Cover photo for Joseph Warman's Obituary
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Joseph Warman

Joseph Warman

Joseph Warman: Died peacefully on April 29, 2019, in his home with his daughters. Joe was a war child, student, poet, actor, philosopher, friend, son, brother, father and grandfather

Born in Zhytomyr, Ukraine (USSR), on November 3, 1940 he survived the war with a tenacious mother, Riva (aka: Rega) who fled to Ural, deep Russia. There a young Joseph was in and out of an orphanage so Riva could work. No one, including Joe, could get enough food, always being hungry resulted in stunted growth and a stunted childhood.

He spent his first five years of life in Ural before taking a long train ride bound for Israel which was stopped in Germany. Smugglers led him and his mother to safety in Belgium; where he was reunited with his father, David.

March 1951, the family immigrated to Canada taking the ship SS Washington from Belgium to Halifax and then on to Toronto. The immigrant family flourished, building a business, Warman Products, having a second child, sister Paula, and buying a home.

Joe, having to learn English, had a lot of catching-up to do but his passion for the arts and philosophy eventually sent him to the University of Toronto. Where he graduated in 1966 with a bachelor’s degree in Arts (major in history)

Joseph had an adventure filled life, often as a vagabond exploring the world retracing his history while searching for connection. From sleeping on the beaches in Crete, to staying in rural Kubutz in Israel and the hot springs of California – Joe was a man of the world.

At a concert in California he found a connection with Lora and had two children, Margherita and Dena. Joe found purpose in being a father and settled down working for Canada Post as a letter carrier until his early retirement due to repeated hernias.

Joe spent most of his life in Toronto from a taxi driver to a letter carrier he could tell you how to get practically anywhere in the City and the best route. His last decade, living with his daughter, he became a staple in the Parkdale community where he could be found walking his granddaughter to school, visiting the community center or getting take-out.

Coming into the world during war had a lasting impression and his minimalist goal was to know “he did not do too much harm”.

Joe will be missed by his family and friends.

Joseph died peacefully in his home with his two daughters beside him, because in Canada we have the right to medical assistance in dying. This is a precious right. His passing was beautifully serene. The very end of life need not be painful, gasping or drawn out for hours, days, or weeks. Our father made a choice that was right for him and he controlled his own good death. Our father wanted to thank warriors like Sue Rodriguez and others who have championed the cause to make this choice possible. In lieu of flowers we request donations to Dying With Dignity (

) or any other right-to-die organization or a charity of your choice. Thank you.

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