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MOHTARAM GHARIB SHOJANIA
Moti, as she was known to friends and family, immigrated to the United States from her native Iran at age four. She learned English almost immediately and because of her extraordinary reading ability was advanced two grades and graduated high school at age 16.
She came to Winnipeg in 1965 at age 20 after marrying Dr. Abdol Majid Shojania, a retired physician at CancerCare Manitoba and Director of Hematology at St. Boniface Hospital for 40 years. Moti intermittently pursued graduate studies in English Literature while raising her two sons, yet also found time to serve as a theatre and arts commentator with the CBC. Following completion of her PhD, Moti taught for many years in the University of Manitoba's English Department, on a range of topics from 17th Century literature to critical theory and popular culture. Before retiring, Moti served as Dean of Studies at St. Paul's College from 2012 to 2017.
From the moment she settled in Winnipeg, Moti was an avid supporter of the local art scene, actively supporting organizations such as the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Contemporary Dancers, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Manitoba Theatre Centre and Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, among others. Moti served on the boards of many these organizations and also served as Chair of the Board for the Winnipeg Arts Council, during which time she was instrumental in securing Winnipeg's designation as a Cultural Capital of Canada. This distinction included a $2 million federal grant, enhanced by additional contributions from private and public sectors of the Winnipeg community.
A generous and creative hostess, Moti and her husband opened their home on Wellington Crescent for festive holiday celebrations but also for visiting musicians, writers, artists, and scholars, as well as the growing Iranian community in Winnipeg.
Moti's poetry covered topics from Iran (she published a series of poems Iran/I ran) to feminism, to her struggle with cancer, (Journey Under the Sign of Cancer). She was known by friends and colleagues for her wit, her endless curiosity, and warmth.
Moti became a member of Augustine United Church in the early 1980s and remained a devoted member of the congregation since then, frequently acting as a liturgist.
Moti raised two sons, Kaveh Gharib Shojania, MD, a Vice Chair in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto, and Shaheen Gharib Shojania, PhD, a chemist at the University of British Columbia. She was a devoted mother and grandmother. Her grandchildren remember her for the many enthralling stories she told - often invented during the telling, and the elaborate treasure hunts, complete with clever clues and rhymes, which she organized on family visits. Moti would always take family members visiting from out of town to the theatre, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, or performances of music or dance. Dinner table conversations ranged from high art to popular culture and politics. Her sons also fondly recall staying up late to watch culturally important old films and favourite television shows such as Colombo and Rockford Files.
Moti is survived by her husband Dr. A. Majid Shojania, her sons, Dr. Kaveh Gharib Shojania of Toronto and Dr. Shaheen Gharib Shojania of Vancouver, her daughter-in-law Sarah Gamester, her five grandsons, Evan, Elliot, Ali, Paul and Martin, her two sisters, Ms. Susie Gharib and Dr. Soheyla Gharib, and her nephew Dr. Alexi Nazem, and her five nieces, Dr. Taraneh Gharib Nazem, Ms. Pari Gharib Naraghipour, Dr. Simin Gharib Lee, Ms. Sabrina Gharib Lee and Ms. Ariana Gharib Lee.
A small private ceremony will be held shortly due to COVID restrictions. The family hopes a larger memorial can occur in the months to come.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be directed to The Moti Shojania Dean of Studies Fund at St. Paul's College Foundation Inc., 213-70 Dysart Road Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3T 2M6 or through www.canadahelps.org/ (Search St. Paul's College Foundation Inc.)
THOMSON "IN THE PARK"
Condolences may be sent to
As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Jul 24, 2021
Condolences & Memories (16 entries)
So sorry to hear the news. Moti lit up the room with that beautiful smile and kindness that brought so much joy to anyone who had the privilege of knowing her. I will miss her dearly. My sincere condolences. - Posted by: Pauline P Kulbaba (Friend) on: Aug 09, 2021
Please accept our sincere condolences on Moti's passing. She was a vibrant, highly intelligent woman with an infectious enthusiasm for life. James Cohen and family - Posted by: James Cohen (Family friend) on: Jul 30, 2021
On behalf of our Monday Book Group we are sorry to learn of Moti’s passing. We were so fortunate to have gotten to know her over the years and been privy to her brilliant mind. She was a beautiful lady who we were privileged to know. We shall miss her dearly. Miriam Segal. - Posted by: Miriam Segal (Friend) on: Jul 29, 2021
Moti was my inspiration since I became a member of St. Paul's College in 2001 as a graduate student when I started my doctoral study. She gave me empotional support during my PH.D program. During her deanship, she encouraged me and helped me create literature courses for Catholic Studies. With her help, I was able to offer Catholisim and Literature, and to take students from Catholic Studies to do a field trip in China for the course of Catholic Heritage in Asia-China. Again with her enouragement, I have begun my teaching and research journey at the University College of the North in Northern Manitoba since 2016. Dear Moti, you will be an inspiration in my life forever. - Posted by: Ying Kong (Friend and Colleague) on: Jul 29, 2021
Dear Majid, I was so sad and sorry to hear of Moti’s death. I remember so well the many festive occasions in your home, Moti’s poem at Kaveh’s wedding, and Moti’s exuberance and generosity. I hope to attend any later celebration of her life. - Posted by: Janet Baldwin (Friend ) on: Jul 28, 2021
A few days after I arrived in Winnipeg after spending some years in West Africa I experienced some problems with my computer. For some reason I thought of contacting Moti, who was still the Dean of SPC at the time. She gave me the wise advice of contacting the Geek Squad at Best Buy who would even come to my home to fix it. What has not yet been said about Moti was that no problem was too trivial for her to put her full attention to it. I always felt respected by her. - Posted by: John Perry (colleague) on: Jul 28, 2021
Dear Majid, We were very saddened to learn of Moti's passing. She was a good friend and a bright light in what often seems a very dark world. Her infectious enthusiasm could inspire even the most ardent couch-dweller to find purpose. We are so sorry for the loss to our community, to your family, and most of all, Majid, to you. - Posted by: Eric and Jane Bow (Colleague (CancerCare Manitoba & St Boniface General Hospital) and friend ) on: Jul 26, 2021
Dr Shojania I am saddened to hear of Mrs. Shojania's passing. I have fond memories of the holiday parties I was able to attend. Mrs. Shojania was someone that could find something in common with anyone and have a warm, lengthy conversation with them. My deepest condolences. - Posted by: Deb Sweeney (Former St B Hematology Staff) on: Jul 26, 2021
My spouse and I enjoyed the too infrequent conversations with this very vibrant, warm, and witty woman. Her dinner conversations were captivating and her warmth was sure to put all at ease. She will be greatly missed and remembered very fondly. RIP beautiful lady. - Posted by: Vallerie Gordon (Friend) on: Jul 26, 2021
Moti was a friend from long ago when I lived in Winnipeg. She was a lovely person; so intelligent and kind. I always enjoyed our conversations and friendship. - Posted by: Carol Barbee (Friend ) on: Jul 25, 2021
Kaveh and Shaheen, So sorry to hear of the loss of your Mom. My heartfelt condolences to you all. May happy memories of her life lift your spirits as you grieve her loss. Mara - Posted by: Mara (Friend) on: Jul 25, 2021
We were very saddened to learn of Moti’s death. She was a vibrant personality with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and a great lover of the arts. She will be missed- Our sincere condolences to the entire Shojania family. - Posted by: Jill and Lorne Brandes (Friends ) on: Jul 25, 2021
Shaheen and family - very sorry to hear of your Mom’s passing. I remember her as a lovely and gracious woman, with a very good sense of humour. And she was kind enough not to embarrass a 15 year old boy over for dinner when he was caught stuffing cauliflower into his jacket pocket. Thinking of you all, take care. - Posted by: Andrew Steiman (Friend) on: Jul 25, 2021
Dear Majid, Kaveh, Shaheen and respectable Shojania and Gharib dynasty; Please accept our heartfelt condolences in departing the soul of a great human being the dearest Moti who was a greatest human like angel and the best friend for many including us. A best friend is that one person above all else we know better than anyone that you share everything with and would trust with your life. To think about losing her is soul destroying. My family and me loved Moti joon every day and now we will miss her every day. Our soul scars are a testament to the love and the relationship that we had for and with dearest Moti and if the scar is deep, so was our love for her. Goodbyes are not forever. Goodbyes are not the end. They simply mean We’ll miss you until we meet again. Dearest Moti, you’ll never be forgotten and that simply cannot be. As long as we are living, we’ll carry your’ precious memories with us. You are safely tucked within our hearts and your light will always shine; a glowing ember never stilled, throughout the end of time. No matter what the future brings or what may lie ahead, we know that you will walk with us along the path we tread. So, rest our beautiful angel, be at peace and let your soul fly free. One day we’ll join your glorious flight for all eternity. Under this difficult circumstance, we are not dismayed at goodbyes, because a farewell is necessary before we could meet with you again. Meeting again after moments or lifetime is certain for those who are friends. As painful as though the parting be, we bow to you as we see you off to distant clouds. The reality is that we will grieve for ever and we will not ‘get over’ the loss of a most loved one like you dearest Moti. Stay in peace until we meet. Love and Peace. - Posted by: Yazdan, Freshteh, Pejman, Darla, Yalda, Ava (Friends and scholarly her students) on: Jul 25, 2021
We will miss that shining smile at RMTC opening nights Moti was always so charimng and full of life May her memory be eternal and fill your hearts with joy when you think of her in days to come Jim and Barbra Pappas - Posted by: James Pappas (Acquaintance) on: Jul 24, 2021
I am saddened to hear of Moti’s passing. I remember her as a vibrant, warm, intelligent woman who was committed to the education of the young. Her love of and support for the Winnipeg art scene was extraordinary. Please accept my condolences. - Posted by: Mark Duncan (Colleague ) on: Jul 24, 2021
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