Marcia Koven

Graveside Service

1:00 pm
Monday, March 7, 2022
Shaarei Zedek Cemetery
Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada

Obituary of Marcia Koven

Marcia Koven, a driving force and leading light of the Saint John, New Brunswick, Jewish community whose decades of service culminated in her founding of the Saint John Jewish Historical Museum 36 years ago, passed away on Friday March 4, 2022, at the Hillel Lodge of the Jewish Home for the Aged in Ottawa. Born in Saint John on December 26, 1926, to Rose Freedman (died 1993) and John Jacob Freedman (died 1964), she resided in the city until 2013, when she moved to Toronto to be closer to family. Her impact and enduring imprimatur on the Saint John Jewish community and on the city as a whole are impossible to quantify. In addition to conceiving of the museum and serving as its inaugural curator, Marcia variously served as president of the Henrietta Szold Chapter of Hadassah-WIZO; president of the sisterhood of Congregation Shaarei-Zedek; founder and secretary of the Shomer Club, an organization of seniors; secretary of the Association of Museums of New Brunswick, and secretary of the Canadian Jewish Historical Society. On her resume, in the section labeled “Employment,” Marcia described herself as a “lifetime professional volunteer,” including on behalf of the Chevra Kadisha (the synagogue’s burial society), the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and the Canadian Cancer Society. Marcia was creative, relentless and tireless – an inspiration to colleagues, friends and family for her no-nonsense, can-do spirit and determination to see the spark of an idea through to its execution.

A graduate of Saint John High School (1943) and the Saint John General Hospital School of Nursing (1948), she made the bold decision in her early 50s to enroll in the University of New Brunswick in Saint John, where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology in 1982. She was 55. It was as a student at UNB that she first imagined a museum that would commemorate the Jewish community in which she was raised, which had about 250 families at its peak in the 1960s. She later captured their stories in a book, “Weaving the Past into the Present: A Glimpse of the 130 Year History of the Saint John Jewish Community” (1989).

Marcia adored her family and for decades her home on Anderson Drive was a holiday destination for family members who came from across Canada and the U.S. 

In addition to her parents, Marcia was predeceased by her beloved husband, Jerry (Joseph) Koven, who died in 2010; as well as her brothers, Dr. Lewis H. (Ita) Freedman and Bernard (Natalie) Freedman. She is survived by a sister, Edythe Steinberg (Barry) of Fall River, Mass.; four children: Diane Koven (Al Garman) of Ottawa, Charlotte Koven of Toronto, Andrew Koven (Lynn Lurie) of New York, and Sherry Koven Sheffman (Robbie Sheffman) of Victoria, BC; eight grandchildren: Rachel Feldbloom (Grant Wood), Sarah Feldbloom (Gideon Greenbaum-Shinder), Jeremy Koven (Aviva Attis), Zahava Poriah, Barnett Koven, Franny Koven, Rebecca Sheffman, and Sunny Sheffman (Gabe Cemaj Hochstein); and two great-grandchildren, Joseph and Ben Koven.

Arrangements are under the care of Brenan's Funeral Home, 111 Paradise Row, Saint John (506-634-7424). A graveside ceremony will be held at the Shaarei Zedek Jewish Cemetery on Westmorland Road in Saint John on Monday, March 7 at 1 PM. Everyone in attendance is asked to wear a mask and to maintain physical distancing as to minimize the risk of COVID-19. All others are invited to join by Livestream by visiting Marcia's obituary on Brenan's Website ( and clicking on "View Livestream".

Donations should be directed to the Marcia and Jerry Koven Fund of the Saint John Jewish Historical Museum (


The family will be having a virtual shiva on zoom on the following days and times (Atlantic time): Monday 7-9 pm, Tuesday 2-4 pm and 7-9 pm, Thursday 2-4 pm and 7-9 pm, Friday 2-4 pm.

Dear Friends:


The family of the late Marcia Koven invite you to join them for virtual Shiva via Zoom only at the following times.

Unfortunately, my account does not permit me to create a single link, so I do apologize for the complexity of the message that will follow.

Please note that all times are given in Atlantic time – keeping in mind that some devices may be able to correct for the time differences. For example, 7:00 pm Atlantic time is equal to 6:00 pm Eastern time.

Please note that the first hour on Monday and Tuesday evening is for the immediate family only – others are welcome to join after 7:00 pm. (for the second and third hour).

The virtual shiva schedule is as follows (Atlantic time):


Monday 7-9 pm

Tuesday 2-4 pm and 7-9 pm

Thursday 2-4 pm and 7-9 pm

Friday 2-4 pm


Topic: Virtual Shiva - Koven Family - Monday evening

Time: Mar 7, 2022 06:00 PM Atlantic Time (Canada)

Meeting ID: 823 8450 2067

Passcode: 676948


Topic: Virtual Shiva - Koven family - Tuesday afternoon

Time: Mar 8, 2022 02:00 PM Atlantic Time (Canada)

Meeting ID: 878 3501 9745

Passcode: 181069


Topic: Virtual Shiva - Koven family - Tuesday evening

Time: Mar 8, 2022 06:00 PM Atlantic Time (Canada)

Meeting ID: 865 7108 5196

Passcode: 294651


Topic: Virtual Shiva - Koven Family - Thursday afternoon

Time: Mar 10, 2022 02:00 PM Atlantic Time (Canada)

Meeting ID: 814 1768 2870

Passcode: 628197


Topic: Virtual Shiva - Koven Family - Thursday evening

Time: Mar 10, 2022 07:00 PM Atlantic Time (Canada)

Meeting ID: 826 8126 9230

Passcode: 330483


Topic: Virtual Shiva - Koven Family - Friday afternoon

Time: Mar 11, 2022 02:00 PM Atlantic Time (Canada)

Meeting ID: 822 6911 6229

Passcode: 301410



If you require additional information or have difficulty in connecting, please contact Katherine Biggs-Craft by email: or by telephone – 506-633-1833 (for the afternoon sessions) or 506-333-4118 (for the evening sessions).


May Marcia’s memory be a blessing.

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