Albert and Sheila Krolik were committed Jews and devoted much of their lives to the Jewish communities of Saskatoon and Winnipeg and to Israel.
Albert was born in 1912 and lived with his siblings and parents, Yoshe Joseph and Chana Krolik, at 856 Selkirk Avenue. His father, who had arrived in Canada in 1905 as an infant, was a well-liked and highly respected man. He had great empathy for others, and was always ready with a helping hand or small loan. As the neighbourhood barber, he also served as the neighbourhood medicine man, carrying around a little black doctor's bag filled with ointments and a special paste that his wife made at the kitchen table.
Joseph and Chana were two of the founders of the Hebrew Free Loan Association in Winnipeg, the Hebrew Sick Benefit Society and the Propoisker Society, and instilled in Albert and his seven siblings a love of Jewish faith and culture and the Zionist dream. They attended the Adas Yeshurim shul on Magnus Avenue, and Albert recalled how proud he felt when his father was given an aliyah.
Albert received his Jewish education at the Talmud Torah and his public school education at King Edward School and at Isaac Newton Junior High. He was a member of the Judeans social club, and loved movies at the Palace Theatre. Albert sold newspapers on the street, and at 14 began training with a furrier. He earned $10 a week, which he gave to his parents.
During the furrier's strike in the early 30s, Albert was approached by a dry cleaning firm in Saskatoon to organize a fur department for them. Albert jumped at the opportunity, but was sad to leave his girlfriend, Sheila Teskey, behind in Winnipeg. In 1938, after three years of a long distance romance, Albert sold his Chevrolet sedan for $600 so that he could get married and bring Sheila to Saskatoon.
Sheila was born in Bessarabia in 1918 and immigrated to Winnipeg as a young child. Her parents, Joseph and Leah, owned a small grocery store in the north end. Sheila had to drop out of high school in order to work. She found a job at Dayton's Department Store, and proved to be a terrific sales lady.
In Saskatoon, Albert and Sheila established Fashion Fur Company, their own successful ladies wear and fur business. Shelia was well respected and loved by her staff and customers alike for her warmth and vibrant personality. She was a devoted mother to Donna, Beverly, Dorothy and Jeffrey, and a fabulous cook renowned for her hospitality. Her door was always open to visiting Jewish community dignitaries, friends, and business associates, and she took great pleasure in making them feel welcome. Sheila and Albert were blessed with six grandchildren: Ilana and David Hollenberg (Boston), Daniel Stern (Toronto), Andrew Stern (Boston) and Judith and Joshua Aronovitch (Winnipeg).
Albert followed in his parents' footsteps, instilling in his children a love of Judaism and Israel, and becoming a leader in the Jewish and general communities. Albert and Sheila were major supporters of Ben Gurion University and Israel Bonds, and Sheila was a lifetime member of Hadassah. Albert was a founder of the Agudas Israel Synagogue, and served as president of the Saskatoon Zionist Council and on the executive of the Canadian Jewish Congress. He was the 1967 Saskatoon JNF honouree, and a member of the Rotary and Kinsmen Clubs.
Albert and Sheila moved back to Winnipeg when they retired, 40 years after they had left the city of their youth. In Winnipeg, they enjoyed their children, Bev and Don Aronovitch, and grandchildren, and reconnected with old friends. They also enjoyed making new friends in their winter home in West Palm Beach, Florida. Albert passed away in 1985 and Sheila in 2001. Their commitment to Jewish life, community and tzedaka lives on through their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.