Remembering Marie Zorniak

Known for her enthusiasm and tireless devotion to the history community, Marie Zorniak leaves a void that can only be filled by the countless volunteers and friends that she recruited over the years.

Written by Canada’s History

Posted June 26, 2018

Marie Zorniak, longtime friend and ally of Canada’s History Society, passed away unexpectedly yesterday, leaving all who knew her to mourn her loss.

In addition to teaching at St. John’s High School in Winnipeg, Ms. Zorniak was an avid historical re-enactor as well as enthusiastically and tirelessly working for a number of organizations, including the Red River Heritage Fair, the Manitoba Living History Society, and the Manitoba Social Sciences Teachers Association.

“It’s hard to describe the profound sadness I’m feeling this week at the loss of one of my best history friends,” explained Joel Ralph, Director of Programs at Canada’s History Society.

If you knew Marie Zorniak you then you know what a tremendous person she was and the impact she had on the history community in Winnipeg. She was a tireless builder and history champion. She was always welcoming and bringing more people into the history world.

“I first met Marie at the Red River Heritage Fair and like many others was quickly invited to join the organizing committee.” continued Ralph. “We worked together in both work and volunteer roles and she was my guide into the world of history teachers and teaching.”

“My favorite activity was touring Marie’s classroom where she would take me around to see her student’s work. At the Heritage Fair each year she would always bring me over to meet her students. She was always most excited for her students that found something special in history and their own past — that little spark that she always, I think, thought could lead them to something greater.”

Ms. Zorniak was a great teacher, mentor, collaborator, and co-conspirator. There was never any project that she wasn’t ready to take on (such as camp cook during the War of 1812 — you can watch her in action). Her energy and support was the kind that made great work possible. Her absence leaves a great void in the community that will only be filled by the countless volunteers and friends that she recruited over the years.

She wore her history heart on the sleeves of her never-ending number of historic costumes, which is how she will likely be remembered by many.

You can read Ms. Zorniak’s obituary in the Winnipeg Free Press. Donations are being accepted by Canada’s History Society on Marie’s behalf. Please contact Pat Gerow by email, or phone at 204.988.9300, x.220, to make arrangements (toll-free number is 1.866.952.3444, x.220).

Marie Zorniak was the focus of an episode in our War of 1812 Video Field Guide series. As the camp cook, she explains her challenges in "Food in the War of 1812."

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