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1929 - 2020
Mom was the only daughter and middle child born to Samuel and Mary Macri in Winnipeg. From a very early age, she was immersed in an Italian family of multi-talented musicians. She was given piano lessons at an early age, but was always fascinated by the sound of the accordion that her uncle played and so she begged her parents to let her have her own. She strapped on her uncle's accordion, which came below her knees and from that time on, she knew it was meant to be. She told us stories of loading up her wagon to take her accordion to play at weddings when she was just 13 or 14. This led her to a long musical career in her adult life. Family gatherings always included lots of singing and playing either sax, accordion, clarinet and guitar. There was always plenty of Italian food and homemade beer.
Mom met our dad William (Bill) at a dance. He had returned from the Air Force, and you know what they say about a man in uniform! They were married in 1948 and her city life as she knew it was over. They had their eldest daughter Sharon in Gladstone, which was their first home. Soon after, Mom and Dad took over the family farm in Pine River and within three years, three more children followed, Russella, Tom and Linda. She was definitely a duck out of water, but she grabbed the bull by the horns, and became a farmer's wife adapting to the Ukrainian language, culture and farm life. We are amazed at her fortitude to have raised four children under the age of five, tend to the farm and domestic chores without electricity or running water. This was often without help of Dad, as he would often work up north for months at a time to supplement income. Despite so many hardships in those years, she often told us that those were the best years of her life.
After a fire destroyed our family home in 1956, we moved into town. This is when Mom decided to teach accordion, and we can only imagine what joy that must have brought to her once again. Mom was so proud to teach us to sing and to share her love of music. With our mom's encouragement and coaching, we lived for talent shows in our little community.
In 1961 our family moved to Dauphin and Mom and Dad started the Dauphin Accordion School, with schools in several rural Manitoba and Saskatchewan communities. Many of her music students to this day remember her. She continued her music career until 1975, when they moved to Winnipeg. She had several short careers in the city, but she especially enjoyed her time working at Manitoba Sports Federation. She always told us, though, her greatest achievement in life was family. She had a great sense of humour, a love for life, fabulous sense of fashion and an appetite for sweets and pasta that only increased with age. She was selfless and generous to a fault.
Survived by her children, Sharon McMillan (Jim) of Roblin, Russella Secord of Kamloops, Tom Chunick of Saskatoon and Linda Mymko (Miles Kereliuk) of Winnipeg. Also surviving are 13 grandchildren, 2 stepgrandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren. She's also survived by her eldest brother Thomas Macri (Norma).
She was predeceased by her husband Bill, youngest brother Ronald Macri and his wife Jean, and sons-in-law, Dennis Mymko and Greg Secord.
Sincere gratitude to staff at Lindenwood Terrace and Poseidon Care Centre. Although Simkin Centre was her final residence for only six months, we are forever grateful, that for five of those months, you gave Mom the hugs and TLC we could not provide due to this global pandemic. Lynne, Mom often referred to you as an angel and we are grateful to you for helping us navigate through some difficult times. Auntie Norma, you were loved by our mom. You were the sister she never had. Mom, we will forever miss you, but we know you are with the angels.
Spread your wings...you're home.
Cremation has taken place and private celebration of her life will be at a later date.
For those who wish to sign the online
Guest Book please visit www.chapellawn.ca
Chapel Lawn Funeral Home
As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Aug 22, 2020
Condolences & Memories (7 entries)
I am so sorry to hear of her passing. My last interaction with her was by email. She wrote that they were packing her personal things and then off to a retirement center that very moment and the computer was being shut down so that was it with emailing. She had sent me a sci-fi book her friend had written, which I enjoyed. Her life was very full. I never knew about the accordian part of her life. Thank you for sharing. - Posted by: Evhen Zasadney (Nephew on Chunick side) on: Aug 29, 2020
I was very sorry to hear of Jean's passing. To Jean's large loving family please accept my deepest condolences. Bernard and I will truly miss our infrequent visits with her in the last months. She would always receive us with the greatest welcoming one could hope for. Jean was an exuberant and exceptional true friend and we both will miss her greatly. Thank you for your notification message. George - Posted by: George Leger (Long friendship shared.) on: Aug 24, 2020
Sharon, Russell’s, Tom and LInda. My condolences on the passing of your beautiful mother. You are so fortunate to have her for so long. I am grateful for her teaching me the basics of the accordion while in Pine River and Dauphin. I played in a band with Tony Baschuk and Bob Richards and a few of my high school mates formed a band. Good times. I still play my accordion once in awhile even with my crooked fingers. I had hoped to teach my grandsons when they were old enough to hold that big instrument, but distance was a factor. - Posted by: Patricia Soloway Wasylucha (Friend and former accordion student) on: Aug 23, 2020
Expressing all my sympathies to daughters Linda and Russella ..whom i got to know And to all the other members of Jeans family Jean was a sweet understanding and very generous Lady Always willing to help and give good advise on any problem you might have She was so very musically inclined ..always remembering the songs and melodies of the past and present . She was an exceptionally good cook ...and boy she could whip up a great bacon and eggs in no time She was a honest and very caring Lady Rest in peace my friend ...you deserve it - Posted by: Bernard Leger (Friend ) on: Aug 23, 2020
A Beautiful Person, A Heart of Gold. My sincere condolences to Jean,s entire family. My thoughts of Jean will forever be in my heart. I loved our many conversations and enjoyed her passion for many things she would tell me. Gayle Farkas Former Manager Weatherstone Place - Posted by: Gayle Farkas (Friend) on: Aug 23, 2020
Linda, I am so sorry to learn of your Mom's passing. She was such a dynamic lady who truly portrayed her love of music and especially the accordion. I was so grateful to have your Mom as my accordion teacher and today, although not that often, when I decide to pull out accordion and play a song or two, I always think of her and her words of encouragement. Now she will join the choir of angels. May she rest in peace. Vichnaya Pamyat. - Posted by: Liz (Pawluk) Kozakowski (her accordion student) on: Aug 22, 2020
Linda and family - Our thoughts and prayers are with you. We are so sorry for your loss. - Posted by: Alex and Diane (Pidskalny) Hrychuk (long time family friend) on: Aug 22, 2020
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