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Date of Passing: Nov 17, 2021

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It is with broken hearts we announce the sudden passing of Benita, after a brave battle with melanoma on November 17, 2021.
Benita was a kind, gentle soul who worked tirelessly for social justice and fought for the rights of the vulnerable in society. In her position as Associate Professor in the College of Nursing (Faculty of Health Sciences) at University of Manitoba, Benita's work was focused on strengthening the integration of an equity/critical social justice lens in public health education, research, policy and practice.
Benita was a quietly passionate person who enjoyed music, art, travel, literature, photography and nature. She had a flare for colour and enjoyed an occasional whiskey.
She leaves behind her loving family, friends, students, and the many people she touched across Canada through her work, including generations of nurses who she taught and inspired. All would agree that the world is a better place having known Benita.
Benita will be sadly missed by her loving partner Pete Sarsfield, her sister Amy Doofenbaker, her brother Ted Cohen (Aaron Burry), her stepdaughters, Jan Sarsfield and Sarah Sarsfield, and her granddaughter Maxime Gibson-Bruce. Benita was predeceased by her proud parents, Norman Cohen and Meta Fitch.

Benita's spirit will live on in our memories. Thanks for the wonderful memories - Bee..

A memorial reception will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Monday, November 22, 2021 at Thomson Funeral Home.
For those who wish, donations in Benita's memory may be made to United Way Winnipeg, 580 Main Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 1C7.
"Vaccine Proof" and valid government-issued photo identification for all attendees at the memorial reception is required.

Condolences may be sent to

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Nov 20, 2021, Nov 20, 2021

Condolences & Memories (5 entries)

  • How sad it was to hear of Benita's illness and passing-on during this period of communal isolation and loneliness. How sad for you, Pete, that this meant separation during this period, a time when you would have had intuition to provide care and to heal. I hope you feel that you got to be with her to enjoy her company before she passed away. How wonderful is was to be touched by Benita and have her guide and leadership. For those like me who so valued her passion for justice as an essential undercurrent in our nursing practice and public health perspective, her spirit will remain as a guide to ensure we remain true to our social justice compass. And lastly, sad though it is, Benita‚Äôs memorial will give all a chance to hold on to her memories as we all embrace the sadness of her passing as a cloak across our communal shoulders. A gentle swath of care and compassion. And, I would guess the cloak would sit beautifully under her gorgeous locks of hair, have an elegant drape and a gentle purple hue! - Posted by: Liz Hydesmith (Friend) on: Nov 22, 2021

  • Benita was taken away to soon. It was a privilege to have had her as a community health nursing professor and public health mentor. My sincere condolences to her spouse and family. M. Long, RN,MN - Posted by: Michelle Long (Former master of nursing student ) on: Nov 21, 2021

  • My sincere condolences to Benita's family and close circle of friends. I've admired her work for many years and frequently reference her publications in every nursing course that I teach. She will be so missed. - Posted by: Nancy McPherson (Nursing Educator) on: Nov 21, 2021

  • Benita was a friend and colleague. We met as grad students in Community Health Sciences over 20 years ago. She was great friend and very nice to me and my family. I will miss her. Condolences to Pete and his family as well as her sister and brother. - Posted by: Andrea Klymasz (friend) on: Nov 20, 2021

  • Benita taught me in nursing school 17 years ago. Her devotion to social justice has left a lasting impact and motivates me to this day. - Posted by: Kirsten Bourque (Former Student) on: Nov 20, 2021

Thomson Funeral Home

Thomson Funeral Home

669 Broadway Ave. (Map)
Ph: 2047837211 | Visit Website

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