Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 06/24/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
There will be no more encores for Jose Poneira.
Poneira, a one-time fixture on the city's nightclub scene, died Saturday at the age of 90 after a brief illness.
Poneira fronted trios and quartets for several decades in Winnipeg and in nightclubs across Canada and the United States.
In Winnipeg, his quartet was popular at the now-defunct Rancho Don Carlos.
Poneira was at the piano for Sunday brunch in the Fort Garry Hotel's Palm Room for 20 years, last playing there for his 90th birthday in February.
"He was an excellent pianist and a wonderful human being," bandleader and pianist Ron Paley said. "He was a musical inspiration to me. We'll miss him."
His son, Richard, said his father was a humble man.
"He was an extremely gracious man who was very grateful for everything he got. He never took anything for granted."
Poneira's star shone brightly on stage but he took a circuitous route to get there. Richard Poneira said his father came from an affluent German family. Jose's father was a doctor and his grandfather on his mother's side was Wilhelm von Humboldt, who founded the Humboldt University of Berlin and is credited with establishing the modern western education system.
The family fled their homeland for Spain in 1934 as National Socialism was taking root. The family operated a ranch in Spain but lost everything during the Spanish Civil War and returned to Germany, only to flee again in 1941, this time for Argentina.
Poneira's wife of 58 years, Gladys, said it was in Argentina where Jose developed his love of Latin music, which would become his signature style.
Richard said his father moved to New York City in 1947, where he became a fixture in the nightclub scene, playing at the famed Waldorf Astoria and the popular Harwin Club, where he met Gladys.
"He knew all the stars and celebrities and moved in that circle," Richard said, adding his father once played at a party for actor Robert Mitchum in 1949, and one of Jose's trios provided the music for the engagement party of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco.
Jose and Gladys came to Winnipeg in 1955 and stayed. "We liked it so much, we stayed and eventually became citizens," Gladys said.
Richard said his father solidified his reputation locally during the 1950s and 1960s, playing regularly at Rancho Don Carlos and getting his own national weekly show on CBC television, A Song For You, from 1962 to 1964, which included guitarist Lenny Breau in Poneira's quartet.
Richard said his father took the family to Toronto and Vancouver in the late 1960s and early '70s, but returned to Winnipeg in 1976.
Even though effectively blind and deaf for the last 10 years of his life, Richard said his father continued to entertain.
"He was a very humble man who worked very hard," Richard said. "His family lost everything, but that never fazed him. He appreciated everything anybody ever did for him."
Funeral arrangements are pending.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 24, 2013 A10
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
2 NYC police officers killed in ambush shooting
Craig Ferguson says good night as 'Late Late Show' host
Humphries makes her four-man bobsled debut
Arrest in home invasion involving D-Day vet
Twitter account isn't mine: Magnotta judge
Birth in a northern nation
Police seek driver after pickup truck hits pedestrian
Earthquake detected off British Columbia
Volunteers in annual drive get those hampers out to families
Sony saga blends foreign intrigue, star wattage
Protesters: 'It's not the time' for more Cuba ties
Oilsands leak prompts questions about steam
Police arrest suspect in daylight gas bar robbery
Police nab 8 in street gang drug bust
Remains may be decade old
Sources: Doneil Henry headed to West Ham
Protecting NDP values: Oswald
Jets' Byfuglien back on the ice after late-game mishap
Key of Bart: God Rest Ye Premier Selinger
N. Korea proposes joint probe over Sony hacking
From freezing drizzle and fog to snow
Backstopper bests the Bruins
The measure of the man
'I don't want to die a drunk'
Students help homeless stay clean, healthful
Birtle farm boy goes global
CentreVenture boss got a lot done
Sleep in the Greatest Manitoban's log cabin
Half of Manitobans support Gang of Five
Winnipeg Sun returns city money for indigenous-reporter internship
Infant remains in locker may be decade old: Brodsky
Stevenson defends WBC belt with KO win
Edmonton police cancel Amber Alert
Donated coins buy Christmas cheer
Winnipeg Tory MP under preliminary ethics probe in possible conflict of interest case
No charges laid against man who killed teen mugger
Oswald officially enters NDP leadership race; promises an "alternative vision"
Police seek help in finding 16-year-old boy
The terrible lessons we teach our kids
Four charged after gun stash found