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Date of Passing: Aug 13, 2019Offer Condolences or Memory Make a donation to CancerCare Manitoba Foundation
Mourning her passing are her husband Hans; her children, son Yorgo, wife Jan and grandchildren Mia and William; daughter Carla van der Zweep, husband John and grandchildren, Daniel and Ian; her sister Katie Varsamis; her cousin Stella Iacovides, husband Chris and their children, Harris and Stavros; as well as a large group of extended family and friends in Canada and abroad.
Mary was born in a Greek community in Alexandria, Egypt; a bustling multicultural city that was once considered a jewel in the Mediterranean. She learned to speak Greek, English, French, and even Arabic. She enjoyed growing up among her beloved cousins and spending summers on the beaches of the Mediterranean. Circumstances lead her to move, along with her parents, sister and brother-in-law (Dr. John Varsamis) to London, England, where she became a nurse. After immigrating to Winnipeg in 1963, she worked for Great West Life Insurance Company. She was then transferred to Montreal, where she met and married the love of her life, Hans. Together, they earned B.A. and B.Ed degrees, and taught for over 30 years in the St. James Assiniboia School Division. She was the first itinerant French teacher in her Division at the elementary level and she piloted the first Kindergarten French Immersion Program at Assiniboine School. She went back to university to become a resource teacher and later, a reading recovery teacher, which she enjoyed doing until retirement.
Despite full time work, and part time studying, she was also a full time mother, somehow squeezing 36 hours into every single day. There was little time for hobbies and self-interest, though she enjoyed fashion and entertaining with delicious home cooked meals (Greek potatoes!). She loved visiting her cousins and spending family summer vacations in Greece. Later, she would fall in love with the family camp in Minaki, ON where she managed to transform an old fishing lodge into a cozy Ionian village. Above all, she valued her partner in life, her children and children-in-laws and grandchildren. Bridging old world influences, and modern feminism, she carved a stylish life of warmth, laughter, family and love. She did it her way.
We'd like to thank Dr. Jeremy Lipschitz, Dr. Goldenberg, Dr. Chris Ogaranko and her oncology nurse Karen at the Victoria Hospital, and her palliative care doctors and nurses at Riverview Health Centre for such compassionate care.
Her funeral will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 20, 2019 at the St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to CancerCare Manitoba Foundation.
THOMSON FUNERAL HOME
Condolences may be sent to
As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Aug 17, 2019
Condolences & Memories (4 entries)
Beloved Mary, we are going to miss your big heart, your good word and your sweet smile. Stavros and Marie-Paule - Posted by: Stavros & Marie-Paule Stavrinidis (Friends) on: Aug 27, 2019
L'Adieu J'ai cueilli ce brin de bruyère L'automne est morte souviens-t 'en Nous ne nous verrons plus sur terre Odeur du temps brin de bruyère et souviens-toi que je t'attends Guillaume Apollinaire - Posted by: Lefcothea Doche (Friend) on: Aug 19, 2019
Mary was an inspiration to everyone who knew her. Her selflessness was unique. Mary was the ultimate of a best friend. She had a wonderful style of her own that reflected dignity and grace. Mary was a very compassionate person and incredible human being. Her kindness and love for others will long be remembered. To Hans, Yorgo and Carla, so very sorry for your loss. - Posted by: Liz Corbett (Friend) on: Aug 18, 2019
Our sincere condolences and may her memory be forever eternal. “I had the good fortune to have both of your parents as French Teachers at both Bruce Junior High (Mary) and Silver Heights Collegiate (Hans). They were both lovely and giving people that left lasting impressions on those of us that they touched. God bless her in her final journey.” George & MaryEllen Constantinides - Posted by: George and MaryEllen Constantinides (Friends) on: Aug 18, 2019
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