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SIDNEY JOEL SPIVAK It is with great sadness that we announce the sudden death of Sidney Joel Spivak on Monday, July 8, 2002. He is mourned by his wife of 47 years, Senator Mira Spivak; his three children, Lori, Harold and Diane; their spouses, Gordon McKinnon, Lesley Belows and Laurence Goldberg; his grandchildren, Sarah, Andrew and Daniel McKinnon; Michaela and Alexandra Spivak; Jonathan, Rebecca and Michael Goldberg; his brother Frank Spivak and an extended group of family and friends who remember him as a beacon of strength, love and kindness. Sidney was born in Winnipeg on May 23, 1928. His parents, Rose and Malick were powerful influences in his life and helped to instill in him a sense of ambition and commitment to public service. He graduated from the University of Manitoba law school in 1951 with the Alexander Morris Exhibition Prize for the highest standing in four years at law school and went on to Harvard for his Master of Laws. He returned to Winnipeg to pursue a career in law, business and politics. He became active in the Progressive Conservative Party in the mid 1950s and was the MLA for River Heights from 1966 until 1977. He served under three premiers in senior portfolios and was viewed as one of the most able members of cabinet with natural leadership abilities. He was leader of the Progressive Conservatives from 1971 to 1975. Sidney also had a distinguished record of community service. He was devoted to the cause of Zionism, the betterment of the Jewish community and service to the wider community. He held leadership positions in Bnai Brith, JNF, Canadian associates of Ben Gurion University, Bar Ilan and Canadian Council of Christians and Jews. In his tenure as the national chairman of the Canada-Israel Committee in the late 1980s and early 1990s, he played an important role in influencing Canadian policy on the middle east. He was also involved in most of the major cultural organizations in Winnipeg, he chaired the capital campaign for the University of Winnipeg and was on the board of governors of the University of Manitoba. In addition, he worked tirelessly for the St. Boniface Hospital, on the Board of Directors, as vice-chair of the St. Boniface Research Foundation and chair of its finance committee. He was also instrumental in bringing together the city to settle in the Vietnamese boat people in as chair of Winnipegs Refugee Assistance Committee. Sidneys life and the way he conducted himself touched the lives of many different people. Those he met sensed something special in him, a unique genuineness and humanity. He enthusiastically embraced life, living not just for the present, but for the imagined future and the promise it held. He was a natural leader and in his presence people felt buoyed, hopeful and excited. He was well known for his warmth and generosity, his kindness and compassion for others, his determination and intelligence, his humility and self effacing nature, his great resilience and grace under pressure. A funeral service was held at the Shaarey Zedek Synagogue on July 10. Pallbearers were Gordon McKinnon, Laurence Goldberg, Andrew McKinnon, Robert Steele, Charles Steele, Stephen Corne, Lee Southern and John Campbell. Honorary pallbearers were Maurice Steele, Tamara Steele, Leah Steele, Harold Buchwald, Martin Corne, Earl Hershfield, Martin Freedman, David Kaufman, Monte Nathanson, Harvey Pollock, Morse Silden and Alvin Zivot. A fund in Sidneys honour has been established at The Canadian Association of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Donations can be sent to 209 - 205 Corydon Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R3P 0N9. Telephone: (204) 942-7347.
As published in the Winnipeg Free Press on July 12, 2002