May 28, 1932 - September 20, 2018
The family of Morse Silden announces his passing on September 20, 2018 in the Grace General Hospital, after a lengthy illness, at the age of 86 years.
Morse is survived by his loving wife of 62 years, Ruth; sons Kenneth and Jonathan (Crystal); granddaughter Lee; grandsons Jake and Cole. He was predeceased by his brother Myer Silverman; and sister Ruthie Silverman Nadel.
A celebration of his life will be held at 2:00 pm Monday, September 24, 2018 at 603 Wellington Crescent at Academy Road (Unitarian Church).
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Canadian Diabetes Association or the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba.
Eulogy by Jonathan Silden
I want to talk about my father Mesh Silden but first I want to thank you all for coming. This is a difficult time for my wife and children and I but we’re aware of how difficult the loss of my father is for many of you. Manu of you had strong ties to my father, ties developed over long histories, or intense ties developed over a short while. The ties of friends and family. I know you all love him as we do, and you will miss him as sure we do.
I’ve been coming back to Winnipeg a lot over the last 30 years, and I often wonder what it is that is so great about this city, that remains in my heart after so many years. It’s not the weather. Well, it’s the people. It’s the people that make this city so great. I want to acknowledge all of you who are here, and those that couldn’t stay or couldn’t make it. Thank you all. I know you share our loss.
I also want to thank all of you who were so helpful when my father was hospitalized a year and a half ago. People who telephoned with suggestions to help with the care of my mother, people who advised me about my father’s medical condition, people who came to visit him in the hospital, people who shared they cared in many other ways. I also want to thank the staff at St. Boniface Hospital and the Grace Hospital in terminal medicine ward.
And having mentioned my gratitude to you, I want to add how lucky I am to have my beautiful helpful and intelligent wife here, whose organizational skills and competent efficiency in getting things done has supported me through this time. And she has been there for my father, my mother, and I, all the times we’ve needed her before. And I’m grateful to my children, for being so goddamn lovable, charming, helpful in difficult times and good company.
I am grateful for having this man, my father in my life all these years. He was a man who was generous with his time, and was generous to many people here. And many of you have reasons to be grateful to him as I do.
Before I go ahead with a few things I want to tell you I think I should proceed with four words on my fathers opinion on organized religion. He was against it. I know that many of you were expecting that this service would take place in a synagogue, with a burial, featuring the basic wooden box just like my zayda used to build. You would listen to a properly delivered speech by a professional and well-practiced Rabbi, instead of this meandering muddled mess I’m mumbling.
But my father was against all that, and he told us he didn’t want that kid of service. His father was very observant. He made coffins for the Chesed Shel Emes for Hebrew Basic Burial. He was strictly kosher. He believed the Torah. But my dad didn’t. I know many of you will be surprised, but my father specifically stipulated that he would be cremated and that there would be no religious ceremony or prayers following his death.
Now to the controversial part. His opposition to cut flowers. I know there are may huge supporters of cut flowers out there. Many of them are in the back pocket of BIG FLOWER. My dad thought that growing flowers just to cut them down in their prime was wasteful, and cruel.
As many of you know, my dad grew up in a very poor family. They lived at 175 1/12 Power Street. He made his way on his own, working hard, working days, putting himself through law school at night. He was proud of his achievement. He used to say “we lived at 175 ½ Powers. I was so poor I only had half an address!”
My dad had a depression-era mentality about throwing out anything that was potentially useful. Even with disposable chopsticks that come with take out food. He had a drawer full of disposable chopsticks. When my dad had his heart attack 18 months ago, his doctor said he had 3 months to live.
”You only have 3 months “ , He said, tops”
My dad said “Whadaya mean 3 months to live? I’ve got a 6 year supply of chopsticks!”
He was smart, but he didn’t push it. My mother used to say when confronted with other peoples problems “if could put my head on your shoulders.” But my dad didn’t push for you to use his solution to your problem. He’d tell you his opinion, then let you fuck it up yourself. He did get frustrated though, when he’d tell you what to do, and saw you’d dug your hole deeper. But then he’d just think of another solution.
Smart people are always learning. When he needed to learn something, he’d learn it. He learned to weld and built a boat rail system at each of their cottages. He read a book about sailing, and became a competent sailor. He took a course on small engine repair and all their friends brought their outboard motors to him, and he was always called when their pumps weren’t working.
He helped people. People were dedicated to my dad. He had many circles of friends. Business friends, socializing groups, friends from the lake, and of course the extended family. Many of you here, an many have contacted my brother and I. It shows how well loved he was and that people stuck with him. And he stuck by them. Many of you have known this far longer than I have.
You stuck by him through his illness. He fought to stay with us. It was not a brief struggle. He won the first few battles. He wasn’t a candidate for life saving procedures. The doctor said he had at best 3 months to live. That was 18 months ago. He battled back and received the procedures. The procedures were successful. But there was permanent damage. As he gradually worsened, he refused to go back to the hospital. It was as if he knew that he didn’t have the strength for one more trip to emergency. When he finally was admitted, he still struggled to continue his life. I think he was saying one last thing to all of us. It was better to be alive and we should cherish this life while we still have it.
Eulogy by Lee Silden
Hello Everyone, I know that this has been a difficult weekend but I am so glad that everyone here was able to come together like this, I would like to especially thank those of you who had serious distance to cover. For those who don't know me, I'm Mesh's granddaughter, Lee. Today, I'm going to attempt to share a few of my words, reflections, and memories of Mesh, meshy in moments and what he meant to me. He was everything I, as a granddaughter, needed and wanted in a grandfather. He was kind, patient beyond reason, sometimes a 'lil stern - but with a quick hitting sense of humour. I looked up to him as a child, and as i got older, my admiration for him only grew. When I got a laugh out of Mesh with a joke of my own, my heart would swell in my chest. In every phone call, every letter, and every conversation with this was my secret goal, to see that big smile, hear his loud laugh, and know that he loved me.
Mesh had a lot of love for me and my brothers, evident in the endless patience he had for our antics. We didn't do hugs - no, instead we would run straight to his lap, and start climbing. We would climb anything, and mesh was a prime target. On many occasions he endured three sets of boney knees and pointy elbows - straight to the gut - with a smile and a joke or two - but never a complaint. In my childhood memories he is expansive, a mountain of a man and a place of infinite comfort, now, - this image of him remains, mixing with my memories from the years after - but just as true now as it was then.
At Westgate, Mesh and Nana's old home, we spent endless hours running from room to room, up and down the velvet covered stairs, under tables and underfoot. A favourite game of ours was to climb to the top of the stairs - again, when you’re little, nothing is more enjoyable than climbing - and roll down them. Mesh, with his childheart, was always there at the bottom of the stairs, ready to join in on our games. In the backyard we spent hours swinging, running, building snowmen - once the snow eventually came, you know - in September - and simply playing. Mesh was always present, our playmate and grandfather, spoiling us despite our parents protests. There was always some treat conveniently left out for us to find after bedtime.
Back in the Spring, during one of our phone calls, Mesh and I ended up chatting about Hanukkah traditions - after his usual teasing about my job - to those who don't know I work at a flower shop, one of Mesh's most hated industries - I remember him saying to me "It's not the religion that's important, it’s the tradition." This comment took me back to the many grand Passover dinners Mesh and Nana hosted. I was young back then, and can’t claim to remember much of the traditions - let alone the religion - but I do remember Mesh. How confidently he would lead, how inspiring and magical he made that night for us kids. It was the family that was important to Mesh, the tradition of gathering together to remember, like today.
In the later years that I knew him, when he cared for Nana and eventually became sick himself, we spent our time together talking politics, chatting about talk shows and laughing. The love and patience he showed Nana when her health began to decline was such an inspiration to me. He was always there for her, never further than a room or two. To this day, and for the rest of my life, I know that I will judge all relationships in my life against what they had. Sitting at the breakfast table in Dana Point, one of the trips he took to California for Nana’s care, I remember those quiet mornings, we didn't have to say anything - he was still the man from my childhood memories, putting any worries, spoken or unspoken, of mine to rest.
While this weekend has been difficult in many different ways for our family, it's also been a time for us to come together. We spent one beautiful afternoon looking through old photographs and reminiscing about Mesh, his life, and the impact he had on all of us. He was so much to me and to our family and his life is significant to everyone here today. I love my grandfather endlessly and though it hurts now to think of him, I’m grateful for his influence on my life and I will never forget him.
Eulogy by Michael Averback
Thank you, Jon for giving me the honour to say a few words today.
I knew him first when I was young, as Jimmy’s boy friend. I do recall them staying with me once.
I do remember attending their wedding and, expect, by then, even C.O. had accepted this gifted, witty, intelligent young man in to the family.
Of course, as he was wont to say, forever, he was still NOT blood!
Mesh grew up in an ultra orthodox household and was intended to be a rabbi and teach. Exactly when he objected and completely rebelled from that path, I am not sure, but do know it came at great angst and affected his relationship with his father.
And so set his independent life path.
He attended Machray and then St. Johns before obtaining a commerce degree from the University of Manitoba. Apparently, he did some tailoring along the way and morphed that into a garment manufacturing business – Great West Garments – which I believe was work wear. He ran that business to support he and Jimmy while they both continued university – he pursuing a law degree.
The demands of his business often / usually took precedence over attending classes. Fortunately, Jackie Simkin was a prolific note taker. he was able to review her notes in lieu of class. Those notes and his very bright intellect allowed him to pass the exams presented. Another lawyer was created.
He practiced criminal law but turned to corporate commercial law in short order. He opened his own office serving a variety of clients in many capacities – real estate, wills, commercial transactions, counselling, litigation.
Mesh was most generous with his time and with his devotion to his clients. Often to a fault, but that was his way.
If there was a picture in a dictionary defining ‘fiercely independent’ it would be Mesh’s. he chose his path - he practised law determindly, intelligently and well considered, stubbornly perhaps but more steadfastly. And with all else in his life his approach was the same. He was quiet yet bright witty and attuned to all around him.
In spite of his rebellion from all things religious he accepted the roll of the family ‘Reb’ and leader for the many family dinners shared at Passover and Rosh Hashana. These meals so often included dishes lovingly prepared by both Reesa and Jimmy.
They say no one should own a cottage if they do not enjoy puttering. Like all things Mesh, he brought this to another level.
Perhaps a frustrated mechanic or simply a fix it guy belying his heritage. he loved to pursue a fix it yourself solution rather than a hired hand. He loved to browse auctions, clearance houses and the like in search of bargain equipment and audio equipment that he needed but more likely just MAY need.
How many lawyers do we know who held welding papers?
Because projects started would often be interrupted by another project, not everything reached fruition. The best example must be the south shore cottage. It was in development for so many years they finally had to build on the north shore to have a private bedroom!
But the parties and gathering in that …dare I say rustic …. environment were special and legendary. Fortunately some forthcoming law changes will allow all to be forgiven.
And then there was/is the vehicle collection. I think he often suggested they were obtained in lieu of fees – most in varying degrees of decay - an old milk truck being the most famous. Like the tools that he foraged for, there may be a use some day.
Apparently there are still several vehicles unaccounted for, although still insured!
The reality is that this is yet another example of his quiet generous spirit as he simply, selflessly helped his friends that needed help.
But nothing showed his character more than how he cared for Jimmy. A ride he often said he would happily repeat. He doted on her and she was totally dependent…..until he could no longer!
Rest in peace my friend.
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