidney are his sister, Arlene Rusk, brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Larry and Faye Litman, and his grandchildren, Alexander, Georgia, Loren, Ethan, Lily, Mira, Leah, Jeremy, Alexa (Aaron), and Brendan, and great-grandson, Arthur. Sidney Fleisher was predeceased by Beverly, his loving wife of 53 years, his sisters, Bessie Zelickson and Miriam Fleisher, his brothers-in-law, Jerry Litman, Cyril Zelickson, and Michael Rusk, and his nephew, Kenny Zelickson.
Sidney was born in north end Winnipeg to Jewish immigrant parents on the eve of the Great Depression and grew to maturity during the Second World War. He was the eldest of four children and the only son. As a child he worked in the family grocery store early mornings before school and after school. In 1944, while still in grade 11, Sidney dropped out of school and joined the 2nd (R) Battalion of the Winnipeg Light Infantry while continuing to work with his father. He remained in the grocery business until his mid to late 20s. At that point he became a travelling salesman with Success Wax and excelled at this work. When a large international corporation purchased Success Wax, he was one of the few employees who were fired. And when he was subsequently refused employment at a job with another large company he learned (from a friend who worked there) that they simply did not hire Jews. He said that when he heard this he vowed that he would never again allow himself to be in a position where he could be fired – that he needed to be his own boss and he needed to work at something that would comfortably support his family. To fulfill this promise to himself, even though he was married with three children and 33 years old, he returned to high school (there was no Adult Education program at the time) with the intention of going on to dentistry.
In 1968, at age 40, Sidney had one of the proudest moments of his life when he graduated as a dentist. The quality of his work was recognized by his peers. Frequently, patients who had seen another dentist, upon their return to Sidney, would report that the other dentist had commented on the work being ‘beautiful’ and would ask who the dentist had been. He was a caring dentist who was moved and concerned by patients’ pain. He strove to relieve it, doing free dental work if patients could not afford to pay. In the latter part of his career he focussed on temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction. He became aware that there were large numbers of patients with unrecognized, untreated and/or poorly treated pain from TMJ disorder, many of whom had been suffering for years. With further study and practice in this field, Sidney developed such expertise that he was successful in relieving pain in patients who had been unsuccessfully treated by other health care professionals. Ultimately, he had patients who came from many other countries specifically to be treated for TMJ dysfunction.
The greatest passion of Sidney’s life was his wife Beverly, whom he met at a party in 1947 when he was 18 and she was 15 years old. Within a year they were engaged and were married two years later during the Red River flood of 1950. In spite of this inauspicious beginning, the stress of having a family while they were very young, financial worries, and the pressure of returning to school and studying dentistry and knowing that this was his ‘best last chance’ to give his Beverly and children the lives that he felt they deserved, he and Beverly maintained an unwavering passion for each other. His children cannot recall a single occasion when he was critical of Bev or when they argued. Every day upon his return from work they met at the door and (at times very embarrassingly for his children) would share a passionate kiss and embrace.
As a father he was loving and affectionate. He would involve his daughters and later his grandchildren in all sorts of projects. He took great pleasure in teaching them many practical life skills – how to polish shoes, how to mow a lawn – and, being perfectionistic, he taught them how to perform these skills in his special way. By the time he was a grandfather, he had more time, so the nature and breadth of the skills changed. He taught them the making and bottling of wine, how to polish a Mercedes (his first and most loved luxury car), and the care involved in storing, cutting, and enjoying a Cuban cigar. He was a wonderful grandfather and great-grandfather. His grandchildren, now scattered over the continent, took much comfort and delight in coming together at the time of his passing and sharing many anecdotes involving their time with Zaida Sid.
Sidney was a complex mixture of virtue and foibles and, very often, apparent contradictions. At his core there were two related but distinct forces driving much of what he did and he was at his best when these two forces worked together. The first was a compelling need to ‘make things better, to improve upon’ and the second was profound compassion for those who were disadvantaged in some way. The ‘improvements’ applied to both the trivial and the life-altering. For example, he excitedly added strawberry Jello powder to his rugalach recipe, thinking it would enhance both flavour and texture (hint: it wasn’t an improvement). And the same force was at play when he provided the necessary money for someone to improve their lives and/or the lives of their families by funding a new business, paying for years of university, or providing support for a family which allowed a parent to begin a new venture, etc. Sometimes he did this for family and at other times he did this for patients or even strangers. But they all became his friends. His generosity was untrumpeted; there is no building or faculty bearing his name. There are only people whose lives and whose children’s lives have been positively transformed as a result of knowing Sid.
Sidney had a ‘larger than life’ personality. He was a tall, attractive man with a ‘big’, positive energetic presence. He was extraordinarily extraverted and upbeat and he spoke boisterously and laughed frequently. Sidney had a terrific sense of humour and, most importantly, never took himself too seriously. He easily shared laughs at his own expense and, with his abundance of quirks, there were many such laughs. Sidney had an astounding amount of resilience and tenacity and an iron will, and this carried him through life’s difficult times. He did not have an easy early life and his return to school was very tough. But surely his most painful trials were the loss of his Beverly in 2004 and his lengthy final illness with its painfully slow series of cumulative losses. He faced all of this with ineffable good cheer and expressions of love for those who loved him. What a guy.
The family would like to thank Edna Johnson, Sidney’s dental assistant of 30 years, without whom he could not have practised dentistry well into his 80s. We also thank the marvellous caregivers who have felt like members of our extended family – some for over ten years. These remarkable people treated Sidney lovingly, gently, and with great care and enabled him to remain at home until the end. They are: Eliny Santiago, Theresita Barillos, Gizelle Arevelo, Eduardo Arevelo, Connie Agbayani, Ruth Sunico, and Anita Obfintuyi.
Sidney received superb medical care from his rheumatologist, Dr. Carol Hitchon, and his family physician, Dr. Grant Goldberg. Both of these doctors provided care that reflected that rare combination of medical excellence and genuine compassion, respect, and concern. Even when leaving his home was a struggle, an appointment with Dr. Hitchon brightened Sidney’s day. And we cannot count the number of times Dr. Goldberg called us to check on Sidney’s health during what were supposed to be his ‘off hours’. We also want to thank the nurses at the Rheumatology Clinic, Tom Hartlieb and Laurie Radke. Dr. Goldberg’s physician assistant, Matthew Christian, was knowledgeable and very helpful on countless occasions, as were the wonderful nurses at Fort Garry Access. Finally, thank you to the Palliative Care Team, who were incredibly helpful, a pleasure to deal with, and were always available when we needed them. We just couldn’t have asked for more.
Sidney’s funeral was held at the Chesed Shel Emes. Interment took place at the Bnay Abraham Cemetery on November 7th. Pallbearers were: Alexander MacDonald, Ethan Landy, Loren MacDonald, Jeremy Hecht, Leah Cornblum, and Brendan Hecht. The family wishes to thank Cantor Tracy Kasner, who performed an absolutely beautiful service. A gathering to remember and honour Sidney will take place at a later date.
People who wish to make a donation may donate to The Beverly and Sidney Fleisher Fund at the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba (204) 477 7520, the Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre (204) 878 3740, or a charity of your choice.
BARBARA JEAN WERIER
It is with great sadness our family shares the passing of our beloved mother and grandmother, Barbara Jean Werier, who passed away peacefully on February 6 with family by her side. She was 91 years of age.
She was predeceased by her husband Samuel Werier, and her sister Ann Jason. She is survived by her son’s Joel (Madelaine) and Alan, and her cherished grandchildren Samuel and Rachel.
Barbara was born in the north end of Winnipeg in 1932. She and her younger sister Ann developed a strong bond that would continue well into adulthood. One of her first employment opportunities was with Winnipeg Central Mortgage and Housing, which she spoke fondly of over the years. In 1965 she married her love, Samuel Werier, and they embarked on a 28-year long journey of love, family, and business.
Mom was devoted to her family and children and took great pride in their successes and was always a support in times of disappointment. She was in many ways self-made, and self-taught, and when her husband Samuel passed away in 1993, she continued to run the ‘family business’ J. Werier & Co, on the corner of Princess and Alexander, for the next 25 years.
She was strong, witty and had a tireless work ethic, and always demonstrated kindness and understanding – and she could stand her ground. She taught us how to be good people, and to appreciate the world around us.
Mom found great peace, happiness, and inspiration from a small family cottage in The Whiteshell, where many summer weekends were spent. She found great solace in nature, landscaping, and gardening. She could often be seen walking the trails at the cottage with a pruning saw in her hand. She understood ecology and sustainability before it was fashionable, composted for as long as we can remember, and refused to use fertilizers and chemicals to protect the animals and lakes that she loved.
Mom was the rock and glue of our family. She selflessly supported her family and all around her throughout her life. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to surround her with family and return that support over the last few years. A special thanks to Rodney Chester Larios, who provided exceptional care and became an extended member of our family.
Donations can be made to the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba.
CLARICE DANZKER (née YAREN) December 29, 1924 -January 9, 2024
After a life well-lived, the family of Clarice Danzker announces her passing on Tuesday, January 9, 2024 at the age of 99.
Clarice was born in Winnipeg to Nessie and Abraham Yaren, exactly 3 years to the day after her future husband, Ernie. She was the youngest of five children. She grew up in Winnipeg’s North End during the depression, and always described her childhood as happy. Her passing marks the end of an entire era as the last of her generation on both sides of the Danzker and Yaren families. She is survived by her children, Simmie (Larry) Nasberg, Lainey Danzker (Michael Werier), her grandchildren Steven Werier (Kimi Wertman), Alissa Nasberg, Nessa Werier(Jason Lichtman ), Benji Nasberg, her great-grandchildren Jacob, Sofie and Ozzie. She was pre-deceased by her husband Ernie, her siblings Lil Popeski, Jack Yaren, Harry Yaren, Sima Yaren and many in-laws, nieces & nephews.
Clarice and Ernie met on a blind date over a game of bridge. They were married in the great flood of 1950 and as the story goes, they relocated their wedding from the Alexandra Hotel to a relative’s home, which they accessed by boat. This elegant lovely woman, together with Ernie, the gregarious man who was her inseparable partner for over 60 years of marriage, built and sustained a family full of happiness, empathy, and love at which they were the constant center. Their home was characterized by singsongs, guitar, laughter and people on every possible occasion.
In the way she lived, Clarice taught those around her invaluable lessons. She was the eternal optimist, always finding something to be happy about. Nothing gave her more joy in her last years than spending time with her great-grandchildren. She was open-minded, progressive, fair, insightful, and dedicated. She treated everyone with respect & had a kind word for all. She was a person of strong convictions. She lived by the philosophy of healthy mind and healthy body, and she remained active in both throughout her 99 years.
Clarice was involved in many organizations, National Council of Jewish Women, the Shaarey Zedek sisterhood, school organizations, camp organizations, and the arts, which she loved – the symphony, the ballet, the art gallery, the theater.
Clarice & Ernie & their family shared amazing times at Winnipeg Beach, Naples, Florida and over 30 winters in Rancho Mirage, California, honing their golf skills and mastering their bridge games. They made lifelong friends everywhere they went.
Clarice always said “your visits made my day”, but it was she who made ours magical.
The family would like to thank Tess, Baby, Maybelle, and Letty for their dignified care these last months and Dr. Kristen Creek for her exceptional and compassionate care.
Funeral services were held on January 11, 2024
Donations in Clarice’s honour may be made to the Ernie and Clarice Danzker Family Fund, c/o The Jewish Foundation of Manitoba or to a charity of your choice.
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.