Louise Claman

My Story...

My father, Archie Hecht, was born in New York in 1912 and came to Winnipeg at the age of four with his parents, Hymie and Bessie Hecht. My mother, Ida Medovy, was born in Winnipeg to Israel and Molly Medovy. My parents met as university students, and married in February 1937.

I was born in 1941 and grew up in River Heights with my brother Larry and sister Peggy. As a young Jewish girl in the south end, life revolved around school (Queenston and then Kelvin High), friends, the Y, and especially Girl Guides at the Shaarey Zedek. We had a very active Girl Guide company, and I have fond memories of being chosen to represent our troupe on an international Girl Guide trip to the east coast, camping in places like Newfoundland and PEI. Later, I began attending B'nai Brith Camp and loved it so much as a camper, I stayed on as counsellor for a number of years.

Following high school, I attended university for a year and then took nursing at the Winnipeg General Hospital School of Nursing, graduating in 1963. Nursing has been a wonderful career! I have enjoyed helping people through difficult times in their lives and have learned much from my interaction with others. Having recently retired, I look back with great satisfaction on my 40-year career, where I worked primarily in two areas — the Health Sciences Centre Recovery Room, and since 1987, the Women's Health Centre.

I met Sheldon Claman when my sister-in-law, Evelyn Hecht, persuaded me to go on a blind date with her new dentist. We were married on December 22, 1964 and soon started our family. Erin, born in 1966, lives in Toronto and has earned degrees in Occupational Therapy and Recreational Therapy. Benny, born in 1968 attended St. John's Ravenscourt and earned full scholarship to Carleton University. Tragically, Benny passed away in 1988. Sara, born in 1970, has her Masters in Social Work and currently works in the Childrens Hospital Emergency unit. We were pleased that Sara pursued her love of track and twice went to the Maccabiah Games. Sara is married to Mardy Yager and they have two sons, Brett (born 1998) and Seth (born 2004). Jeffrey, born in 1971, graduated from Mount Allison University in New Brunswick earning a degree in History and Economics.

My nursing career allowed me a flexible schedule to raise the children, and also to pursue volunteer activities. I was President of the Sharon Chapter of Hadassah, and active with the Shaarey Zedek Sisterhood. These were busy, exhilarating - and sometimes exhausting — times but I enjoyed my involvement in the community and the friendships formed. In 2001 Sheldon and I were instrumental in the establishment of S.P.E.A.K. (Suicide Prevention Education Awareness Knowledge) and are active with that organization today.

Having grandchildren in this community makes it even more important to me that the Jewish community remain strong and vibrant. I think it is important that children have a strong sense of who they are, that they are secure in their identity as Jews, and that they have a community of friends to whom they feel connected. It is towards this end that I am pleased to participate in the Endowment Book of Life.