It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved mother, Lisa Aristou, on May 31st, 2021. Lisa is survived by her five children: Sophia (38), Alexander (36), Philip (34), Olympia (31) and Aphrodite (31); her son in-law (Sophia’s husband), David McLean (38), and granddaughter, Matilda McLean (4), as well as extended family in Montréal, England and Israel. Lisa was predeceased by her parents, Tooley and Nancy, and sadly, recently, her husband, Peter Aristou, in September of 2020
In Montréal, Lisa will be lovingly remembered by her sister, Carol, and her children, Jonathan, David and Rebecca. In England, she will be lovingly remembered by her brother, Norman and his wife, Dalya, and their children, Elliot, Jodie and Orly.
Lisa was born in London, England on March 11th, 1949 and was the youngest of three children. At a young age, she had an interest in drama and pursued a university degree in speech and drama in London. A real cultured city girl with a hippie flair, she frequented museums and the theatre, walking through London barefoot, yet with a dream of a big family and a country life by the seaside. She was a large-hearted, brave, free spirit, full of love and the joy of life.
In her twenties, Lisa stopped in Greece while on her way to Israel. She met Peter on the small Greek island of Skiathos while she was teaching English to locals. Lisa and Peter quickly fell in love and it wasn’t long before Peter asked Lisa to be his wife. She never made it to Israel in the end. Lisa often reminisced of her romance on the Greek isles.
In 1976, Lisa and Peter travelled to Canada. They first settled in Montréal near Lisa’s sister, Carol, and her family. They sought warmer climates and moved to Vancouver where they were married in 1977.
Lisa began her career in Canada as a drama instructor at the University of British Columbia. When Lisa and Peter moved to Vancouver Island, Lisa continued to teach drama at Malaspina College. In 1980, Lisa and Peter bought Spinnaker Restaurant where they successfully ran the business together for 30 years. During this time, they started a family together. Lisa wore many hats during her lifetime; she was a drama teacher, a restauranteur, a jeweller, a French teacher and an inspiring mother. Most of her children's friends will remember Lisa as the professional storyteller who visited their classrooms to tell tales from ‘many many moons ago.’ Stories like ‘Crictor the Boa Constrictor’ and ’Rainbow Fish’ were some of her favourites that will be fondly remembered with her legacy. Once her children were teenagers, Lisa went back to study at the University of Victoria to fulfill the Canadian credit requirement to receive her Canadian teaching degree, which would allow her to teach school-aged children French and drama in many schools.
Lisa was a vibrant persona with a theatrical presence that was unmistakable. Lisa had such a flair for the dramatics. She was a poet and master of English Literature. She could name any classic novel from only reading the first few lines and recite poetry by heart. She had an aptitude for languages and had such a way with words. Her correspondence to friends and family was always creatively written; emails were to be decoded or were in haiku. She would stay up late with each of her five children, helping them with their English homework and editing their essays. She was a linguist and polyglot. She spoke English, Greek, French, even some Hebrew, and knew the linguistic roots of so many Yiddish words. Whenever she met someone speaking another language, she would always chime in, never afraid to make a mistake. She knew the origins of last names, always curious about their roots and heritage.
Lisa was an active member of the Central Vancouver Island Jewish community. She loved honouring culture and heritage, both hers and her husband’s. She proudly taught her children about many Jewish traditions and she will be remembered by many for her Chanukkah presentations in schools. She treasured the relationships developed by belonging to a community.
Lisa was a member of the Arrowsmith Tennis Club. She was a skilled tennis player and even won trophies in doubles tournaments. She loved swimming and taught her children a love for the water. She was a great pen pal to old friends, even friends from her childhood. Lisa had learned calligraphy as a child and even picked up the art of penmanship again in her later years.
Lisa was caring, charismatic, eccentric, and playful: Lisa had spunk. She had a curious and creative mind. She always knew how to build you up, full of compliments and gratitude. She would constantly praise her five children and always glowed with pride. She was a supportive and caring wife to Peter. The two were happily married for 43 years. Lisa showed such strength as she selflessly cared for Peter during his illness, while at the same time, fighting a battle of her own.
Lisa was a warrior. She fought a lengthy battle with cancer but never lost her quick wit or outgoing personality. She developed some incredibly loyal, supportive and generous friendships that kept her spirits high even on her last days. She was a remarkable woman. She will be missed and beautifully remembered.
Rest In Peace dear Lisa Aristou (Lisa ‘Susie' Manches). In Hebrew, we say, ‘שיהיה זכרה ברוך’ meaning, ‘Let her memory be a blessing.’
We love you, momsie.
We encourage anyone who would like to share their fond memories of Lisa to leave a comment (eg. anecdotes, memories, photos, warm wishes, condolences). In lieu of flowers, the Aristou family is kindly asking to honour their mother by making a charitable donation directly to the Canadian Cancer Society: www.cancer.ca