Geddy Lee's mother, Mary Weinrib, passed away on July 2, 2021, just a few weeks before her 96th birthday.
Rush fans have known Mary, among other things, from her performance in the documentary "Rush: Beyond the Stage Lighted" from 2010, and most recently from the docu-series "From Cradle to Stage" by Virginia Hanlon Grohl and Dave Grohl in which she described her amazing survival story during the Holocaust. Mary was a good friend of Dave Grohl's mother.
Mary Mania (Malka) Rubinstein was born in 1925 in Warsaw and grew up in Wierzbnik, a Jewish town that was part of Starachowice, Poland.
During the Holocaust, she was forced to work in the Starachowice labor camp where she manufactured ammunition for the German extermination machine. She was later transferred to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where she met and fell in love with her husband Morris Weinrib. The two separated during the Holocaust but in 1945 with the victory over Germany Mary was liberated from Bergen-Belsen and reunited with Morris in 1946, the two then married and emigrated to Canada.
After the sudden death of her husband Morris in 1965, Mary was left with three young children including Gadi Lee who was then only 12 years old. He recited Kaddish in memory of his father for a whole year and kept the mourning Jewish customs.
One of the band's songs "Red Sector A" was written by Rush's drummer, Neil Peart, inspired by the survival story of Mary and her husband Morris.
Beyond raising the children, the death of her husband Morris forced Mary to enter the family business and run the convenience store that her husband had run until then. Preparing family meals on Rosh Hashanah and Pesach was one of her loves. After working in the store, Mary would cook and bake at night, preparing everyone’s favorite dishes and desserts in honor of the holiday.
Mary was also an avid supporter of Rush and came to shows regularly.
When the band's first album came out, Mary filled the windows of the family store she ran on the album's posters and distributed albums to children who wanted them, but had no money to buy them.
Two months before her death, on May 10, 2021, on "Mother's Day", Geddy posted the following words on his Instagram account:
"Happy Mother's Day to my beautiful mom, Mary! Pushing 96 and still rockin' out! And she just got vaccinated too! May she be around for many more!"
In the 6th episode of the series "From Cradle to Stage" which aired on June 10, 2021, Dave Grohl said about her and Geddy:
"... It was funny for me to sit with Geddy and his Mom because ... he changed my life. Rush really changed my life... As we were sitting with Geddy and his Mom, I was thinking ... if it weren't for her I might not be a drummer ..."
About a year after her death, it was reported that the website's facial recognition software "From Numbers to Names" was able to find a picture of her from her time in the "Bergen-Belsen" camp, which led Geddy Lee to find more pictures of his mother's extended family in the "Yad Vashem" photo collection.