A life at the forefront of community health education
After a decades-long career helping young families, seniors and low-income people regain their health and social independence, Bernice Marmel’s deep commitment to the community has only deepened as ‘she defended the well-being of her neighbors.
On April 28, 2021, the longtime Winnipeg resident, lawyer, mother, friend and recipient of the Order of Manitoba passed away at the age of 94 at the Saul and Claribel Simkin Center.
Lynda Metcalfe recalled working with her friend at the Nor’West Co-op Health and Social Services Center in the Gilbert Park neighborhood in the mid-1970s, as they shared notes and concerns from community members, many of whom were young parents, single moms, minimum wage earners, moving to city life after leaving a reserve, and retirees.
In her role as a health educator, Marmel was responsible for creating programs and partnerships to support residents in nutrition, finances, social and community recreation, fitness, mental health, and more.
“As a nurse practitioner, I saw quite a few young mothers in the area with children at home and very stressed,” recalls Metcalfe. “And I remember going down the hall from my office to her office and saying, ‘Bernice, I see a lot of mothers who are isolated and going through tough times. ”
Upon retirement, Marmel also served on the boards of three housing complexes, Sanderson said, and was instrumental in the development of Widlake Properties, a 95-unit, non-profit affordable housing project. more than 55 accommodations.
“She was there to serve the community, she was an example of how to do it,” he said.
Marmel was exceptionally proud of her family, including her two children, Lawrence and Rosalind, and their father Max Marmel, their grandchildren Shane and Allison, as well as being a devoted sister to her three brothers, Metcalfe said.
She will be remembered for her friends as a woman who took the time to enjoy a meal at Salisbury House on Main Street, beamed with happiness with her “megawatt” smile, enjoyed the simple pleasures and still saw his glass half full.
“His friendship was truly a gift to me,” said Metcalfe.