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Orma Sozansky

Image by Nick Andréka


(née IRVINE)

April 3, 1931 – March 27, 2024

Orma died after sustaining a head injury one week short of her 93rd birthday.  She was ready to go and reminded us of this often.  

Orma was predeceased by her husband Eric, siblings Edna Stewart and Russell Irvine as well as dogs Trig, Rover, and Binks.  She is survived by her daughters, Peggy (Tom Arbek d. 2010,) Deidre (Malcolm Crooks), Adrien, and Norma.  Granny will always be loved and remembered by her grandchildren Eric and Sheilagh Crooks.  Orma is also survived by her brother Stuart Irvine and many nieces, nephews, and their families.

Mom was born on the Irvine family farm in Mill Creek, Manitoba to Richmond and Elsie Irvine.  She attended the Mill Creek one room country school and then Oakville High School.  Orma received her teaching credentials from the Manitoba Normal School in Winnipeg.  She taught early grades in Lakelet, Clanwilliam, Dominion City and Camp Shilo where she made many life-long friendships.  Orma met Eric while both were teaching in Dominion City.  They married August 22, 1955 and settled in Winnipeg.  Eric died June 4, 1985, leaving Orma a widow for 39 years.

In the early 1960’s, Mom and Dad moved from their starter home on Winterton Avenue to a home they built on Moray Street in St. James.  To qualify for purchasing the building lot you had to reside in St. James.  It took some determination but Orma convinced the City to sell them a lot since Eric was teaching at St. James Collegiate.

As a child of the great depression, Mom was forever frugal, an excellent seamstress, maintenance woman, and reuser/recycler.  She considered herself a rotten cook but this could be disputed especially when it came to baking – pies, squares and cookies were her domain.  In her later years she was happy to wear hand me ups from her daughters.

Mom was a fitness buff and she had us doing the military 5BX program when we came home from school.  She swam at the St. James YMCA and Centennial Pool and for many years was a member of the St. James Elderobics group where she kept fit and enjoyed many friendships.

Orma was prairie farm girl who had a passion for the Canadian Rockies.  Annual summer camping trips were highlighted by hiking, hot springs, picnic lunches, campfires and hopefully bears.  She loved the mountains but as her daughters started working summer jobs, they bought a cottage at Royal Lake.  They spent many happy summers there enjoying lake life and all the projects that go along with that.

Mom was the family photographer – slides were her medium of choice but she did progress to digital.  She took evening courses and used her new skills in photographing old documents for her family tree.  Mom also became proficient on her computer and enjoyed emailing, making comments on Facebook, and forwarding jokes.

Orma always kept busy.  She always enjoyed babysitting Eric and Sheilagh.  She took a home electrical course and fixed small appliances often lamenting how parts weren’t available and everything now is just built to throw away.    She enjoyed puzzles, reading and re-reading books and veterinarian shows on TV.  Orma volunteered for many years with the Manitoba Genealogical Society.

Orma was well versed on many subjects and used to say she got her degree listening to the CBC.  Mom loved to read; a passion started early in her marriage when dad would bring books home from his school library.  

She enjoyed and read everything by Peter C. Newman, particularly his passage referencing prairie homesteaders, “that a hard day’s work well done was the only path to salvation”.  She thought this described her parents but in fact it described her.

Orma was a member of the NDP.  She attended many provincial councils and worked on several election campaigns.  She was a hard-working volunteer and enjoyed the issues and debates.  She had many friends in the NDP and was very fond of Jim Rondeau, his partner Dennis Tam and their dog Daisy. They continued to include mom in there lives long after Jim left politics and mom certainly appreciated that.

With two daughters and a brother in Southern Ontario, Mom visited often and always brought her work clothes to help with chores so she could earn her keep.  Mom also travelled to Alaska, China, Cuba, the United Kingdom an did a river cruise from Budapest to Prague.  She camped along the Pacific Coast Highway in California and along the eastern seaboard visiting the New England states and Nova Scotia.  The camping trips were all with Adrien and mom often praised her map reading ability when recounting their trips.

The house at 800 School Road was her home for over 40 years.  Its southwest exposure helped to produce bountiful tomatoes and the large driveway and proximity to the traffic on Ness Avenue made it a prime location for her many garage sales.  Mom would organize, clean and price all the goods and had great fun negotiating with the customers.  Mom had wonderful neighbours throughout the years.

In early 2016, Mom broke her ankle while inspecting bridge construction near her house.  She required surgery and was house bound for several months.  

Norma stepped up as mom’s main helper, attending appointments to make sure mom heard what the doctor told her she couldn’t do.  As mom’s main companion she had the privilege of hearing the details of mom’s personal history, particularly the early years. 

In August 2022, at age 91, Mom moved into the Metropolitan Kiwanis Courts.  She was very pleased with the move and loved the meals, exercise classes and meeting the other residents. Her only complaint was the outdoor parking.  She drove until September 2023 when she “loaned” her car to Sheilagh for school.

Cremation has taken place and at Orma’s request, there will be no service. 

If so desired, please consider donating to one of the organizations she supported such as the Winnipeg Humane Society or the David Suzuki Foundation or an organization of your choosing.

Orma’s family kindly requests that all of her friends and relatives take a few minutes to honour her memory by watching the photo-biography above. Please, also consider sharing your own photos, memories, and stories by making use of the comment section on this page.


Cremation & Life Celebrations

530 St. Mary Avenue - Winnipeg

204-421-5501 -

Memories, Stories and Condolences


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Lucille Elvins

May 17, 2024 at 2:26 PM

What a wonderful Tribute! I did not know your mom well, although she was my mom's first cousin.


I did meet her at her brother, Stuart's home in Etobicoke a d Streetville on occasion when she came to visit. Stuart and family "took me under wing many years ago as I had no family relatives in Ontario. I had the honor of being called "Aunt Lucille: which was very special to me.


God Bless.

Mary Ann Eddy

May 10, 2024 at 5:03 PM

What a beautiful tribute to an incredible woman!  I wish I had gotten to spend more time with her when she visited Brampton!

Sending hugs to the family and many friends that knew and loved her!

Heather and Maurizio Greco

May 10, 2024 at 4:51 PM

An amazing tribute to our wonderful Auntie Orma.  She will be missed by so many, but we find comfort in knowing that she is finally reunited with Uncle Eric and all those who have gone before her.  Loved seeing all the family pictures in the tribute video.  She truly was the epitomy of a strong prairie farm girl!  May she rest in peace.

Mary Ann Eddy

May 10, 2024 at 4:50 PM

What a beautiful tribute to an incredible woman!  I wish I had gotten to spend more time with her when she visited Brampton!

Sending hugs to the family and many friends that knew and loved her!

Irvine-Medwechuk & Christopher Medwechuk

May 10, 2024 at 4:50 PM

Beautifully written testament to a life well lived. Auntie Orma will be missed by us all. We trust that she is happily reunited now with those family members who went on before her. The slide show is a fantastic tribute to her life through the years. May she Rest in Peace.

Heather and Maurizio Greco

May 10, 2024 at 3:42 PM

An amazing tribute to our wonderful Auntie Orma.  She will be missed by so many, but we find comfort in knowing that she is finally reunited with Uncle Eric and all those who have gone before her.  Loved seeing all the family pictures in the tribute video.  She truly was the epitomy of a strong prairie farm girl!  May she rest in peace.

Stu Irvine

May 10, 2024 at 3:40 PM

A remarkable full life spent doing things for others! Rest in Peace, dear sister. 

Joyce Elias (who also has Irvine relatives)

May 10, 2024 at 3:05 PM

Orma was such a lovely lady. We at MGS knew her as such. She  did many "jobs" there, always helping to keep it tidy and clean. She was always smiling and cheerful and we shall, and do, miss her for that.

Lori Lobchuk

May 10, 2024 at 2:54 PM

What a lovely tribute to her life. She was a smart, witty, kind, and active woman and will be missed by many.

Beverley Collins

May 10, 2024 at 2:48 PM

My husband and I met Orma when we bought our cottage three doors away.  We enjoyed meeting her Chihuahua and later her Jack Russell, Binx, who often came to play with our dogs.  I remember Royal Lake's first corn roast at the sandpit where Binx was having such fun and playing hard to catch.  We missed Mrs. Sozansky when she sold the cottage.  I will always remember her kindness and friendly chats.  I send caring thoughts and heartfelt condolences to her family. 


May 10, 2024 at 2:23 PM

John and I have enjoyed meeting Orma on several occasions. We enjoyed sharing adventures on a river cruise on the Danube with visits to Budapest and Prague in 2007. She was a wonderful traveler, always interested in the history and culture. Cherish the wonderful memories you have of her.

Alison Irvine

May 9, 2024 at 9:24 PM

Auntie Orma lived a full and wonderful life.  This video and write up is an excellent demonstration of her embracing each new adventure with wit, care and compassion!  My hope is that she finally is at rest.  Sending much love to her family and friends at this time.

Maureen Porter

May 9, 2024 at 9:10 PM

I first met Orma, in the early 1950's, when she joined the teaching staff at Shilo. Our friendship lasted over sixty years and I am very sad to lose her. I am also a prairie girl and after my marriage Don and I spent time now and again back in the West,

where I could meet my friends.

In 2022 my son, Terry, took me on a trip westward. I had a very happy visit with Orma, while we enjoyed tea and a chat in her dining room. I knew it was a special time with a special lady and it was wonderful to be together once again. I think of her fondly and the happy times we had together. What a beautiful write-up from you girls. She was always so proud of you all.

Love and Sympathy to the girls and the Grandchildren,

Betty Bretescher(Morrison)

May 9, 2024 at 8:37 PM

Very sorry to hear about the passing of Orma!

We actually never met in person. We corresponded about our Family History of the Irvines and Houston’s.

Only today, I found some letters we had written, before I saw she had passed.

She told me, we would have to meet before we got too old 🥰

Tom and Bev Paulley

May 9, 2024 at 8:36 PM

A beautiful tribute to Orma. I remember all the NDP meetings we had in her house on School Road. She was welcoming to all. Orma will be missed by all who knew her.

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