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Marc Serrouya

Marc Serrouya, born January 15, 1932 in Marrakech, Morocco passed away peacefully, March 15, 2024 surrounded by loved ones at Hillel Lodge in Ottawa after a long struggle with dementia. Predeceased by his wife of 65 years, Nadine Serrouya Nee Bentolila. He is survived by his three children, Daniel, Lillian (Robert), and Rob (Sylvia). He was the patriarch of a large family spread out around the world. He is further remembered lovingly by his grandchildren, Sean Thibault (Julia), Richard Thibault (Melissa) and Patricia Thibault (Lillian) as well as Carlos Serrouya and Ruby Serrouya(Rob) and four great-grandchildren, Jacob & Samuel (Sean) and Sofia & Jamie (Richard).

Growing up to a young Moroccan mother in Marrakech, as a teenager Marc moved to Paris to study at a Jewish Lycee, where he would meet his wife Nadine. They would marry in 1955 in Casablanca. Before returning to Morocco he would embark on a grand tour of Europe with a close friend that provided him with stories for a lifetime.

Marc and Nadine, along with their first son, Daniel, would immigrate to Canada in 1957, settling in Montreal. They quickly moved into a classic split-level home, where they would go on to raise two more children, Lillian and Robert.

They were entrenched in an enclave of other Moroccan Jews who were settling in Montreal during the late 1950s and 60s. They were a founding family of the West Island’s Congregation Beth Tikvah and were long-standing members of Ville Saint Laurent’s sephardic shul P├ętah Tikvah. His younger brother and mother had relocated to France, and he was able to keep a close relationship with all of his nieces and nephews.

Their Canadian life was the stuff of immigrant mythology: after arriving with $2000 in savings, working tirelessly as public school educators, raising three children in a beautiful suburban home, and retiring with a Florida condo.

A modernizing Quebec provided them with a dynamic and cosmopolitan life, celebrating with their children the Olympics and Expo67, the hallmarks of mid-century Montreal. Feeling the refuge of Canada’s multicultural embrace was a salve for the pain of discrimination Jews faced in Morocco. Here, Marc and Nadine thrived as public school educators. He served as the principal for multiple schools throughout the PSBGM, where he would have great influence on thousands of students, many of whom have fondly shared memories of him whenever we encounter them. Following his retirement from the school board he would finish his career as the secular principal at Beth Rivkah Academy For Girls.

After retiring, many of those same friends from Casablanca, who transplanted their community once before to Montreal, again found each other poolside each winter in Boca Raton. Tennis matches and dance nights at the Village Clubhouse complemented greater involvement in their local synagogues. Marc’s love for movie’s was further embraced with his weekly visits to the local movie theater .

Back in Canada, they moved from Montreal to Ottawa in 2000 to be closer to family. Here again, Marc was very involved in supporting a nascent Sephardic Jewish group alongside their membership at Congregation Machzikei Hadas.

Marc was a man who always put his family above all else and cared for them with his whole heart. His love of music always shined through, and he will be remembered for his unique ability to sing in his sleep. The piano in the living room never sat silent and our lives were filled with the music and joy that he would bring.

In his final years, Marc struggled with a dementia diagnosis that took away so much of his pleasure. We would like to thank Tom Birkhan, his caregiver for the last five years, who treated Marc with the kindness, dignity and respect one could only wish for. We would like further to thank the staff at both The Glebe Centre and Hillel Lodge for their care of Marc over the last few years. He will be sorely missed.

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