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The late Jerry Maslowsky
By HOLLY HARRIS
When Jerry Maslowsky (z”l), a highly-respected local business executive, supremely gifted entertainer, devoted family man, as well as all-around mensch, died unexpectedly from an aggressive form of cancer in September 2016, he left gaping shoes to fill as well as an inestimable legacy of giving back to the community he so loved and had dedicated his life to serving.  

 

 


His family and friends are now proudly carrying his torch with the third annual Mother’s Day Brunch being held Sunday, May 12th at the Saddlery, 114 Market Avenue. The event that sold out last year has already raised a whopping $15K (net) in support of Variety’s special needs program through the Jerry Maslowsky Memorial Fund since its initial launch in May 2017.
“My Dad absolutely loved children, and would go above and beyond with these kids at Variety. He was always fully engaged with them, and taught them piano and visited them in the hospital. Not many CEOs would do that. He genuinely cared about them, and they loved him back,” says Maslowsky’s eldest daughter Kaylee, and spitfire chair of the organizing committee that also includes Jerry’s wife of nearly 31 years, Chris, his sister Debbie, as well as close family friends, with his other two children, daughter Tara, and son Bobbie supporting from the sidelines that makes it truly a family affair.
Born in 1957 to Sam and Evelyn Maslowsky, Jerry first cut his teeth in musical theatre at Garden City Collegiate also attended by his siblings Kenny, Debbie and late sister Barbara, as well as davening regularly at Chevra Mishnayes Synagogue co-founded by his zaida.


He performed in numerous Rainbow Stage productions, was a featured singer/dancer with the Sarah Sommer Chai Folk Ensemble, and appeared in over 100 shows at the Hollow Mug Dinner Theatre, including many directed by this writer’s own father, Neil Harris, who recognized Jerry’s dazzling talent and loved him like a son. He also launched “Special Blend” with three childhood friends that became Winnipeg’s “go-to” Bar Mitzvah and wedding band, as well as co-wrote/co-hosted a three-part TV special“Wish Upon a Star” for CKY TV with Debbie during the early 1990s.  
However, “repairing the world” by helping others in need always remained nearest and dearest to Maslowsky’s heart. After establishing a successful career in business, that first began as advertising manager for The Jewish Post, and eventually led to high-profile positions as VP of Sales and Marketing with the Winnipeg Football Club for 15 years, he continued to live out his passion and deep dedication to Tikkun Olam through his final tenure as CEO of Variety, as well as the Never Alone Foundation.

“Jerry always had a passion for giving back, and putting other’s needs ahead of his own, which came from our parents, and their parents before them,” Debbie explains over the phone. “I remember when there was a war in Israel. My grandparents had very little and they put a few pieces of jewelry in a bag and said to my Mom, ‘Go sell this and give the money to Israel.’ I remember that so clearly, and just thinking ‘Wow.” It was instilled in us forever to give back, and to make sure everybody is cared for,” she says.
“We’ve also gone through a lot together in life that makes you take inventory of what’s important and what’s not. Jerry always knew what was most important,” Debbie elaborates, who also performed extensively with her brother at many Jewish functions throughout the city, as well as in Chai, Rainbow Stage, Folkorama and at the “Mug.”


But there’s another, more personal reason why the idea of creating an annual brunch became so important to the late leader, that’s even closer to home.  
“Jerry was a most loving son,” Debbie recalls. “He had a very deep connection to my mother and visited her all the time after she went into personal care,” she explains. “It was always his dream to do something for the mothers of Variety, but it all started with his care, and respect and love of our own mother, and for all women and mothers,” she says.  
“Jerry and I have always been so proud to a part of this Jewish community. But we’ve also been proud to be a part of the Winnipeg community, with the Mother’s Day Brunch going beyond all boundaries,” she says. “Ultimately, this is all about community, that gives back and cares for everybody.”

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