Benjamin Bernard ZAIDMAN (1922-2008)
Born on Powers Street in Winnipeg on 29 October 1922, one of six children born to Harry Zaidman and Goldie Sitner. He left home at 15 and worked as a general store clerk in the Manitoba towns of Hodgson, Griswold, and Virden. In 1941, he joined the RCAF and served as a radio operator in Whitehorse, Yukon. He was discharged in 1946 as a Master Sergeant.
He returned to Winnipeg and married his childhood sweetheart, Nellie Merkel (1922-2006), and they had four children: Shelley Zaidman (wife of Morris Chochinov), Paul Zaidman, Harriet Zaidman (wife of Cecil Rosner), and Ellen Zaidman (wife of Doug Sywake).
Labour Leader, Community Activist
He had learned the electrical trade from his father and began working at the CNR Transcona Shops. He operated a crane, repaired equipment on the benches, worked as a foreman, and finally retired as the Health and Safety Officer in 1987.
He served as President of Local 409 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and served on the Winnipeg Labour Council and the Manitoba Federation of Labour. He worked on Home and School Associations and served as president of the provincial association. He helped establish the library for the former City of West Kildonan. Elected to the Seven Oaks School Board in 1968, he served on every committee and position over the next three decades, including four terms as Chairman. He helped build many new schools and develop important new programs for students. The Community recognized his contributions by naming the Educational Resource Centre in his honour in 1999.
He graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1989. He served as President of the Garden City Chapter of B’nai Brith, a member of the Royal Canadian Legion, General Monash Branch, and the Transcona Masons Lodge. He served on the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai Brith and chaired the Manitoba Public Schools Finance Board. He was Chairman of Monash Manor Housing and served on the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.
He died at Winnipeg on 05 June 2008 and was buried in Shaarey Zedek Memorial Cemetery.
- Reprinted with permission from Manitoba Historical Society and updated.
- Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 07 June 2008.
- Obituary [Nellie Zaidman], Winnipeg Free Press, 19 November 2006.
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