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By BERNIE BELLAN
(Much of the following is taken from Morley Blankstein's story in the Jewish Foundation of Mantioba's Book of Life:)
A stellar supporter of a myriad of causes - and one of Manitoba's leading architects, has passed.


Morley Blankstein, who was 91, passed away Wednesday, June 16. The son of Max Zev and Lena (Goldin) Blankstein, Morley Blankstein was one of five children.
Following in his father's footsteps, (Max was Western Canada's first Jewish architect and quite possibly, the first in Canada altogether), Morley became a renowned architect in his own right, working first for the firm of Green Blankstein Russell, later starting his own firm: Number Ten Architectural Group. Morley was responsible for the design of Winnipeg's General Post Office while with Green Blankstein Russell.  
During his tenure with Number Ten Architectural Group, the firm won numerous awards and was involved in the design of many major projects, both here in Winnipeg and internationally, including: The Zambia Institute of Technology in Kitwe, Zambia; the City of Winnipeg Transit Garage, Office & Maintenance Complex; Lions Manor Senior Citizen Residence Complex; Air Canada Maintenance Hangars and Stores; Sharon Home of Winnipeg; Peguis Pavilion in Kildonan Park; Pilot Training Building for the Canadian Forces Base in Portage-la-Prairie, and renovations and additions to the St. Amant Centre.
Morley Blankstein served on numerous boards and was involved in a host of different organizations. He served as President of the Manitoba Theatre Centre, President of the YMHA Jewish Community Centre, President of the Glendale Golf & Country Club, Vice President of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and Vice President of the Winnipeg Jewish Community Council, chairing the Combined Jewish Appeal in 1978 and 1979. He chaired the Age & Opportunity Centre Inc. Living Arrangements Committee, served on the Board of the Canadian Design Council, and was a Member of Council for the Community Planning Association of Canada.
As well, Morley was deeply involved with the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba, the Rose & Max Rady Jewish Community Centre, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, and the Simkin Centre (formerly the Sharon Home) along with the Manitoba Theatre Centre.
Married to the former Marjorie Rady since 1952, Morley and Marjorie Blankstein had five children.
Following are excerpts from past issues of The Jewish Post & News which offer glimpses into the contributions Morley Blankstein made over the years:
In May of 2014, Morley and Marjorie Blankstein were honoured by the Canadian Associates of Ben Gurion University for their contribution to the cyberwarfare lab at Ben Gurion University.
"In describing how much both Marjorie and Morley Blankstein have contributed of themselves over the years, Nora Kaufman noted how “they’ve expressed their involvement – Morley through a distinguished career as an architect and through community involvement – and Marjorie as a professional volunteer.”
"Among the many local causes to which they’ve lent their support over the years, Kaufman listed the Rady JCC (which is named for Marjorie’s parents, Max and Rose Rady); the Canadian Museum for Human Rights; the United Way; St. Boniface Hospital; and the Arthur V. Mauro Centre for Peace and Justice.
"In addition the Blanksteins have been generous supporters of many causes in the State of Israel, with Morley having been the driving force behind the Winnipeg branch of the Canadian Technion Society for many years. Interestingly, Marjorie Blankstein pointed out that, as a couple, she and Morley have been to Israel an amazing 31 times altogether, beginning with their first trip in 1962."

Morley's most recent (and last appearance in our paper) came this past November when a cause that was near and dear to his heart, the Monash Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, unveiled a new plaque commemorating the contribution of General John Monash to the Allied effort in the First World War. At that time we wrote: "The idea for the plaque, notes Dan Stone, past president of the Jewish Heritage Centre, was broached several years ago by Marshall Wilder and Morley Blankstein, who approached the Jewish Heritage Centre to discuss documenting and preserving the history and contributions of Jewish war veterans."

In August 2010 Morley Blankstein was still actively involved with the Canadian Technion Society. (Sadly, he told me that he was unable to find anyone who was willing to take on the responsibility of heading that organization when he was no longer able to perform that function and so there is no longer a branch of the Canadian Technion Society in Winnipeg.) But, five years ago Morley reminisced about the early days of the Canadian Friends of the Technion Society here:
"For local chapter president Morley Blankstein, being involved with the Technion, Israel’s foremost institute of scientific research and education, has been a labour of love going back over 30 years.
"Blankstein says that the Winnipeg chapter of Canadian Friends of the Technion got its start here in the 1960s under the inspired leadership of Archie Micay and Justice Roy Matas. Blankstein notes that, during the time in which he has been involved in helping to boost support for the Technion, he has been privileged to form associations with some of that institution’s most outstanding leaders. He cites, in particular, Maj. Gen. (res) Amos Horev, who was Israel’s first native-born president of the Technion."

Jim Carr, whose mother was a first cousin of Morley's, recalls him with great fondness: "Morley was kind and gentle, bright and engaged, passionate about his family, his country, Israel and the Jewish people. His creativity and spirit of generosity will live on as we grieve the loss. My heartfelt condolences to his beloved Marjorie and their wonderful family."

Morley’s nephew Arthur added these thoughts: “Whether he was in the Jewish community or the general community, Morley was a mensch. He gave of himself both in hard work and philanthropy to many community causes.  He was an architect in keeping with a family tradition following in his father’s footsteps and like his brother Cecil and sister Evelyn.

“We can look around the city and see his work, be it the Royal Canadian Mint, The Winnipeg Art Gallery or the Manitoba Theatre Centre and many others.  He loved Israel as he loved Canada – he gave of himself to community planning of the town of Gav Yavna near Tel Aviv and was the president of the Winnipeg Chapter of Technion.

He was a family man and family was so important to him – he was the patriarch to his nephews and nieces.”

 



Funeral service for the late Morley Blankstein will take place Friday afternoon at 1:30 pm at the Shaarey Zedek Synagogue with interment to take place at Shaarey Zedek Cemetery.

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