My thoughts are with Laurence’s family and loved ones in this moment of sadness.
Goodbye Laurence, you are dearly missed by me and many fans of yours (as witness by many people searching for info about you).
Laurence, may you rest in peace.
Nov 18, 2008 Update: I’ve found and included the following obituary published in the Montreal Gazette on 11/13/2008.
OBITUARY LAURENCE (LAURIE) LEWIN
Laurence (Laurie) Lewin, the President of La Senza Lingerie Corporation who championed a new era in Canadian lingerie retailing when he co-founded the iconic La Senza Lingerie brand in 1990, passed away Wednesday, November 12, 2008 at the Mount Sinai Hospital in Montreal. He was sixty-four years old. Mr. Lewin had been under treatment for lung cancer.
Throughout his 35 year career in retailing, he received numerous coveted awards including the distinguished “Canadian Retailer of the Year”. He often remarked with his trademark British humor that he’d become successful because of his enthusiasm for ladies’ knickers. His engaging “Monty Pythonesque” style was colored by a healthy dose of irreverence for established mores which he often openly challenged with great insight and wit, to the delight of those around him.
In 2006, Laurence Lewin also appeared on the highly acclaimed television show “Dragon’s Den” as one of its judges and was deemed by its producers as the “most eccentric of the Dragons”. Irv Teitelbaum, CEO & Chairman of La Senza Corporation, is quoted as saying: “Laurie was one of the most charismatic people I’ve ever known, inspiring everyone he knew to be the best they could ever be. His incredible sense of humor never ceased to entertain others.” Mr. Lewin’s astute intellect was matched only by his generous spirit. His commitment to the community and to those in need was deeply ingrained.
In 1995, he launched La Senza’s Charity Bear Program, which to this date donates proceeds from the sale of keepsake Holiday teddy bears to the Children’s Wish Foundation and to the Canadian Cancer Society. He also supported women’s shelters across Canada with donations of clothing. Another fundraising effort dear to his heart, was the Montreal Walk to End Breast Cancer for which Team La Senza was the largest registered participant group. His ongoing commitment to the Jewish community was also greatly appreciated.
Above all, Laurie loved life and loved people. At company BBQs and country fairs, he regaled children with rides on his vintage fire truck, enjoying himself as much as they did. His passion for sailing and motorcycling brought him great pleasure. He often pulled up to work on his Harley Davidson Road King, in full business attire.
Born and educated in the United Kingdom, Mr. Lewin began his career in the computer industry when he arrived in Montreal in the early 1970s and transitioned into the fashion world. The second child of Maurice and Beatrice Lewin, he worked weekends in his mother’s post wartime shoe shop where he quickly mastered the shopkeeper’s motto “Treat each customer like a valued guest in your own home”. A doting father, grandfather and stepfather, Mr. Lewin loved his family dearly and never missed an opportunity to shower them with affection. Over the years, his close friends from Montreal, St Albans (Vermont) and the United Kingdom became his extended Canadian family as he built lifelong bonds with them. Laurence Lewin, husband, father, friend and mentor to many, deeply touched us all, and his spirit lives on in our hearts.
Published in the Montreal Gazette on 11/13/2008