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Zelma Fay (Sirulnikoff) Pollock

October 12, 1933 ~ November 24, 2023 (age 90) 90 Years Old

Zelma Pollock Obituary

Zelma Fay Pollock (nee Sirulnikoff)

October 12, 1933 – November 24, 2023 (age 90)

Her love was contagious. It is just one of so many things that we miss about our mother and Babba, Zelma. She lived to be 90 and touched many lives along the way.

Zelma was the youngest of four children, born to Abe and Mary Sirulnikoff in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She had many cousins and friends and a happy youth. She was married by the age of 20 and had three children early on. She loved being a mom.

From the time we were kids, she always had an open door and fridge for any friends who came over. She made sure that everyone felt welcome in her home and there was usually something freshly baked too. Zelma was good natured and undemanding. She protected us, fed us, hugged us, and gave us her attention and love.

She worked out of necessity and from the late 1970s to early 90s she was an owner/partner in a successful retail business that included the Shirt Stop, based in Toronto, where our family of five had been living since 1966. Mom worked long hours, often on her feet in the stores located in major malls. So many friends and family got hired or filled in during the busy seasons and she provided jobs for many more people too. We were pretty popular in High School thanks to our cool t-shirts courtesy of the Shirt Stop. But work wasn’t anything Zelma talked about after retirement.

She frequently escaped Canadian winters in Florida and over time travelled to Israel, England, France, Italy and about a dozen times to Stockholm to see daughter Cari, Mike and Madeleine. She was married twice, to our dad, Earl Simmons and then to Harvey Pollock, but her greatest joy was spending time with friends and family, particularly her granddaughter Madeleine. Theirs was a mutual love story.

Mom was born in Winnipeg and her heart remained there even after living in Toronto for over 35 years. Around the age of 70, she picked up and moved back to Winnipeg after a little coaxing from her good friend Maxine. There she lived a very active life, enjoying old and new friends, playing bridge, Mahjong and Scrabble, doing yoga, going to the movies, driving here and there, eating out and reading.

Zelma had three older brothers, nieces, nephews and so many cousins across Canada. Family reunions were joyful. Mom wasn’t one to take the spotlight, but she was beaming on the day we all celebrated her 80th birthday in Toronto.

She had a great sense of humour and some very amusing expressions, many of them from Yiddish, such as “I need it like a hole in the head” – usually said while reaching for a third or fourth piece of chocolate, or “After 80 the wheels start falling off.” And while they fortunately didn’t fall off for quite a few more years, she resolutely decided that it was best to leave Winnipeg for British Colombia in 2015 to be closer to her son Alan, who became her prime caregiver. Mom was pragmatic and once she made up her mind, she marched forward, even though it meant giving up the city and friends she loved. She quickly came to appreciate the calmness, milder climate, and people on the Sunshine Coast too. She was very adaptable.

Throughout her life, Zelma took such pleasure in small things: Simple gifts, dessert, a visitor, a cuddly dog, a joke, a hug – even as the vascular dementia eroded her abilities, and even though she was confined to a wheelchair in her last year, she was still able to enjoy these things. And, when she could no longer do so, she left the world in a matter of days, shutting her eyes and exiting the world as gently and unobtrusively, as she had lived in it.

Alan Sirulnikoff (Rose Clarke), Gibsons, BC; Brenda Simmons (John Crook), Toronto, Ontario; Cari Simmons (Michael Wallin), Stockholm, Sweden; Madeleine Simmons, granddaughter, Toronto, Canada

Our sincere thanks to the compassionate staff at Shorncliffe Intermediate Care Home and Christensen Village assisted living. A special thanks to Anita Couvrette and Théa.

A private Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.

If you wish to donate in Zelma’s honour, please give to the volunteers at the Sunshine Coast Hospice:

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