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Distinguished social work educator, community leader Sheila Goldbloom dies at 96

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WATCH: Montreal social work educator and longtime community leader, Sheila Goldbloom has died. Known for her various contributions to Quebec education, health and social services, the 96-year-old passed away at home on Sunday. As Global's Felicia Parrillo reports, she will be remembered for her countless achievements and contributions to Quebec. – Jul 5, 2022

Those who knew her called her a force of nature.

Sheila Goldbloom was born and raised in New York. She met her husband, pediatrician turned politician, Victor Goldbloom, and moved to Montreal with him 74 years ago.

After giving birth to three children, she decided to go back to school to pursue a master’s degree in social work at McGill.

READ MORE: Former Quebec cabinet minister, community leader Victor Goldbloom passes away at 92

She went on to teach in that field and served as mentor to countless students and staff members over three decades.

After retiring from McGill, she would become involved in developing organizations such as Meals on Wheels and the YMCA foundation and provided leadership to others like the Queen Elizabeth Health Complex.

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“When I went to visit her a few months ago, she was already not well, but she still asked how are things going at the Queen E, and how’s the foundation going,” said Miriam Green, board vice-president of the Queen Elizabeth. “So at the radiology, imaging department, we made a decision a few years ago, that we would name it for Sheila and Victor Goldbloom.”

READ MORE: Quebec community leader Dr. Victor Goldbloom releases memoir ‘Building Bridges’

At 82 years old, Goldbloom co-chaired a commission for the provincial government on the needs of Quebec’s growing elderly population.

And at 94, she wrote her first book entitled Opening Doors, which details her life and her commitment to seniors, different cultural communities, women and more.

“She used her personal power, because she had power, but quiet power, to help others connect with others,” said Sylvia Martin-Laforge, executive director of the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN).

“She was the connector.”

READ MORE: Goldbloom Awards: Miriam Green determined to fight for Montreal’s English community

Her many contributions over the years earned her appointments to the Order of Canada and the National Order of Quebec.

Among her many accomplishments, Goldbloom played a key role in bringing the English community into Centraide and in the creation of the Foundation du Grand Montreal.

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She and her husband always strove for both the French and English speaking communities to work together, telling Global News back in 2016 that both can live together in harmony.

“I think that we have to benefit from the strengths that each one has rather than looking at the negatives,” said Goldboom.

And so it was no surprise to many that, at nearly 96 years old, she still wanted to be part of advocacy and change, attending May’s rally against the adoption of Bill 96.

Sheila Goldbloom at a Bill 96 rally in Montreal on May 26, 2022. Jonathan Goldbloom

Her son, Jonathan Goldbloom, says his mother was a strong woman, who was a role model to him and his siblings, but was first and foremost, mom.

“Both of my children are adopted and I can remember her saying to me that the nicest thing about love is that it expands, and it can grow,” he said. “And that was her philosophy about life. That she welcomed everyone into her heart.”

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Goldbloom leaves behind three children, four grandchildren, two great grandchildren and her sister.

Her husband died in 2016.

A funeral service will be held on Friday.

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