Friends, colleagues mourn visionary community leader

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Tom Pechloff
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Tenacious. Passionate. Integrity.

Arnie Vered

Whether it’s the business community or personal friends, those words are used often to describe Arnie Vered, the 57-year-old community leader and businessman who died July 4 after battling pancreatic cancer since March of last year.

About 1,300 people filled an Alta Vista-area synagogue for Mr. Vered’s funeral and they kept coming for the Shiva, the seven-day mourning period in the Jewish faith.

“I think it’s definitely a measure of the man and everything that he has done within the Ottawa community,” said Ian Sherman, a tax partner at Ernst & Young who knew Mr. Vered through their work with various organizations in the Jewish community.

Mr, Sherman shared some memories with OBJ.

“Long meetings,” he said with a chuckle. “Incredible passion. He always looked at the big picture. He never took positions that didn’t look at the broader community at large, and what was good for the community was going to be good for any one organization.”

Mr. Sherman said because of that, Mr. Vered was pretty much always right.

Mr. Vered also took the big-picture perspective when it came to his fight with cancer. Once diagnosed, he started a blog called Chronicles of Arnia.

“I am not looking to survive cancer, as surviving is giving cancer too much respect. My goal, which I will achieve with the loving and caring support and strength from Family and Friends, is to beat cancer,” he wrote on March 21 of last year.

The big picture fight against cancer continues with the Vered Family Chair at the Ottawa Hospital Foundation. Its goal is to make Ottawa a centre of excellence for pancreatic cancer treatment.

The list of organizations with which Mr. Vered was involved seems to be almost endless. He sat on the board of CHEO, Ashbury College, United Way, Royal Ottawa Foundation, National Arts Centre and Carleton University not to mention all the organizations within the Jewish community to which he gave his time.

“I don’t know when he slept,” said Mr. Sherman.

When he wasn’t busy with his community and charitable organizations, Mr. Vered managed to find time for the family business, Arnon Corporation, where he was president.

Dean Karakasis, executive director of the Building Owners and Managers Association of Ottawa, called Mr. Vered a pillar of industry, but also touched on Mr. Vered’s community spirit, which shone through his company.

“We’ve worked with them many times, probably the most when it comes to working with the city and trying to be city builders in terms of offering the city input in terms of direction of the city and where it’s going in terms of the future and how to be a non-government town,” he said. “How to be a little more imaginative in terms of bringing corporations to the city as opposed to government.”

Mr. Karakasis said Mr. Vered loved Ottawa and wanted everyone to be proud of the city, adding it’s something for everyone to aspire to.

Organizations: Ashbury College, Ernst Young, Vered Family Chair Ottawa Hospital Foundation United Way Royal Ottawa Foundation National Arts Centre and Carleton University Arnon Corporation

Geographic location: Ottawa, Alta Vista

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