Jack was born on a farm near Peterborough, Ontario in 1920, son of Russian immigrants, Sol and Rose Siegel. He had two sisters, Molly and Jean, and an older brother, Martin. His father was something of a scoundrel and philanderer. After Sol deserted the family, they moved to Toronto, living in post depression- era poverty. Though he was a bright student, Jack's education was limited to high school, after which he took a job to help support the family. He married his high school sweetheart, Pearl Manischewitz, in 1942.
Jack was drafted into the Army Medical Corps in the Second World War, where he served as Lance Corporal. After the war he began working as a salesman making $6/ week. The turning point came when he took over a corner store across from Dovercourt Public School. Pearl sold ice cream and bubble gum to the students during the day. Jack worked the store at night, while his wife cooked dinner in their little apartment above.
Jack eventually became a highly successful salesman, selling jewelry to stores in Northern Ontario and Quebec. An early devotee of authentic Chinese cuisine in Toronto, he held an annual banquet for his customers that became something of a legend.
Jack fell in love with unspoiled wilderness, and spent years searching for the perfect spot to build a cottage. He settled on an idyllic location on the French River near North Georgian Bay: no roads, towering granite cliffs, birch grove, sand beach, rock islets with scraggly pine trees, truly Group of Seven country. Summers were spent fishing and enjoying nature with family and friends, with winters in Florida and the Caribbean.
Pearl was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in her mid 50's. A devoted husband, Jack cared for Pearl at home for as long as he could, and then visited her almost daily at the nursing home until she passed away in 1995.
Jack was rescued by the lovely Eunice (Sammi) Scott of Daytona Beach Shores, Florida, with whom he eloped and married in 1999 in a t- shirt and shorts on the beach at the age of 80. He passed away peacefully in his Toronto condo on January 8, 2013. In his declining years, he was attended-to lovingly by his caregivers, Glenda, Delia, Sally, Tess, and Terry. Jack leaves behind his wife Sammi, son Bill and daughter-in-law Margaret Swaine, granddaughters Hallie and Kathryn, and great-grandchildren Eames and Pepper Jane.
(Photos by Richard Harrington)
Tuesday January 29, 2013
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