NORMAN REISMAN October 24, 1948 - January 10, 2021 Son. Husband. Father. Brother. Uncle. Friend. Builder. Bringer of Laughter. With great sadness, the family of Norman Reisman announces that he died peacefully on January 10th, 2021, as he wished, with his wife by his side. Cherished son of Ruth and the late George Reisman, loving and devoted husband to Michelle (née Netkin), proud father of Alessandra and Gregory, dedicated brother to Elly and Dragana, Sam and Rose, Dolly and Mo, Hannah, Larry and Marielba. Caring son-in-law of Brenda and the late Barry Netkin, brother-in-law of Brad and Jen, and Lisa. Doting uncle to Elissa, Josh, Faryl, Natalie, David, Laura, Adam, Jesse, Gabe, Maya, Jordan, Jack and Isabel. To these, and to a vast community of friends and colleagues, he showed the rich possibilities of life. He didn't tell people how to live … he just lived and invited us all to join. Norman was the first of six children. First-born, first among equals. As the first of his Bubbi Reisman's grandchildren, Norman was her undisputed favourite. Her desire to make him comfortable knew no bounds as she happily butchered the favourite silk pyjamas of her adult son, Al, chopping them off at the knees to fit young Norman so that he could sleep like a prince. Little did she know that she seeded a life-long enjoyment of fine clothes. The House of Armani gives its thanks to Bubbi. In his teenage years, he considered a career as a professional skier at Kitzbühel, Austria, but after his first and only run he decided instead to try his hand at being a professional Jacuzzi-tester. With business skills not yet honed, he managed to blow the food budget for the entire group on a single dinner date, kindling a passion for culinary excellence. The Three-Star House of Michelin gives its thanks. Norman began his career as a builder doing summer jobs for his father, and teamed up in the 1970s with his brother Elly to build homes. From their first project, a modest single-family housing project in Waterloo, Ontario, "the Boys" grew their company and expanded it across Canada and into the United States. Their vision grew skyward as they transformed the urban landscape with high-rise towers: condominiums and office buildings. Norman's eye and taste for the beautiful...women, clothes, art, food...gave their company a commitment to architectural distinction that won many awards. No buildings cut from the same pattern; never a short-list of swappable floor plans. With his business grown into a fully integrated group of residential, commercial and industrial developers and builders, Norman could have dined out on stories of business success. But the stories he most loved to tell were of his family, of the life he shared with Michelle and how she and his children enriched his life. He took great pride in Gregory and Alessandra, admired the adults they've become and spoke often of the joy and honour in having had a hand in raising them. With Michelle, they laughed and lived as loving partners, as travelling companions, and as gracious and generous hosts. No occasion was too minor for celebration, no accomplishment too small to keep the champagne corked. Norman's humour also flowed and bubbled into the world. Full magnum. He would lead with a twinkle in his eye or a sly conspiratorial smile, and follow with sledgehammer-blunt corniness or with scalpel-sharp wit. There was always another joke, just around the corner, waiting to be told. And no-one loved them more than Norman, who laughed till he cried with each retelling. In the last months of his life, as he fought his disease, Norman's humour exploded with his love as he tended to others by using his wisecracks and witticisms to keep sadness at bay. At one point, his end in sight, he found himself talking with others about their plans for travel and relocations: people deciding to head South, or to relocate to a warm island. "Hey," he quipped, "I'm just going a little further." In the end, he didn't lose to cancer; he won with love. Forever in our hearts, thoughts, and memories. Norman. In lieu of flowers please donate to: Dr. Benjamin Goldstein, The Centre for Youth Bipolar Disorder at CAMH, or to The Temmy Latner Centre for Palliative Care.
Published in The Globe and Mail from Jan. 11 to Jan. 15, 2021.