How They Lived
Ronald McLeish was a speedster on skates.
McLeish, who died on Aug. 18 at 68, was a world-class speedskater who competed around the world. He was the Canadian long track champion in 1973 and 1974.
He later went into real estate and land development and in one subdivision — Highland Park in East St. Paul — he named several streets using his Scottish heritage, including Highland Park Drive and Tartan Way. He also named two for his daughters — Lori Lane and Jenna Cove. Read about Ronald here.
Obituaries usually have a date of birth and when a person died. Maria Lee's obituary only has one.
That's because Lee, who died on Aug. 27, didn't know when she was born because her mother died giving birth to her in Russia, her dad went off to war, and she survived being in a concentration camp.
When the camp Lee was in was liberated, she was arbitrarily given a birth date and year. All she knew was it was sometime in the 1920s.
She came to Canada, became a psychiatric nurse at the Selkirk Mental Health Hospital, met and married the son of the owner of a local Chinese restaurant, and had two daughters. Read about Maria here.
Jack Winters saw a lot of change during his career in education.
Winters, who was 87 when he died on Aug. 15, started his career in a one-room schoolhouse in Melba where he had to get up early, fire up the wood stove, and then go outside to greet the students coming there on horseback.
He next taught at Jefferson Junior High School in Winnipeg — where he met his wife — and later was a proponent of the community schools concept, which was first adopted by the Seven Oaks School Division before spreading through the city and province.
Winters was there when both James Nisbet Elementary and Ken Seaford Junior High opened and, when he retired he had gone from teaching in a one-room school house to being principal at Maples Collegiate, then the largest school in the province. Read about Jack here.
Georgina Pinette worked for years in a hospital laundry.
But it was what Pinette did in her off hours that was so exceptional.
Pinette, who was 91 when she died on Aug. 27, loved history and she loved reading history and biography books. It's probably how she got into genealogy after she retired.
And Pinette got into it in a big way. Along with two other family members, they traced her family's tree and they were able to, for part of her dad's branch, to go all the way back to 1000 A.D. Read about Georgina here.
You could say Hildy Leverton loved summer camp so much she never left.
Well, actually Leverton, who died on Aug. 29 at 90, did leave for a few years - she graduated as a nurse and worked in psychiatric nursing and took further courses.
But it was her experience at Pioneer Camp when she was a young girl which helped shape her life. It was there, she always said, she found her love of God and became a devout Christian. She also loved the canoeing, nature studies, camp fires, the life-long friends she met, and Bible studies.
And it was where, years later after being a camper, nurse and counsellor at the camp, that she returned as its girl's camp director, a position she stayed in for 33 years. Read about Hildy here.
Dr. John Foerster was a hematologist and oncologist.
But while Foerster helped many patients, he has helped many more by his central role in developing the renowned St. Boniface General Hospital Research Centre.
Foerster, who was 85 when he died on August 30, also created the prestigious International Award given out by the St. Boniface Hospital Foundation. Past recipients include Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Rosalynn Carter, Sir Edmund Hillary, Sir Bob Geldof and Steve Nash.
Because of everything Foerster did, he was honoured with many local and national awards including the Order of Canada. Read about John here.
A Life's Story
Gerry-Jenn Wilson was a rock and roll force of nature.
The daughter of a former MLA Bob Wilson, she left Winnipeg for the Vancouver music scene and became the face of numerous bands including the punk outfit JPS.
Wilson, who died in March at 52, was recently featured in our weekly feature on the front of the Saturday Passages section.
DAVE JOHNSON / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Wilson holding Psychobelia, a zine she published at 17-years-old in 1986.
"So much charisma without even trying," Wilson's JPS bandmate and long time friend Ligaya Fatima told Jen Zoratti.
"Just absolutely naturally gifted with whatever that touch of the universe is."
Wilson even wrote a song about her dad, "The Ballad of Bob Wilson", about his conviction on drug conspiracy charges, which ended his career in the 1980s, because she maintained his innocence.
Until next time, I hope you continue to write your own life's story.