Blema (Guterman) Mazin z”l (May Her Memory Be a Blessing) passed away on January 21, 2020 in Toronto, Canada.
Beloved Mother of Larry Guterman, daughter of the late Bessie and Moe Gitnick, sister of the late Marilyn Severs and Leatrice Lazarus, wife of the late Herman Ezra Guterman and wife of Monty Mazin for 44 years, Blema was born in Montreal Canada Sept. 30, 1929.
An accomplished pianist by the age of 6, she performed at age 8 in the prestigious competition for 8- to 11-year olds in front of an audience of one thousand people at Tudor Hall at the Ogilvy’s department store in Montreal, and won.
As a result she was accepted to the venerable Juilliard school of music in New York, but her family unfortunately could not afford to send her.
In high school she performed in the Montreal Children’s Theater, alongside such future luminaries as William Shatner of Captain Kirk fame.
She started one of the first Multiple Sclerosis societies in Canada while a teen, and then was accepted to McGill University, the premiere university in Canada at the time, but again could not attend due to family financial hardship.
She worked at Sun Life company and at 31 married Herman Guterman, son of Rabbi Henry Guterman, former Chief Rabbi of Scranton, PA. During the time period of their marriage, Herman rose to become Associate Chief Statistician of the IRS in Washington DC, winning recognition for developing the agency’s first computerized statistical methods system. He succumbed to cancer in 1967, and Blema was left to raise 3 1/2 year old Larry alone.
Blema moved to Montreal where she worked as a bookkeeper and raised her son, insisting on sending him to the NDG Talmud Torah to get a Jewish education.
She met Monty in 1973 and they were wed 2 years later in Calgary, where Monty was director of fundraising for Western Canada for Israel Bonds. Blema worked with him in the office, and when the family moved to Toronto in 1976, she worked with him in the Hamilton office of Israel Bonds.
Soon thereafter, Blema worked with Monty on the major fundraise to build the Leslie Street branch of the Associated Hebrew Schools, helping him in his endeavor to raise $6 million towards that effort. She also did six years of volunteer work at the United Jewish Appeal, and 5 years of volunteer work with B’nai Brith Canada.
When Blema and Monty moved to the 2 Neptune assisted living facility, they both volunteered on committees to make life for seniors enjoyable. Blema was engaged in the hospitality committee, welcoming new people who moved in, as well as visiting the sick and consoling residents with get well cards, etc.
She leaves behind her husband Monty, her son Larry and daughter-in-law Sara and grandchildren Hannah, Max and Gabrielle, of Los Angeles, California. She also leaves behind nephew Lorne Severs and nephew Aaron Severs and his wife Sue, Barry Lazarus and his wife Cindy, as well as niece Linda Aber and husband Steve, and cousin Elka and her husband Brian and their children.
On Herman’s side she leaves behind her nieces Lori Schwab and husband Bill and son Garrett, and Amy Schwab, as well as her cousin Lillian Sommer and her cousins twice removed Dan Sommer and wife Cari and their children, Sarah Lipman and husband Robert and their children, and Rachel Nadel and husband Avi and their children. In addition, Blema leaves behind cousins twice removed Jennifer Reich (Barnett) and husband Simcha Reich and children, as well as Dr. Mark Barnett and wife Dr. Lisa Barnett (Nuchtern) and daughter Nomi.
Also on Herman’s side are niece Karen Shoff and her husband Allen, and their son Rabbi Elchanan Shoff and his wife Sarah and their children.
She also leaves behind her sister-in-law Gwenn White and her husband Jack and children, as well as her brother in law Joe Mazin and his wife Marion and children. Additionally she leaves behind Stephen Levy-Mazin, her husband Monty’s son from a previous marriage.
Memorial donations may be made to the Alzheimers Society Ontario 416-967-5900, and to the Israel Conservatory of Music “Music Studies for Children at Risk” program ( http://www.icm.org.il/en/tuned/ ) Please go to this to contact the Conservatory http://www.icm.org.il/en/contact/ or email to firstname.lastname@example.org