Free Press
Clothes brought the woman
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Clothes brought the woman

Not much clothing is actually made in Winnipeg anymore, but for decades the city was renowned for its garment factories.

Carmelita Schultz, who was 86 when she died on March 16, helped contribute a chapter of that long history.

The second of eight children, Carmelita was born and raised in the Philippines. She attended university, then took a secretarial degree and worked in the garment industry there until her early 30s.

Then, in October 1968, she came to Winnipeg as one of the first people recruited to work in the then-booming garment industry as part of a federal program for skilled workers.

The program paid for the workers’ flight here, found them a place to live and gave them $125 to help start them off. Workers were offered a two-year contract and the ability to eventually become a Canadian citizen.

More than 1,200 Filipino workers followed Carmelita before the program ended in 1972; many of those who came through the program sponsored other family members and friends to come here.

Carmelita Almazan met Gerhard Schultz here, and the two married in 1972. They had two sons and lived on a farm in Waldersee, Man.

Tragedy struck in 1988: Gerhard died and she had to raise her two sons by herself with the help of family and friends.

Her strong faith in God saw her through — she was a parishioner for more than 45 years at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church — and later her faith took her on trips to Vatican City in Rome, Israel and Jordan. She also served as a Eucharistic Minister.

Carmelita lived, worked, raised a family and spent the majority of her life in Winnipeg, all because the local garment trade needed workers — that’s ‘sew’ nice.

Besides her two sons, Carmelita is survived by four grandchildren and numerous siblings, nieces and nephews. Read more about Carmelita. 

Kevin Rollason

Kevin Rollason, Reporter

Kevin Rollason

How They Lived

Ron and Audrey Martin were married for 70 years and hoped they’d never live apart from each other — and they didn’t.

You can see the love they had for each other in the heart-shaped spectacles both are wearing in the photograph that accompanies their obituary.

The couple were living independently in their condo, but “an unfortunate fall” resulted in them both being admitted to hospital in early February.

After 20 days in hospital, they died only one hour and 40 minutes apart.

Earlier in life, Ron, 92, and Audrey, 90, owned and operated the Grand Marais Village Store for more than 20 years. Read more about Ron and Audrey. 



Ronald Mrozik’s more than seven-decade music career had an early high point: he played the fiddle with Hank Snow when he was only 17.

That live show on CKY may have been a notable moment in his career, but Ronald, who died on Nov. 20 at age 90, had many more.

Known as Peanuts, Ronald played Ukrainian polkas and waltzes with the Canadian Wagonmasters and other bands throughout the province. He also played live on CJOB as part of the popular Western Hour with George McCloy, and he was on television in the late 1980s on the Western Hour with Red Wine, hosted by Len Fairchuk.

At the same time, Ronald also had a 36-year career with the federal government. Read more about Ronald. 



Rita Frejuk was destined to marry Peter — or at least to open his mail.

Rita shared the same address with Peter, but one lived on Yale Avenue West and the other on Yale Avenue East. They sometimes got each others’ mail.

The letters might have been put in the wrong mailbox, but their love was something to write home about. They were married for 62 years and raised a daughter and a son. Read more about Rita. 



We’ll never know what movies Connor Duff would have made, but his family wants to help others to fulfill their dreams.

Connor, who was 26 when he died on Feb. 22, was following his dream to become a Hollywood movie director. He was 16 months into an 18-month Toronto Film School program when he died.

His family has set up a bursary in his name at the University of Manitoba, where he had earlier graduated with a theatre major. Read more about Connor. 



Pat Flaws was a trailblazer for women in business.

Pat, who died on March 10 at age 82, owned a Diet Centre franchise and became a strong advocate for women in business. She worked for the Women’s Enterprise Centre and Success Skills and she was a founder of both the Women’s Business Owners of Manitoba and the Women’s Canadian Club of Manitoba.

She was also on the boards of YMCA-YWCA Women of Distinction and Manitoba Women’s Advisory Committee and volunteered for numerous other organizations including the Never Alone Cancer Foundation and Pembina Active Living. Read more about Pat. 



Thompson and Pinawa might look different if Chris Balness hadn’t been there.

Chris, who died on March 14 at 85, worked on geophysical surveying and exploration and helped do much of the survey work long before Thompson became a city, when it was only a mine with a few buildings in the bush.

He then moved and did the same in Pinawa, working on both the survey and clearing the land in the town and around the Atomic Energy Canada site. He was then employed in AECL’s stores department for 30 years. Read more about Chris. 



Dan Hepner gave of himself — literally.

When the daughter of his dear friends, who had cystic fibrosis, needed a lung transplant to extend her life, Dan agreed to be one of the donors.

But that wasn’t his only donation of himself. He regularly gave blood and, after he died at age 62 on Feb. 1, he donated his eyes to the Eye Bank of British Columbia. Read more about Dan. 



A Life’s Story

Beryl Paintin was many things, but not being afraid to speak her mind wasn’t one of them.

Beryl, who died on Aug. 27 at 84, was an entrepreneur — she owned Act 2 — and an advocate for small business owners. She was also known for her candor.

Friends and colleague say Paintin was one of the most positive people you’d ever meet. (Supplied)

“There was no shrinking violet in her,” Grant Nordman told writer Jim Timlick recently in A Life’s Story piece about her life.

“She was never mean, but by the same token she didn’t abide by the rules of political correctness where you couldn’t talk about a subject.”

Read more about Beryl’s life.



Until next time, I hope you continue to write your own life’s story.



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