In 1911, my parents Bessie and Ruven Pesochin and my older siblings Aaron, Anne and Lillian immigrated to Winnipeg from Molaver, Gubernia on the Russia-Poland border. They chose to settle in Winnipeg because a friend of theirs already lived here. I was born in Winnipeg on September 1, 1912. My wife Faye Gilman, whom I married in 1937, was born in Winnipeg on November 24, 1914. We have both lived here all our lives.
My family first lived in Elmwood and then moved to the North End where, with about a dozen other families, they formed their own small ghetto. My father worked for the city at various jobs and my mother operated a small store, where Faye's mother also worked. Both these women did a lot of charity work and taught their children to do the same. I remember that while the Depression was very difficult, it was somewhat mitigated by the fact that everyone else we knew was going through a rough time as well.
I attended Machray School and St. John's Tech, then got a job at Freed & Freed. After I worked there for about sixteen years, Ben Sissman invited me to go into business with him. Using the $1,400 I had saved, another $100 that my mother gave me, and the $1,500 Ben received from his family, we started Acme Garment Company in 1945. Ten years later I bought Ben out. Originally we made work clothes, then switched to casual wear, and thrived during the jeans era of the 1960s. Although it was sometimes a struggle to run my own business, I ultimately succeeded.
Over the years I have worked hard and belonged to many organizations. I have also volunteered my time and given financial support to causes I believe in, such as the JNF and the Six Day War campaign. I served as president of the Garment Manufacturers' Association, have attended several of the local synagogues, and have conducted services at the Winnipeg Beach synagogue and in Florida. I served as a director of the YMHA 50th anniversary celebrations, and am a member of the B'nai B'rith Century Club. I have also visited Israel four times.
Faye has been president of Herzlia chapter of Pioneer Women, president of the evening group of NCJW, and president of the River Heights chapter of B'nai Brith. She also worked for many years as a volunteer at the Children's Hospital, Misericordia Hospital and the Cancer Clinic. Faye and I have two sons, Robert who was born in 1939, and David who was born in 1943. We have four grandchildren.
I have great pride in our Jewish community, and my hope for the future is that the coming generations will see the value of what the present generation has built. I encourage them to take an interest in community life and organizations, to volunteer their time and energies to bettering their community, to make helping others a way of life, and to find joy in giving to charity.