Bill Worb

My Story...

My father, Abraham Worb, was born and raised in Constantinople, Turkey. As a young man he was in the grain business and would travel across the Black Sea to Odessa, Russia. This is where he met my mother, Sonia Stein, and they married there and had one daughter, Esther, before immigrating to Canada in 1926. Here they had three more children - Benny, Joe and Bill. They settled in a little village called Elma in eastern Manitoba where some of their Bender and Helman relatives already lived. My father worked on a farm and later opened a general store, and they stayed in the area until 1939. At that time they decided that in order for the children to receive a Jewish education, it would be best to move to the city of Winnipeg. The family moved to Alfred Avenue, and my father worked in the fur business.

In 1940, my brother Ben died, one of the first local casualties of the polio epidemic. My sister Esther later married Jack Korman and had three children - Harvey, George and Beverly. My brother Joe married Geri Silverman and they also had three children - Michael, Blair and Karen.

My childhood in Winnipeg included attending Strathcona, Machray, I.L. Peretz, and St. John's schools, and involvement in Habonim, Hashomer, and the Comet Juniors club at the Y. After graduating, I went into the fur business to help support the family, and worked for Soudack Fur Auction Sales for 20 years. Some of the most memorable times during these years was when Morris Soudack and I would fly in a little Cessna 180 up to northern Manitoba and Saskatchewan, often taking canoe or boat to visit the mink ranchers and purchase furs from them.

In 1970, together with my wife Paula, I established Winnipeg Fur Exchange at 180 Princess Street in Winnipeg. We traded in furs and established an outdoor supply catalogue, which eventually became renown as a leading supplier to hunters and trappers worldwide.

In 1957 I married Paula Helman, daughter of Abe and Sarah Helman. We have two children. Ronnie, a veterinarian who owns the Anderson Animal Hospital, is married to Gail Lavitt, a psychiatrist. They have two children, Andrew and Samantha. Our daughter Marla is married to Brian Daien, a denturist with a business in Beausejour, Manitoba. For many years Marla worked alongside Paula and me in the retail business of our company, but she now enjoys being at home caring for their two children, Sara and Alexi.

In 1994, I sold the catalogue and retail divisions of our business. I now leisurely work for myself with Bill Worb Furs, enjoying it tremendously. I am grateful to my parents for having the foresight of moving to the city and instilling in me my Jewish heritage and work ethic - that has been the pillar of my success.

I have tried in turn to instill these same values in my children and grandchildren. I am thrilled to have them all living in Winnipeg and that they have the opportunity to learn Yiddishkeit. I feel that this is important for all Jewish children. I am proud to be part of the Jewish community, and look forward to seeing the younger generations take ownership of community life. My fondest hope is that the Jewish community continues to thrive and prosper.