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Brian Testar

Image by Nick Andréka


1948 – 2024

Brian George Testar passed away at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg on Tuesday, March 19, 2024 at the age of 75. 

Brian is survived by his wife Nancy; son John of Toronto; daughter Jane of Winnipeg; granddaughter Esme Testar of Toronto; and brother-in-law David Ablett of Winnipeg. 

Brian was born in Winnipeg on April 7, 1948, the only child of George and Marguerite Testar. After living in St. Vital for several years, the family moved to St. James where Brian attended Strathmillan School, Golden Gate Junior High, and Silver Heights Collegiate. He received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Manitoba in 1971. He furthered his education in the Masters of Social Work Program, as well as receiving a Certificate in Public Sector Management in 1990.

Brian worked for thirty-three years in Corrections with the Province of Manitoba at the Manitoba Youth Centre, Probation Services, and the Assiniboine Treatment Centre at the Headingley Correctional Centre as a social worker.

Brian married Nancy Ablett in May of 1975 and they had two children, John Andrew and Jane Elizabeth. 

Brian enjoyed cross country skiing, hiking, camping and cycling with family and friends over the years and travelling with Nancy and special friends. He was active in Toastmasters for many years. An important part of Brian’s life was being part of the community of The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

Diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) in 2012, Brian undertook to remain active and involved. He participated in the Rock Steady Boxing Program, The Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s ExplorAbility for Parkinson’s and U-Turn Parkinson’s, a non-profit providing exercise and wellness programs for people living with Parkinson’s Disease. Brian and Nancy benefitted immeasurably from involvement within the PD community both with fellow participants and program organizers.

A gathering to remember Brian will take place at 2:00 P.M. on Monday, April 8, 2024 at 603 Wellington Crescent (Unitarian Church) at Academy.

In remembrance of Brian, the family asks that any charitable donations be made to U-Turn Parkinson’s, PO Box 23036, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 5S3.

Brian's family kindly requests that all of his friends and relatives take a few minutes to honour his memory by sharing photos, memories, and stories, using 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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May 10, 2024 at 4:38 PM

Dear Nancy and Family: I would like to share my condolences on Brian's passing. I met Brian at Rock Steady Boxing and he was always such a positive influence for us all. He will be missed.


May 10, 2024 at 4:30 PM

Upon opening my email from U-Turn Parkinson, I was deeply saddened to learn of Brian's passing. The news came as a shock, and it's truly unbelievable to comprehend the loss of such a kind-hearted individual.

I had the privilege of knowing Brian during my time coaching at the Serratus Movement location. His warmth and gentleness left a lasting impression on everyone he encountered. He embodied the essence of a true gentleman, always extending kindness and consideration to those around him.

Please accept my sincerest condolences and know that my thoughts are with Brian's family during this difficult time. May they find solace in the cherished memories they shared with him.


May 10, 2024 at 4:26 PM

Brian was a warm friend and Friend. He always impressed me with his mellow gentleness, which must have been a great asset to his career working with a challenging population. He struck me always as a consummate gentleman--something that is very rare these days. He will be missed!

Jennifer Dueck

May 10, 2024 at 4:26 PM

Brian was a very warm and caring man (I remember especially that he brought me a frozen lasagna on behalf of the Winnipeg Quakers just after the birth of my son). My sympathies are with you all right now.

Heitha Forsyth

May 10, 2024 at 4:26 PM

Dearest Nancy and Family,

I will always remember and cherish the opportunity I had to get to know Brian through his participation at U-Turn PD. I appreciated and looked forward to his humour and effort in our U-Tunes classes.

Sending my love and condolences to you all.

Glenn Morison

May 10, 2024 at 4:24 PM

I remember Brian describing a bridge half way to work where in the morning it would be where he would stop worrying about his family and started worrying about the men he worked with.  And on the way home, as he crossed the same bridge, he reversed the process.  To say Brian was caring is not just a description.  His caring was beautifully placed in his very core.

My heart goes out to you in your loss and grief.


May 10, 2024 at 4:20 PM

Nancy so sorry to hear of Brian's passing enjoyed our time with u turn you always were so positive take care

Rick Hall

May 10, 2024 at 4:18 PM

I am saddened to hear of Brians passing.  I first met Brian back in the 80s while working at the Manitoba Youth Centre.  He was a very interesting knowledgeable fellow with a sense of humor that I appreciated.  He always told you what his thoughts were and provided direction even when you thought you did not need it.  I learnt a lot from this man early in my career and ended up following him to Headingley, working with him delivering program at ATC.  We spent many hours together traveling to Dauphin, delivering group program, training staff and laughing about what we had experienced doing the work we did.  I give my deepest condolences to the family.  Brian you will be missed but thought of often.

Genevieve Michael & Andrew Guzzi

May 10, 2024 at 3:58 PM

Absolutely gutted to hear of Brian's passing.  A strong and kind man in every sense of the word.  A true warrior and an individual who lit up the room with his smiling eyes.  Journey well Brian.  You are loved and missed.

Jim and Elaine

May 10, 2024 at 3:51 PM

One of many memorable meals shared with Brian and Nancy. This at the Chateau Lake Louise 


May 10, 2024 at 3:12 PM

My deepest sympathies to  Nancy and family,

I came to know  Brian (and Nancy)  through teaching the ExplorAbility for Parkinson's program at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.  He was a calm presence in our class - always there with a smile and willing to move and challenge himself in new ways, appreciated the music choices, and was willing share his thoughts during class and over a cup of coffee after class. I always enjoyed it when Brian would get wrapped up in the music and start his own groove to the music. Always a gentle and determined presence.

This past week our group gathered again for our Friday morning class and coffee. His absence was so very palpable throughout the class.  He is most definitely missed.

Rest in peace dear Brian.

Barb & Bill Toews

May 10, 2024 at 2:22 PM

We were so sorry to hear of Brian’s passing. He was a fine man… and  such a positive example to the rest of us in the Parkinson’s community.


May 10, 2024 at 1:53 PM

Mom and I enjoyed our 2019 Winnipeg visit. Sending love from your Pennsylvania family. ❤️


May 10, 2024 at 1:53 PM

Tim Robinson

May 10, 2024 at 1:47 PM

When I think of Brian some of the words that spring to mind are courageous, determined, soft spoken, and a classy gentleman,. No matter what kind of Parkinson day he was having; Brian always “showed up” and gave it his all whether it was at Rock Steady Boxing or at the RWB Explorability for Parkinson’s. At times Brian was prone to falls, but whenever he fell you never heard a word of complaint You’d see the determination and courage in his face as he hauled himself up to continue with the class exercise. Brian had a zest for life and an infectious smile that always brought a smile to everyone’s face in our pre-class  discussions on the topic of the day. 

The Rock Steady Boxing class gave a chant out to Brian right after we lost him:

“There was a man named Brian who stood tall in our gym,

Always had a smile,

Always gave his best,

He may be  gone,

But he will never be forgotten,

3, 2, 1 Rock steady!”

God speed you classy gentleman, you may have absented the building, but your soft smile, courage and determination will be with us forever.

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