1952 - 2014
In Toronto, Ontario, on July 31, 2014. Elisse died peacefully at Bridgepoint Hospital after a prolonged illness. Her final months were a demonstration of courage and grace. Daughter of Lillian and the late Manuel Zack, sister to Deborah Zack-Wilner and Martin Zack, their spouses Asher and Pamela, and their children Joshua, Daniel and Benjamin Wilner and Rachel Zack; niece to Gordon (Sheila) Zack; Irving (Sadie) Levy; Hy (Bea) Zack; Harry (Betty) Joseph; cousin to Marsha (Eric) Slavens, Richard (Sandra) Levy and Ira (Susan ); Ron (Gayle) Zack; Carolin (Jerry) Michaels; Marla (Hal) and Larry (Janis) Zack; cherished friend of Ross McKean, Mark Merryfield, Ann Irwin, Carol Wiggin, Kelly O'Brien and Steve Tattle. Elisse devoted her life to community service. She earned a BA from Queen's, M.Ed. from OISE (Adult Education) and M.Management (Not-for- Profit Sector) from McGill. She began her career as coordinator of a program in Northern Toronto to help immigrant women integrate into Canadian society. She organized a provincial literacy coalition that provided language training to adults without access. In the 1990s she began her work in the field of HIV and AIDS advocacy and community organization. As HIV and AIDS medications became available, Elisse turned her attention to addressing the opportunistic diseases that prevented full recovery. While working with the Canadian AIDS Society, where she helped develop services for those afflicted with episodic bouts of disability, she focused on management of tuberculosis in infected patients. In 1998, she founded what later grew into the Canadian Working Group on HIV and AIDS Rehabilitation (CWGHR), where she served as Executive Director until the end of 2013. The CWGHR was instrumental in coordinating efforts across Canada and internationally for education and implementation of initiatives addressing the challenges faced by those living with HIV and AIDS. Elisse personified the spirit of "Caritas"- altruistic love, which has been described as "the most excellent of the virtues." We thank the nurses and doctors at Bridgepoint Active Healthcare for their tireless assistance, support and kindness. Private Shiva get together will take place in Montreal on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, August 5, 6 and 7 from 7:30 p.m.
Published in The Gazette from Aug. 4 to Aug. 6, 2014