“You're Going to Cheer” - JFM Endowment Gives Jonah an encore; to have his legacy play on

by Marjorie Wiebe | Apr 01, 2020
“We’re going to go in the back and act like we’ve left. You’re going to cheer. And we’re going to come back and play.” – Gord Downie, The Tragically Hip

Like Gord Downie, Winnipeg’s Jonah Nepon had a heart for the underdog, a passion for music, and a love of discovering new talent. Like Downie, Jonah was kind, gentle and thoughtful. Like Downie, Jonah had an extraordinary sense of purpose. And like Downie, Jonah’s life was taken too soon, two years after a diagnosis of brain cancer. Jonah passed away on March 3, 2013 at the age of 29. He was dearly loved and is terribly missed.

Jonah Nepon was born and raised in Winnipeg’s north end, and attended the Jewish school system, graduating from Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate in 2002. At an early age he had developed a passion for film and music, but he also cared deeply about people. He was one who stopped for the poor and listened to the troubled. His heart was always with those who needed to have a voice and through his company, Ghost Town Manitoba, Jonah aimed to do that. He sought out emerging local musicians and performance artists, and was constantly on the lookout for independent touring acts. He arranged venues for them. 

He rallied an audience. He got excited about new sounds and the people who created them. He produced their music. He forged connections. He made an indelible impact on all whose lives he touched.

Jonah’s family – his Mom Leslie, brothers Adam and Seth, and sisters Amber (Cohen), Mara (Pellettieri), Rachel, Micah, Dana and Meirav – have established the In Memory of Jonah Nepon Fund at the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba. When the fund reaches the $10,000 level income from this fund will honour Jonah’s memory in two extraordinary ways: it will provide ongoing financial support for music production and sound engineering at Camp Massad; and it will provide funding for programming and support for children with brain development and physical disabilities.  “We started this fund to show the appreciation our family has for the Jewish Foundation, the community, and all the programming that supported us as children to chase our dreams. The fact that as it grows it will also support causes that were important to Jonah just makes it that much more special.”

Jonah has “gone in the back”. With this Fund, the family invites the community to give Jonah an encore. “You’re going to cheer” … and his legacy will play on.