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LEE ANNE BLOCK Obituary pic


Born: Feb 09, 1952

Date of Passing: Feb 19, 2022

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February 9, 1952 - February 19, 2022

Lee Anne Block died peacefully on Saturday from pancreatic cancer. She was 70.
A few weeks earlier, Lee Anne was teaching at the University of Winnipeg, playing with grandkids and frustrated by some persistent stomach discomfort that was evolving into pain. She was also glowing after a joyous trip to see her grandsons, Sam and Ari.
Lee Anne grew up in Winnipeg's vibrant North End Jewish community. The eldest of three sisters, her neighbourhood was filled with cousins and friends whom she cherished throughout her life.
Lee Anne met her first husband, Sheldon Oberman, when registering for classes at the University of Winnipeg. They had two children together, Adam and Mira, and later became a model of how to cooperatively co-parent post divorce.
Lee Anne taught middle school and English as a Second Language in Seven Oaks School Division and was active in Winnipeg's theatre community. A major project was co-producing a community theatre production about women's struggles with mental health.
She moved to Toronto in 1995 and obtained her Master's degree from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto.
On a visit home over the winter break of 1997, Lee Anne's former mother-in-law introduced her to Richard Grunfeld. Her life was forever changed for the better.
Not long after she moved back to Winnipeg to be with Richard, Lee Anne decided to continue her academic career. She obtained a PhD from the University of North Dakota. Lee Anne was hired by the University of Winnipeg's Faculty of Education; where she obtained tenure in 2016. A passionate educator, her research focused on place-based learning and sustainability.
Lee Anne helped create the Langside Learning Garden, a partnership with Spence Neighbourhood Association, to develop sustainable urban gardening and also worked on projects related to greenspace used by teachers, outdoor learning, and the importance of school gardens.
Lee Anne worked with a remarkable group of people to create the Kapabamayak Achaak Healing Forest Winnipeg in St. John's Park. The Healing Forest is a living memorial to Indigenous children and families lost to or affected by the residential school system. Lee Anne helped develop educational programming and curriculum so neighbourhood schools could use the space for outdoor learning.
Her academic and community service work was recognized with the University's 2018 Faculty and Staff Campus Sustainability Recognition Award.
Lee Anne is survived by her partner Richard Grunfeld; her children, Adam Oberman (Jill) and Mira Oberman (Brent); stepsons, Ben Grunfeld (Pancham) and Aaron (Alina); her grandchildren, Rani, Sam, Daniel, Lizzy, Ari, Asa and Finn; her mother Jeanette Block; her sisters, Rhea Tregebov (Sam) and Sheila Block (Marylin); her brother-in-law Tom (Leslie); along with beloved cousins and many dear friends. She was predeceased by her father Sam Block.
A funeral was held on Tuesday, February 22, 2022.
A "Baba's Bannock and Jam" Fund is being established to honour Lee Anne's legacy. It will support educational programming - and snacks for visiting school children - at the Healing Forest. Donations can be sent to St. John's Anglican Cathedral, "Kapabamayak Achaak Healing Forest", 135 Anderson Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R2W 5M9.

For those who wish to sign the online Guest Book please visit
Chapel Lawn Funeral Home

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Feb 23, 2022

Condolences & Memories (4 entries)

  • I met Lee Anne through work and once I left that job and found out she was also a professor at the University of Winnipeg I visited her in her office on a weekly basis. She was such a wonderful and caring person and always offered the most kind life advice for any type of problem I was having. I like to think we became really good friends as even through the summers we emailed back and fourth with life updates and stories about her grandkids were always a common topic of enjoyment for her. We had such wonderful talks at the university and she was always so positive about anything that was going on, I am so grateful I was able to become more than someone who worked for her, she really was a great friend and mentor for me. I will miss her deeply and am sad I will not be able to have our weekly chats in her office anymore. She truly was an incredible person. My condolences to her family. - Posted by: Sierra (Friend ) on: Apr 06, 2022

  • I am so shocked and saddened to hear Lee Anne's passing. I came to know Lee Anne when I was teaching as a sessional instructor at the Faculty of Education. She was one of the kindest faculty members. She was very caring and always willing to help. I remember, one time, I asked her how to get to a certain building at the university, she walked with me to show the place. She also encouraged me a lot when I had some challenges. I will miss her a lot. - Posted by: Eunhee Buettner (Colleague) on: Feb 28, 2022

  • Lee Anne was a wonderful, caring, enthusiastic professor for me in Education. She was genuinely excited to see us learn, grow and develop our own practice and I'm grateful for having had her as a teacher. Thank you for sharing this memorial with us. - Posted by: Kyle Owens (Student) on: Feb 24, 2022

  • Dear Jeanette…..I am so very sorry about the loss of your daughter. My heart goes out to you in this time of sorrow. Although I did not know your daughter I’ll never forget your kindness many years ago. - Posted by: Judy Ahrens-Townsend (Colleague of Jeanette (Thesis Committee, MSW, 1990)) on: Feb 23, 2022

Chapel Lawn Funeral Home & Cemetery

Chapel Lawn Funeral Home & Cemetery

4000 Portage Ave. (Map)
Ph: 2048859715 | Visit Website

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