Memorable Manitobans: Maria Gomori (1920-2021)
Born at Budapest, Hungary on 25 May 1920, she was educated in Hungary followed by studies at The Sorbonne in Paris. In 1939, with the outbreak of the Second World War, she cut short her studies and returned home. In 1942, she met and married veterinarian Paul Gomori (1912-1979) and they had a son the following year. After the war, she worked as an economist in Hungary, receiving in 1950 an Order of Merit from the Hungarian government for outstanding work in the field of planning.
The family decided to leave Hungary in the aftermath of the Hungarian Revolution in 1956. They arrived as refugees in Canada in 1957 where she continued her education, receiving an MA degree in Social Work from the University of Manitoba. She founded and built the social work department at the St. Boniface Hospital as its first director (1966-1991). In 1969, she met Virginia Satir, a pioneer in family therapy, who became her mentor and colleague.
Her role at the hospital evolved into an assistant professorship in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Manitoba where she established a family therapy teaching program for Residents in Psychiatry and students of other health disciplines. She conducted workshops around the world, founded the Manitoba Satir Institute and co-founded the Hong Kong Satir Institute. She wrote or co-wrote several books, including The Satir Model: Family Therapy and Beyond (1991), an autobiography Passion for Freedom: Maria’s Story (2002), Personal Alchemy: The Art of Satir Family Reconstruction (2008), and Satir Family Therapy in Action (2015).
In recognition of her community service, she received a Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal (1977) and was a YMCA-YWCA Woman of Distinction in the category of Health and Wellness (2003).
She died at Winnipeg on 10 December 2021.
Obituary [Paul Gomori], Winnipeg Free Press, 25 September 1979, page 60.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 11 December 2021.
We thank John Rabson for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 9 January 2022