FINE, ISADORE Businessman, art collector, philanthropist. Born Rozana, Poland, 1920 and passed away August 19, 2017 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Isadore came to Canada at the ripe old age of 1 and grew up in Peterborough, Ontario before joining the Royal Canadian Air Force at the beginning of World War 2. He was selected to become one of the first technicians in the secret new RADAR technology and served in several posts throughout the war, supporting the Allies in the crucial air war. He met his wife, Esther (Cookie) Greenblatt while stationed near Moncton, New Brunswick in 1944 and married shortly after the end of the War. He and his wife started a small clothing store in Moncton in 1946 which over the years expanded to four stores, all in Moncton, and were one of the first to introduce discount fashion to Maritimers.
Isadore became, almost accidentally, one of the most prolific collectors of Inuit Art in Canada, amassing a collection of 240 pieces of all types, which he donated in its entirety to the University of Moncton in 1995. The impressively displayed collection resides at the entrance to the Champlain Library at the University. Isadore began to collect Inuit Art during his frequent buying trips to Montreal for his stores. A regular client at the former Mount Royal Hotel, he was enraptured by the carvings displayed across the street at the Canadian Guild store with whose manager he developed a relationship that endured for many years. She helped him select the best pieces, including some from the very early days of the Inuit Art era, that became the cornerstone of his collection. In recognition of the donation of the collection to the University, Esther and Isadore were awarded a joint honorary doctorate in 2001.
Isadore was a leader in the Moncton business community, serving as President of the Moncton Rotary Club and leading many charitable efforts over the years. An excellent story of his life was published in the Saltscapes magazine:
saltscapes.com/roots–folks/1914– plying–the–rag–trade–in– moncton.html
Isadore, and Cookie who predeceased him in 2006, are survived by four children and their spouses, Michael (Sandy), Phillip (Ruth Esther), David and Rosalie (Steven), three grandchildren, Lisa, Rebecca and Jacques, and five sisters Yetta, Sylvia, Frances, Marie and Helen. He was predeceased by his father Nathan and mother Frume, his stepmother Jennie and his sister Ruth.
We are grateful to the excellent staff at Parkland on the Gardens in Halifax who looked after Isadore so well during his four years there.
A celebration of his life will take place at the University of Moncton Champlain Library, amidst the Inuit Art that he loved so much, on Monday, October 30 from 4:30–6:30 pm. All family, friends and colleagues are warmly welcome.
Donations in his memory may be made to the Fonds Esther and Isadore Fine at the University of Moncton in support and maintenance of the Esther and Isadore Fine Inuit Art Collection: Phone (506-858-4883) or online at