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LISSA MARY DONNER  Obituary pic

LISSA MARY DONNER

Date of Passing: Nov 08, 2017

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LISSA MARY DONNER Peacefully, but not without a fight, Lissa Mary Donner died November 8, 2017, surrounded by the love of family and friends. Lissa's life began in 1955 in the house her father, the late architect Jack Donner, designed for their family on Churchill Drive, in Winnipeg. It was in that home that the foundations of Lissa's beliefs in social justice and equality were forged: a political family from the early days of the 20th century, theirs was the only one on the street to have an NDP campaign sign on the lawn without fail during every election. Her passion for social justice, her love of music, exercise and the outdoors, coupled with determination and a kind heart meant that Lissa became engaged in diverse ways to build a better world. To choose only a few examples: through her social work practicum, Lissa developed the plan for what became the Manitoba Federation of Labour's Occupational Health Centre, and where she was appointed its first Executive Director; she was a regional reporter for Women Healthsharing, a pioneering magazine on women's health; she ran as a federal NDP candidate in St. James in 1984; and through her work at the Canadian Cooperative Association, she supported co-op development in Canada and internationally. As a researcher, analyst and consultant, Lissa authored a myriad of widely respected reports on women and poverty, gender health indicators, primary care services, low income housing, occupational health and the report that led to the building of this city's Birth Centre. Lissa was a planner par excellence and queen of the spreadsheet. Whether assigning tasks for the Sholem Aleichem Community's Passover seder organizing political campaigns, helping friends move, or tracking multimillion dollar budgets of public funds, Lissa was meticulous. She also served on several volunteer boards including the Sholem Aleichem Community, the Health Sciences Centre and Camp Wasaga and until her illness, regularly biked 40 or more kilometres along her beloved paths through Assiniboine Forest, Fort Whyte, Riding Mountain National Park and beyond. Music was a deep source of joy for Lissa; singing was a way for her to express herself both politically and creatively. Her fearlessness allowed her to perform in many venues over the years. At the 1975 Mariposa Folk Festival in Toronto, Lissa attended a workshop on protest songs. When no one at the workshop knew the lyrics to the union classic, Bread and Roses, Lissa stood up from the crowd and belted it out, acapella, for the entire crowd. She brought her love of folk music with her when she returned to live in Winnipeg, becoming a tireless volunteer for the Winnipeg Folk Festival for many years. She eventually served on its board - a volunteer position also held by her father, one of the Festival's founding members. Lissa gardened with a kind resignation to the presence of the myriad of bunnies and deer that loved eating, not looking at, her flowers and fruit. Her jams, pickles and chutneys remain treasured gifts. She was an enthusiastic and steadfast feminist, dedicated to worker and human rights. Her most recent and last public service was as Executive Director of the Department of Manitoba Family Services and Labour where part of her responsibilities included implementing Manitoba's Poverty Reduction and Social Inclusion legislation. She was, to quote her mom, a modest woman and a generous daughter. Lissa was brilliant, passionate and committed. Winnipeg and Manitoba are better for her having been here. A proud secular Jew, Lissa contributed to 'tikkun olam' -- repairing the world. It is now up to the rest of us to continue this work. If she were writing this, which we are sure she would dearly have wanted to do, she would say her most important contribution and legacy is her daughter Jacqueline, who brought her more joy than words can express. Left to grieve her loss but cherish and celebrate her memory are her mother, Ruby; her daughter, Jacqueline (Charles Brockman); her sisters Rachel (Jamie Brown) and Eve; her four nephews, Findlay, Liam, Owen and Mordechai; her cousins Elizabeth (Derek Ceccarelli) and Simon (Joanne), and aunts and uncles Gail and Arthur Donner and Milton Freedman and Joanie Fridell, as well as countless relatives and treasured friends. Lissa's circles of friends were rich and varied. All though her illness, she brought family and friends together, weaving new and enduring friendships among us. These friendships include generations of children who adored 'Auntie Lissa' for the generous, respectful attention and love she showered on them. A special thank you to Lissa's incredible friends, who took exceptional care of her during her illness. There are too many of you to list here, but you know who you are. You all gave so much of yourselves. The family thanks you from the depths of our hearts. Lissa received excellent care from the staff at CancerCare Manitoba's Clinic 2, and in the Palliative Care unit at Riverview Health Centre. Thank you for treating Lissa with respect, dignity, and compassion - those were the qualities she valued above all others. Lissa will be deeply mourned, but never forgotten by those who knew her. Her funeral and interment will be held at Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens and Funeral Home at 4000 Portage Avenue on Friday, November 10 at 10:00 a.m. A reception will follow at the same location. Shiva will be observed at Ruby, Jacqueline and Lissa's home on Saturday, November 11 between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. and Sunday, November 12, between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., and 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Lissa's name to the Winnipeg Folk Festival or SEED Winnipeg. For those who wish to sign the online Guest Book please visit www.chapellawn.ca Chapel Lawn Funeral Home 204-885-9715
Publish Date: Nov 10, 2017

LISSA MARY DONNER Peacefully, but not without a fight, Lissa Mary Donner died November 8, 2017, surrounded by the love of family and friends. Lissa's life began in 1955 in the house her father, the late architect Jack Donner, designed for their family on Churchill Drive, in Winnipeg. It was in that home that the foundations of Lissa's beliefs in social justice and equality were forged: a political family from the early days of the 20th century, theirs was the only one on the street to have an NDP campaign sign on the lawn without fail during every election. Her passion for social justice, her love of music, exercise and the outdoors, coupled with determination and a kind heart meant that Lissa became engaged in diverse ways to build a better world. To choose only a few examples: through her social work practicum, Lissa developed the plan for what became the Manitoba Federation of Labour's Occupational Health Centre, and where she was appointed its first Executive Director; she was a regional reporter for Women Healthsharing, a pioneering magazine on women's health; she ran as a federal NDP candidate in St. James in 1984; and through her work at the Canadian Cooperative Association, she supported co-op development in Canada and internationally. As a researcher, analyst and consultant, Lissa authored a myriad of widely respected reports on women and poverty, gender health indicators, primary care services, low income housing, occupational health and the report that led to the building of this city's Birth Centre. Lissa was a planner par excellence and queen of the spreadsheet. Whether assigning tasks for the Sholem Aleichem Community's Passover seder organizing political campaigns, helping friends move, or tracking multimillion dollar budgets of public funds, Lissa was meticulous. She also served on several volunteer boards including the Sholem Aleichem Community, the Health Sciences Centre and Camp Wasaga and until her illness, regularly biked 40 or more kilometres along her beloved paths through Assiniboine Forest, Fort Whyte, Riding Mountain National Park and beyond. Music was a deep source of joy for Lissa; singing was a way for her to express herself both politically and creatively. Her fearlessness allowed her to perform in many venues over the years. At the 1975 Mariposa Folk Festival in Toronto, Lissa attended a workshop on protest songs. When no one at the workshop knew the lyrics to the union classic, Bread and Roses, Lissa stood up from the crowd and belted it out, acapella, for the entire crowd. She brought her love of folk music with her when she returned to live in Winnipeg, becoming a tireless volunteer for the Winnipeg Folk Festival for many years. She eventually served on its board - a volunteer position also held by her father, one of the Festival's founding members. Lissa gardened with a kind resignation to the presence of the myriad of bunnies and deer that loved eating, not looking at, her flowers and fruit. Her jams, pickles and chutneys remain treasured gifts. She was an enthusiastic and steadfast feminist, dedicated to worker and human rights. Her most recent and last public service was as Executive Director of the Department of Manitoba Family Services and Labour where part of her responsibilities included implementing Manitoba's Poverty Reduction and Social Inclusion legislation. She was, to quote her mom, a modest woman and a generous daughter. Lissa was brilliant, passionate and committed. Winnipeg and Manitoba are better for her having been here. A proud secular Jew, Lissa contributed to 'tikkun olam' -- repairing the world. It is now up to the rest of us to continue this work. If she were writing this, which we are sure she would dearly have wanted to do, she would say her most important contribution and legacy is her daughter Jacqueline, who brought her more joy than words can express. Left to grieve her loss but cherish and celebrate her memory are her mother, Ruby; her daughter, Jacqueline (Charles Brockman); her sisters Rachel (Jamie Brown) and Eve; her four nephews, Findlay, Liam, Owen and Mordechai; her cousins Elizabeth (Derek Ceccarelli) and Simon (Joanne), and aunts and uncles Gail and Arthur Donner and Milton Freedman and Joanie Fridell, as well as countless relatives and treasured friends. Lissa's circles of friends were rich and varied. All though her illness, she brought family and friends together, weaving new and enduring friendships among us. These friendships include generations of children who adored 'Auntie Lissa' for the generous, respectful attention and love she showered on them. A special thank you to Lissa's incredible friends, who took exceptional care of her during her illness. There are too many of you to list here, but you know who you are. You all gave so much of yourselves. The family thanks you from the depths of our hearts. Lissa received excellent care from the staff at CancerCare Manitoba's Clinic 2, and in the Palliative Care unit at Riverview Health Centre. Thank you for treating Lissa with respect, dignity, and compassion - those were the qualities she valued above all others. Lissa will be deeply mourned, but never forgotten by those who knew her. Her funeral and interment will be held at Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens and Funeral Home at 4000 Portage Avenue on Friday, November 10 at 10:00 a.m. A reception will follow at the same location. Shiva will be observed at Ruby, Jacqueline and Lissa's home on Saturday, November 11 between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. and Sunday, November 12, between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., and 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Lissa's name to the Winnipeg Folk Festival or SEED Winnipeg. For those who wish to sign the online Guest Book please visit www.chapellawn.ca Chapel Lawn Funeral Home 204-885-9715
Publish Date: Nov 9, 2017

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Nov 10, 2017

Condolences & Memories (16 entries)

  • Dear Ruby I am so sorry to hear of your loss. No words that I could offer will fill the hole that Lissa has left. In the brief time that I knew Lissa, I remember the laughs that we shared and the constant smile she always greeted me with. - Posted by: Horst Habeck (Friend) on: Dec 19, 2017

  • "...Well bless you luv, aren't you just a friend in need I've got me two big bags, bangin' 'round my knees When you get home, I hope the old man has the kettle on And a little somethin' special in the oven for your tea..." Excerpt from Lady Bus Driver, recorded by Frankie Armstrong and interpreted by Lissa Donner circa 1979. And that was what Lissa Donner was to me. My feminist upbringing was full of song and dance because of the protest concerts and events that Lissa and my mom, Barbara Angel, participated in during the 1970s. Thank you both for helping me to stand up and celebrate what it means to be a woman. Rachel and Ruby and Eve - my heart goes out to you and your families. Love Jeannette Angel - Posted by: Jeannette Angel (Family Friend) on: Dec 17, 2017

  • Rachel, Ruby, Eve, so sorry for your loss. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. - Posted by: Anna Zonneveld (Friend) on: Nov 20, 2017

  • Ruby and Jacqueline; My deep condolences to you both on the loss of your dear daughter and mother. I remember Lissa with fondness and the beautiful tribute to her in the newspaper served as a lovely reminder of just how special a woman she was. Sincerely, Gail Siskind Toronto - Posted by: Gail Siskind (friend) on: Nov 15, 2017

  • Ruby, Rachel and family - It is now many years since we were in Winnipeg, and only just learned of this very sad news. We cherish the time we spent with Lissa and fondly acknowledge how her wisdom, insight, integrity and strong social values indeed had a major impact on our lives as it did on many others. We marvel at what she contributed and know that her impact will live on. (We mostly certainly will be making a contribution in her name). Best wishes in this difficult time, Annalee, Jerry, Jen and Sam - Posted by: Annalee Yassi & Jerry Spiegel (friends) on: Nov 12, 2017

  • I came to know Lissa when she took the helm of the Occupational Health Clinic for Ontario Workers. Her zest for advancing the health of working people and creating the edifice for empowering workers leaves us a legacy that adds so much to our present struggles for social justice. Rest in peace dear Sister and thank you for making a difference. Yours in struggle, Bob DeMatteo - Posted by: Bob DeMatteo (friend and colleague) on: Nov 12, 2017

  • I have known Lissa for many years through the NDP and other social movements in Manitoba. She will be missed. Grant Wichenko - Posted by: Grant Wichenko (friend) on: Nov 11, 2017

  • In 2001 we moved into the house next door to her and became neighbours. She greeted us that first week we moved in and was such a kind and caring person. She was always there for us especially for my kids if we needed something. We will miss her and watching her take care of her flowers/garden in the summer. - Posted by: Brent dreger (Neighbour ) on: Nov 11, 2017

  • So sorry for your loss. Lissa was such a kind person and we enjoyed getting to know her since coming to the neighbourhood. Our thoughts are with you. Xxx - Posted by: Neil and Amber Gordon (Neighbours ) on: Nov 11, 2017

  • Dear Jacqueline - So very sorry. I had no idea how much your mother had achieved in her life until I read the obituary. You must be very proud of her. I'll always remember her delicious cranberry salsa at Wasaga Thanksgivings! - Posted by: Dorothy and Chris Parker (wasaga friends) on: Nov 11, 2017

  • Lissa taught me and the other 'littles' (Rach and Jake) to be our best selves. She was the one in the early 70s to insist the girls get karate lessons (to be strong!) and made sure we always stood up for ourselves. I will never forget Lissa. She was 10+ years older than my friend Rachel and she always had our backs during a time when that was not thing. I'm so sorry that a woman who made such a profound difference in my life is gone.. Love to Ruby, Rachel and Eve. - Posted by: Kirsten Johnson (family friend) on: Nov 10, 2017

  • My sincere condolences to Ruby, and Lissa's entire family. The times when she, Linda and I lived together, were filled with wonderful discussions, music, laughter and politics. Our community will certainly feel a loss at her passing. - Posted by: Susan Hart-Kulbaba (friend) on: Nov 10, 2017

  • Lissa and I met at work. We quickly developed a relationship based on work and life events. We chuckled at the similarities and differences we had - work approach, politics and outlook on many matters. Lissa would often send to me articles and podcast links about interesting issues of the world - as if she was going to change me! We got along fabulously despite our different perspectives. I enjoyed that. Children are what was the most common between us. We both had children who went to university in Ontario - she spoke passionately about her daughter going to school in Toronto - you could see the excitement she had. My condolences to her family. Lissa, we will bump into each other at the Tuxedo Safeway in heaven sometime in the future. I am looking forward to that. - Posted by: Eric Jensen (Co worker) on: Nov 10, 2017

  • Lissa's vivacious personality will be missed. We appreciate her friendship and thoughtfulness! - Posted by: Carolyn, Paul, Rachel Peters (friends) on: Nov 10, 2017

  • To Ruby and Lissa's entire family, we are thinking of you. from Ava, Mitch, and family - Posted by: Ava Kobrinsky and Mitch Podolak (Friend) on: Nov 09, 2017

  • We will miss you my friend. Your smile, your stories of travel, your words of wisdom. Your yearly tradition of bringing us Jams/Salsa during the Holidays - but most of all we will MISS YOU! Rest in Peace Lissa!! - Posted by: Cathy Kolochuk (Friend/Co-Worker) on: Nov 09, 2017

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Chapel Lawn Funeral Home & Cemetery

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