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Born: Dec 12, 1936

Date of Passing: Mar 02, 2020

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December 12, 1936 - March 2, 2020

We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of José at the age of 83.
José was born in Ferreira do Alentejo, Portugal. He was deeply loved by his mother, grandmother and siblings. Poverty and the needs of the family shaped his struggle, but also the generosity that became his life's motto. As a youth he demonstrated a bright mind, charisma, and a love and talent for music. At age 13 he was asked to sing the Ave Maria by the bishop. He learned the song in Latin and performed it beautifully in front of a public gathering.
At 24 the struggle at home and the promise of a better life across the ocean drove him to immigrate to Canada. Here he found work in mining and forestry where he was repeatedly placed in accounting roles after demonstrating his wit and trustworthiness. He met his first wife Jane in Vancouver. They were blessed with two beautiful children: Bradley and Melanie; but Zé carried his struggles with him and these grew too great for their home to bear.
After his first marriage, Zé found grace and hope in a renewed commitment to God at the Salvation Army's Harbour Light in Vancouver. Here he began his life of service to countless people in need. The belief that anyone can become a better person and should be given the chance to do so was thematic in José's life. It was at Harbour Light in Vancouver where Zé met Elaine who was volunteering as a pianist. Zé adored Elaine. He found in her a companion for his life's journey, and a partner in service. Both were life-long learners. Both shared a sense of duty to the church. Her beautiful soprano would complement his baritone as they sang at countless church services over the years. They married and moved to Winnipeg with Karen, Elaine's daughter from her prior marriage. There they had Edmund and Kirsten. And José redoubled his efforts as father, husband, and provider.
He took a job at Redekopp Lumber (later to become Allmar) with the founder Henry Redekopp. José worked faithfully and with integrity earning Henry's trust. As the years passed a deep loyalty grew between them. Henry continuously gave José opportunity to grow his acumen and his career. After Henry passed and his sons took over the business - the extension of that loyalty saw Zé ultimately serve as General Manager and Executive Vice-President of Allmar. As a leader he offered sound counsel, spoke his mind, and executed the technical requirements of the job well. He was loved by the branch managers and found time to provide a listening ear to any employee who sought him out. Over his 41 years at Allmar - whether it was a good year, or a lean one - José conducted business according to the deep Christian values he shared with Henry and his sons. His impact on the organization continues to be felt long after he fully retired in 2015.
At home Zé's partnership with Elaine created an environment of learning, music, and frequent involvement with the church. It was not uncommon for the Pinto family to be gathered around the piano preparing a song for an upcoming service. When Brad and Mel came to live in Winnipeg for Brad's high school years the harmonies were rich and full. José's generosity to his children was significant - and the major investments he made for them are too many to list. He continuously created space for their potential be it by funding their education, helping them discover a vocation, or investing in their musical pursuits. His big-heartedness and his core belief in grace and second chances shaped each child's life.
Zé enjoyed life deeply. Good food - especially watermelon - brought out joyful enthusiasm. He loved good movies (with happy endings). He loved a good opera - and would frequently air-conduct the orchestra on CBC radio. He greatly enjoyed the cottage near Gimli and openhandedly shared this beautiful place with others. He loved to read a wide variety of books including classic literature, science, and theology. Zé's cognition began to decline in his 70s due to Vascular Dementia. Reading with him became a ritual of comfort and consolation. Elaine poured herself into making a space for Zé to engage life as much as he could - be it through art lessons, or his room decorated with myriad pictures of family and good memories. In the final years of his life - his most often repeated words were "amen", "obrigado", "thank you very much". He would say this generously to the Misericordia staff who graciously cared for him, or faithful visitors, Melanie, Stefan, Kirsten, and of course his beloved wife Elaine.
Predeceased by sibling Edmundo, José will be lovingly remembered by Elaine, his wife of 48 years, siblings, Titina, Melita, Maria, Aidinia and Helena, his many nieces and nephews in Portugal, children, Bradley, Karen (Dale), Melanie, Ed (Marlise) and Kirsten (Stefan), his nine grandchildren, and one great-grandchild, as well as the extended Martens family.
A funeral service will be held on March 10, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. at St. Margaret Anglican Church, 160 Ethelbert Street. Interment at St. John's Cathedral Cemetery.
Those wishing to contribute to José's legacy can donate to the Indigenous Family Centre of Winnipeg:

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Mar 07, 2020

Condolences & Memories (2 entries)

  • I have fond church-centered memories. Sorry I missed the funeral. Just saw the obituary today in the library where I read my emails. - Posted by: Traute Klein, nee Wollenberg (friend) on: Mar 11, 2020

  • Hi Elaine & Family Our deepest sympathy in the loss Ze. We missed the obituary and heard about his passing today. His struggles are now over and he is with his Lord 🙏 Our thoughts and prayers are with you. With love Gerda & Neil - Posted by: Neil & Gerda Fast (Frienda) on: Mar 10, 2020

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