How They Lived
Lily Goritz was born south of Steinbach in 1929, later moving with her family to Dencross, Man., when she was about nine. At that time, Dencross, located east of Libau, was considered unorganized territory and there were no schools.
Goritz, who died on Dec. 30 at 92, grew up helping on the family farm and later raised turkeys to sell at Thanksgiving. She sold them as far away as Kenora until she was fined for illegally selling in another province.
She moved to Winnipeg and later worked her way up to dishroom supervisor at the Health Sciences Centre, where she was respected by her co-workers. Read more about Lily.
Adrien Perras lived to 67, thanks to an unknown kidney donor when he was 22.
Perras, who died on Dec. 23, became a probation officer, got married and had a daughter, and lived his life with a tremendous amount of joy and activity — until about four years ago, when he again needed dialysis.
His brother agreed to donate one of his kidneys, and the surgery was successful — but tragically Perras died from surgical complications. Read more about Adrien.
Georges Toupin always said he read the obituaries to make sure his name wasn’t there; unfortunately he won’t be reading this one.
Toupin, who died on Dec. 13, at 97, worked in construction. During the Second World War he helped build radar stations, and he was able to transfer those skills into civilian life. He started his own business building commercial buildings, houses, and cottages in Winnipeg, Northwestern Ontario, and British Columbia. With a partner, he opened and operated the Cartwright Hotel in southern Manitoba.
Toupin was also related to a former premier; his daughter’s husband is Greg Selinger. Read more about Georges.
John Houlden started running later in life — and he kept running longer than most.
Houlden, who died on Dec. 27 at 97, started running in races when he was 48.
He kept running until his final races when he was 90 at the Canadian 55-plus Games in 2014. He won four gold medals there. Read more about John.
Brian Darragh loved Winnipeg’s former streetcars, but that came naturally — he was the last surviving operator of them.
Darragh, who died on Dec. 20 age at 93, also wrote a book about the period called The Streetcars of Winnipeg — Our Forgotten Heritage. He also volunteered for a committee raising funds to renovate one of the streetcars.
His family has asked for donations to restore Streetcar 356. Read more about Brian.
A Life’s Story
Vickie Czarnecki was so indispensable to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers that she is the first and only woman inducted into its Winnipeg Football Club Hall of Fame.
Czarnecki, who died at 91 on Sept. 11, was hired by the Bombers as an executive assistant way back in 1954, and later took on a number of front-office roles, becoming basically the team’s office manager.
Vickie Czarnecki at the 2001 Hall of Fame induction ceremony with Blue Bombers general manager Lyle Bauer. (Supplied)
“Everything went through Vickie,” recalled legendary head coach Bud Grant to writer Jim Timlick. Grant led the team to four Grey Cup victories in the late 1950s and early 1960s before moving on to coach the Minnesota Vikings.
“She kept track of everything. She could decipher if something was important or very important or not important at all.”
Read more about Czarnecki’s life.
Until next time, I hope you continue to write your own life’s story.