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Obituary

SHARON FILKOW (published on September 27, 2008)



SHARON FILKOW My mother-in-law, Sharon Filkow, passed away on June 17, 2008. There's a lot I could say about her, but nothing I write would do her justice. It would be easy for me to say that Sharon was well loved, highly respected, wonderfully passionate and will be missed, though these words cannot accurately explain just how impressive Sharon was and how great our recent loss is and will continue to be. Before I met Sharon, I had heard of her by reputation. She was a staple of the community, serving on private school boards and taking active roles in other projects and events. She was a constant and welcomed presence at Camp Massad dinners and plays where she would watch, with pride, her daughter Lainie perform as the camp director. It was there I was first introduced to Sharon's caring and warm personality. As I got to know Sharon, it became apparent that I wasn't the only one who felt a deep connection with her. The beautiful mother of three was genuinely admired and respected by everyone she encountered in her work and social life. She developed relationships that were rich, strong and long lasting and her moral authority was present in everything she did. In delivering his eulogy at the funeral service, her son Kevin eloquently expressed that Sharon never looked to her neighbour, she always knew what was right. Sharon's creativity was her signature. She had a gifted eye and exquisite taste. Her family and her friends in Winnipeg and elsewhere encouraged her visits to their homes and cottages so Sharon could provide decorating inspiration. Virtually every tradesman who ever worked for the family became fond of her. They would remark they had enhanced their skills, having been exposed to her innovative thinking. This characteristic was recognized by Mark Lash of Toronto, and for many years in Winnipeg Sharon represented his highly regarded Toronto jewelry stores. Mark often asked Sharon to come to Toronto to work with him there. Mark spoke emotionally and beautifully at her service about her talent and their working relationship. Although she was constantly busy and engaged, Sharon did manage to spend a good portion of her time at her cottage in Winnipeg Beach, where she was in her element. While there Sharon enjoyed painting, gardening and fixing up the property. She loved the solitude of spring and fall weekends and treasured visits in the summer from family and friends. It was her relationship with her immediate family that mattered most to Sharon. Ken and Sharon fashioned their lives on certain values and dreams. Their children Kevin, Shaun and Lainie were central to those dreams. My mother-in-law took great satisfaction watching her sons and daughter grow into thoughtful and intelligent adults and seeing her husband of 44 years become an accomplished lawyer and an even more successful father. In his eulogy, Kevin spoke at length as to how Sharon was so integral in different ways to each member of the family. In 1993 Shaun passed away. While this would crush any parent and Sharon was hurt beyond comprehension she knew that she had to go on despite this terrible tragedy. The special bond between Ken and Sharon never altered. They maintained their wonderful marriage, their work, their friends and their sense of humour. Sharon took great pleasure when Kevin married Debbi-Jo Matias in 2005 and Lainie married me that same year, and was thrilled when Kevin's son Jesse and our daughter Molly came into the world. Sharon loved being a grandmother. Despite being very weak from cancer, and while the family's collective hearts were breaking, she made sure that she saw Jesse and Molly as much as she could; holding them and showering them with gifts. I take comfort knowing that through her values, her valor and zest for life, that she will still play a major part in her grandchildren's lives. Memories of Sharon should also extend to her magnetic popularity while a student at school and university and to the wonderful warmth of the Primack family home which became the meeting place during those years. There was always a selfless devotion to her parents. When Sharon was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2002 the resolution she showed at Shaun's death again prevailed. Her fight against cancer for six years was almost legendary in medical/nursing circles. Sharon contributed in a significant way to making the 2005 weddings of both Debbi-Jo and Kevin in Toronto and Lainie and I in Mexico happen and she was there for the births of Jesse (in Vancouver in 2007) and Molly (in Toronto this year). Despite her illness, she still held private jewelry client appointments, managed the renovation of her cottage and lived her life as Sharon Filkow. I know I can speak for the family's gratitude to Dr. Robert Lotoki for his empathetic management of Sharon's care. Services were held on June 20th at Congregation Etz Chayim. Active pallbearers were my father Abe Borzykowski, Sharon's brother-in-law Jack Klein, her nephew Dr. Richard Klein and friends, Dr. Larry Golub, Marc Dolgin and Mark Lash. Honourary pallbearers included Sharon's niece Nancy Klein and friends Miriam Corne, Nessie Greenberg, Mia Levin, Naomi Pfeffer, Ed Shinewald and Cynthia Wine. Bryan Borzykowski Sharon's son-in-law ******************************* As mentioned, Sharon is survived by her husband Ken, her son Kevin (Debbi-Jo), her daughter Lainie (Bryan) and her grandchildren Jesse and Molly. Sharon was predeceased, also as mentioned above, by her son Shaun in 1993. Her parents passed, both in this decade and both in their 90s. She is also survived by her sister and brother-in-law, Faigie and Jack Klein and their families. The family acknowledges, with genuine gratitude, the numerous expressions of sympathy, the personal support given and the donations in Sharon's memory to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba, Cancer Care Manitoba and many other organizations. ******************************* Sharon was an extraordinary person. I miss her terribly. Ken


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