Germaine Gibara R.I.P.

Written by  //  April 24, 2010  //  Absent Friends  //  No comments

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Germaine Gibara on April 21, 2010.

 A successful and respected leader in business and management, Germaine sat on the board of directors of numerous companies and institutions: Sun Life Financial, Technip, Agrium, Cogeco Cable, St Lawrence Cement, and the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board.

Previously, she was a director on the boards of Videotron, Ault Foods, Clarica Life Insurance, Pechiney Group, as well as the Economic Council of Canada; non-profit organizations included Dr. Clown and the Theatre du Nouveau Monde. She was also an active member of the International Women’s Forum.

Germaine was born in Egypt and moved to Canada in 1966. She obtained a BA in Political Science (Honours) at the American University of Cairo followed by a MA in Political Science/Economics at Dalhousie University in Halifax. Academic achievements included a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification and the Program for Management Development (PMD) at the Harvard Business School. As well, she lectured at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and in the MBA program at McGill University. Having developed an expertise in strategic planning and management of technology, her clients included large and prestigious corporations in North America and Europe. A memorable accomplishment, very early in her career, was her contribution to the introduction of aluminum in car frames and structures through cooperative programs that involved several major automotive companies.

Germaine was a person of multifaceted talents and interests and had a lively and authentic curiosity. She looked forward to going on a fishing expedition in Labrador, and “roughing it in the bush”, with the same enthusiasm as she did traveling with friends on sophisticated and comfortable tours of Tuscany, Venice and Capri. She dove into her activities with vigour displaying an intense yearning for understanding and experiencing other cultures. Germaine was an attentive and respectful listener and a deeply thoughtful participant in friendly but serious debates. When challenged by new ideas and perspectives, whether on life and its meaning, or politics and contentious social issues, she welcomed alternative viewpoints. She advocated for disenfranchised and oppressed communities, and was a loyal and indefatigable supporter of her family and friends.

Germaine had an ever-abiding interest in cultural pursuits: an aficionado of opera, a participant at Master Classes, a patron of modern dance and theatre, and a lover of innovative multi-cultural expressions of the arts. She spoke four languages fluently: Arabic, French, Italian and English. She was an avid sportsperson, playing tennis, swimming, cross-country skiing, doing high-impact yoga and spinning classes. If the bicycle path on the island of Montreal had issued loyalty points for miles travelled, Germaine would surely have earned millions and would undoubtedly have attained super-elite status. With the exception of the beloved dogs, notably Capucine who entered her life at a critically important time, few could keep up with her in the inevitable “leisurely walks” at the cottages near Lachute and on Lac Mephremagog.

An innovative cook, Germaine was an exceptional hostess. Unabashedly she rescued the meals of several friends on memorable occasions, and if truth be told, even those of her long-standing partner, Tullio. She cultivated friendships and was especially fond of the community of friends she nurtured at her Montreal home in the architectural marvel that is Habitat 67. She had an exceptional sense of style and social graces and would want us to remember her as she lived – a beautiful woman, full of life and laughter, an active, fully engaged and energetic doer.

Germaine leaves behind her loving mother Odette Turcomani Gibara, her sister Marlene Gibara Moreau (Jacques Moreau), her brother Roger Gibara, two nieces Carine Moreau Senneville (Guillaume Senneville, Mathieu, Emilie) and Catia Moreau, her cousins Nelly Candala Thomas and Nadia Candala Ashburner, and other relatives. She also leaves a godchild Tamar Tembeck, a legion of friends, and her partner, friend, and admirer Tullio Cedraschi.

The family wishes to thank the staff of the Palliative Care Unit at the Jewish General hospital for their tender and compassionate care. In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made in support of “Dr. Clown”, 2223 rue Coleraine, Montreal, Quebec, H3K 1S2. (www.drclown.ca ) Dr. Clown is an organization of therapeutic clowns working with hospitalized patients and with residents of extended care facilities. Its mission was particularly dear to Germaine who co-founded this marvelous organization that is now present throughout Canada.

A private funeral has already taken place. A celebration of Germaine’s life will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 15, 2010 at La Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours, 400, rue Saint-Paul Est in Old Montreal. A reception will follow.

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