Wife, mother, grandmother, dear friend, music lover. Born Nov. 1, 1925, in Toronto; died on Jan. 20, 2014, in Toronto, of pneumonia and flu, aged 88.
When Florence Weinrauch Weiner died on Jan. 20, I lost a warm, wise, strong, loyal, open-hearted, fun-loving friend whom I had known for more than 75 years.
When Floie and I first met, in the late 1930s, the Weinrauch home on Dupont Street in downtown Toronto included a coal yard, from where her father delivered coal. Their home was a favourite destination for Floie's friends, filled with love, laughter and music.
Her mother would dress up when Floie's friends visited and treated us to fancy little sandwiches with the crusts trimmed off. Her hard-working father would scrub up to join the party with us, and Floie's sisters, Eleanor and Sheila. We were all treated like little ladies.
During high-school years at Central Commerce, Floie and I were in the same grade. She took horseback riding classes and persuaded me and a few others to join her. The stables were at stop 10A on the Richmond Hill trolley, which travelled the tracks on Yonge Street beyond the city's northern limits (Newtonbrook Plaza stands there now). Somehow we managed to pay for the riding classes, although none of our families could readily afford such a luxury.
Floie was still a teenager when she met Sammy Weiner, a pianist and piano teacher who won her heart. They married within a few months of meeting, in 1945. Sammy played at the Mercury Club on Victoria Street and we would go there to hear him perform.
Floie was dedicated to her beloved Sammy and they were blessed with two sons and a daughter, and later two grandsons, Noah and Oren. While her children were young Floie stayed at home to care for them. Later she worked as executive assistant at the B'nai Brith Youth Organization, where she met many young people and maintained a special connection with a few.
Floie suffered deeply when Sammy died in 1990, followed the next year by their daughter, Marcie. Her sons gave her much joy and she was proud of their accomplishments. Jack is a recently retired professor emeritus of mathematics at Guelph University, and Earl is managing director for Panoram Italia, an arts and culture publication for the Italian community. Both sons are also dedicated musicians: Jack plays piano and guitar, Earl plays jazz guitar.
When Floie suffered a small stroke in June, 2012, Earl and his wife, Randi, took her into their home and cared for her. After another stroke, followed by surgery in April, 2013, she lost her limited mobility and could no longer manage stairs.
Earl moved her to a retirement home where he visited her daily to check on her care and her spirits. He provided her with the music she loved, bookcases filled with her favourite books, comfy bedding, plants and treats. There, Floie, still the gracious hostess, was able to entertain friends and family without leaving the armchair to which she was confined.
Floie succumbed to the complications of aortic valve replacement surgery, combined with pneumonia and VRE, a virulent flu bug.
Our little circle of close friends began as 12-year-olds, developed through high school and our working and dating years, and held strong into our marriages and the years of raising children. We enjoyed many happy celebrations and supported each other through the painful loss of loved ones. To her friends and family, Floie was an anchor of love. Perhaps she is with her cherished Sammy and Marcie now, smiling at us.
Lili Dicker is Floie's friend.