September 8, 1924 - April 9, 2019
1924 – 2019
On Friday April 5, 2019, Berenice Barbara Sisler (nee Warne) at the end of a full life of exceptional contribution. She was predeceased by her husband George and daughter-in-law Deanna. Survived by her daughter Lesley (Lewis St. George Stubbs); son John and grandchildren Aiden, Warne and Kieran.
Born in Winnipeg in 1924, Berenice was awarded the Governor-General’s Medal upon graduation from East Kildonan Collegiate. In 1945 she graduated with a BA from United College where she held the office of Lady Stick. Berenice earned a Diploma in Education from the University of Manitoba in 1946 and the following year taught mathematics at Dauphin Collegiate. Apart from two years spent in Louisville, Kentucky for George’s residency in psychiatry, and a sabbatical year in Lausanne, Switzerland, Berenice lived in Winnipeg.
Berenice was known locally and nationally as a feminist, volunteer and social activist. Her extensive volunteer community work included service to the Resident Advisory group of Assiniboine Park, Westminster Church, the Liberal Party and the University of Winnipeg where she served as President of the Alumni Association and the alumni representative to the Board of Regents. In 1970 she received the Alumni 25th Anniversary Award; in 1990 an honorary degree. Her association with he YWCA was lengthy, her contributions recognized by life membership in the organization and a Woman of the Year Award (Public Affairs) in 1989.
Nationally Berenice served on the board of YWCA of Canada (1973–1977) and on the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women (1980-1984). During this appointment she wrote the CACSW presentation to the Parliamentary Task Force on Pension Reform.
In the 1970’s Berenice was a driving force in the work of women’s groups to reform family law legislation in Manitoba. She documented these efforts in her book A Partnership of Equals: The Struggle for the Reform of Family Law in Manitoba published when she was 71. After working with the YWCA, the Manitoba Action Committee on the Status of Women, and the Coalition on Family Law, she joined the Charter of Rights Coalition (Manitoba) to further lobby on behalf of women’s equality.
In recognition of her work to advance gender equality she was awarded Manitoba’s Order of the Buffalo Hunt in 1985; in 1986 the Governor General’s Commemoration of Persons Award. At the Spirit of Leadership event (2008) she was recognized along with four other extraordinary Manitoba women for her legacy of vision and action.
Berenice will be remembered as a loving mother and grandmother, an inveterate writer of letters to the editor, and a leader in the fight for reforms in family law legislation and pensions.
Her family would like to thank the staff at the Charleswood Care Centre for their kind and compassionate care.
A memorial service to celebrate Berenice’s life will be held on Monday, April 22, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. in Westworth United Church, 1750 Grosvenor Avenue.
No flowers please. It was Berenice’s wish that donations in her memory be sent to the University of Winnipeg Foundation, 901–491 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 2E4 or to the Westworth Fund, Westworth United Church, 1750 Grosvenor Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3N 0H9.
Condolences may be sent to www.wojciksfuneralchapel.com