BIOGRAPHY: Lori (Lorraine Elizabeth) Davies (neé Benabo) passed away on Friday May 28.
Born in Kenora Ontario, Lori attended grade school and Kenora Collegiate before moving to Winnipeg. In Winnipeg, she attended United College for a year, then earned a 3-year Diploma in Nursing at the Winnipeg General Hospital School of Nursing becoming a Registered Nurse. Newly married to Victor Davies, she moved to Bloomington Indiana, where she specialized in opthalmic nursing before joining the Bloomington General Hospital as an operating room nurse.
After the birth of her first child, Suzanne, she returned to Bloomington General Hospital in a supervisory capacity where she set up the hospital’s first central supply system. She then joined a private practice of a group of three physicians she had worked with at Bloomington General. In 1964, she, Victor and Suzanne returned to Winnipeg. There she practiced nursing at Victoria hospital, before joining a research project at Winnipeg’s Children’s Hospital. Deciding to specialize, she earned a diploma in Intensive Care Nursing with the innovative team at the Winnipeg General Hospital, later working in this capacity at the Misericordia Hospital.
With the rise of CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation), she earned credentials in this new field, working first in Winnipeg and then in Toronto, (where they moved for her husband’s career), becoming the first Director for Emergency Cardiac Care and Professional Education for the Ontario Heart Foundation. As head of CPR she trained, and oversaw the training of thousands of police, firefighters, ambulance personnel and other first responders in Ontario. Supervising the creation of materials for this technique, she taught and lectured across Canada to other health professionals. She also organized a landmark international conference in Professional Education in CPR and pre-hospital care techniques in her role at the Heart Foundation.
In 1979 she decided to retire from the medical field to join her husband, composer Victor Davies, in their jointly owned company Lily Pad Productions, working in the areas of concert music, music for film, television, and theatre which featured his music. Her role at Lily Pad Productions was many faceted, from overseeing the production of major film scores and recordings with the London Symphony Orchestra and the City of Prague Symphony, raising backing and producing theatre and recording projects to publishing (marketing, promotion, printing and sales) in the pre-digital era and later via web applications in Canada, the USA, Britain, Europe, Israel and China. She continued in this role until her passing.
She also served as Executive Director for the Guild of Canadian Film Composers from 2001 to 2004 in a time when the organization experienced substantial growth. Her board work encompassed being a board member and president of her condo association for several years and on the board of Manitoba Opera.
Lori was always interested in music and the performing arts. Growing up in Kenora, she studied tap dancing and ballet, training with Nenad Lotka who had previously been the Artistic Director of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. At the same time, in high school she was an outstanding athlete, a swimmer and lifeguard, volleyball player and expert marksman. When she moved to Winnipeg to study nursing, she continued with her dance training. She also sang in choirs, first at the Anglican Cathedral in Kenora and later with the Moordale chorus in Toronto. Later in life she and her husband took up scuba diving and dove in the Caribbean as well as in cold water in Ontario and BC. Lorraine was an avid follower of art, dance, theatre, music and films. She was also a voracious reader, particularly of historical fiction.
A warm, loving, enthusiastic, generous and highly intelligent person, Lori presided over a welcoming home. Over many years, under her supervision, there were many times when family, friends and strangers were invited to an annual Victoria Day fireworks party and many other celebratory gatherings, with music, lively conversation, wonderful food and drink, and generous hospitality. In difficult times, she was the first person to jump into the fray to try and help anyone she deeply cared about, always going that extra mile in her efforts; she was always a supporter of people less fortunate than she was.
She is survived by her devoted husband Victor Davies, daughters Suzanne Davies, (and husband Martin Kneis), Heather Davies, (and partner Greg Rose) and granddaughters Chelsea and Caleigh Davies-Kneis.
A Celebration of her life will follow in Toronto and Winnipeg when allowed with the lifting of COVID-19 protocols.
The family is setting up a Music Award in Lori's name for her favorite kinds of music:
The Lori Davies Award for Mid Career Composers (of Opera, Musical Theatre, Ballet and Concert Music)
(This is the link to donate her Award.) www.socanfoundation.ca/donate