Home News Canada Two Winnipeggers celebrate their 100th birthdays together

Two Winnipeggers celebrate their 100th birthdays together

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Lloyd Friedman, left, and Albert Rosenberg, right, with their friend, Lou Billinkoff.

WINNIPEG – Lloyd Friedman is the oldest member of Winnipeg’s Adas Yeshurun Congregation, and his friend, Albert Rosenberg, isn’t far behind. Both men turn 100 this year.

Both are still living in their own homes and share an aversion to the spotlight.

“I would rather not have a big celebration for my birthday,” says Rosenberg, who turns 100 in November.

And while Friedman’s family invited 50 people to a party for his 100th birthday on July 25, his caregiver, Dorothy Hawrysz, says that he was much happier with the smaller family gathering at his home on the 29th – his actual birthday.

Friedman’s son, Andy, who lives in Wales, and his daughter, Fran, from Las Vegas, both flew in for the occasion with their children.

Hawrysz says of Friedman’s relationship with Rosenberg that, “Dr. Rosenberg has a tremendous impact on him. He always perks up when Dr. Rosenberg comes to visit. When Dr. Rosenberg came by after the party, they both enjoyed a glass of wine together. They are really comfortable with each other.”

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“I originally got to know Lloyd from shul,” Rosenberg says. “It took me a while to get to know him.”

One of the things that Rosenberg learned about Friedman was that he was a fighter pilot in the Second World War. “He never talks about his war record,” Rosenberg says. “We were at a gathering of war veterans a few years ago. A lot of guys had a lot to say. But Lloyd’s voice was so quiet that no one heard him. He was the only real war hero in the room.”

Friedman was one of five children of Nathan and Sarah Friedman, who settled in Saskatchewan in the early 1900s. Hawrysz notes that Friedman’s fondest memories are of growing up in rural Saskatchewan.

Friedman pursued a career as a teacher, initially in Saskatchewan. After the war, he returned to teaching in British Columbia. He moved to Winnipeg about 60 years ago (after his father, who was living here, suffered a stroke) and taught English and history at St. John’s High School (which had a substantial number of Jewish students at the time) until he retired.

Hawrysz notes that he still enjoys reading poetry and, in particular, enjoys Shakespeare.

He married at the age of 45, but his wife, Lola, died 15 years later.

Albert Rosenberg

After retirement, Friedman became a full-time volunteer. He delivered kosher meals on wheels to Jewish shut-ins for 25 years, retiring just five years ago, when he voluntarily gave up his license.

“I enjoyed having something to do,” he said in an interview with The CJN, after he was honoured by Meals on Wheels for his contribution to the organization.

Rosenberg’s family came to Winnipeg after the First World War, but didn’t stay long. “My dad didn’t like Winnipeg,” Rosenberg says. “In 1921, we moved first to New York, where my father had a half sister, then New Jersey, where dad began working as a milk man.”

Five years later, tragedy struck the young family – which consisted of Rosenberg, his brother and two sisters – when their father suddenly died. The family returned to Winnipeg, where they had an uncle who was a doctor.

To support the family, his mother used some pension money she had to open a dress shop in north Winnipeg and took in boarders at their cottage at Winnipeg Beach during the summers. She later married one of the boarders.

After graduating from St. John’s High School in 1935, Rosenberg took some pre-med courses and was accepted into med school. He enlisted in the Air Force during the Second World War.

I would rather not have a big celebration for my birthday.
– Albert Rosenberg

Back in Winnipeg, he completed his medical training and began his practice as a general practitioner in 1952. He retired at age 80.

Rosenberg and his wife, Lily, were married for 63 years. She died in 2012. They had three children, Joseph, Faye and Sheryl.

“I used to swim at the Rady Centre and go to hear speakers before I lost my sight completely,” he says. “I don’t get out much anymore.

“I look forward to Lloyd’s visits. It was a great party for him. He got letters of congratulation from people all over the world.”