Ath­lete. En­tre­pre­neur. Sto­ry­teller. De Bul­lion Boy.

The Globe and Mail (Ottawa/Quebec Edition) - - OBITUARIES - Howard Shrier is the se­cond of Jukie’s chil­dren.

Born May 17, 1933, in Mon­treal; died June 7, 2018, in Mon­treal; of heart fail­ure; aged 85.

Jews like to say that God in­vented man be­cause he loves sto­ries. If that’s the case, my fa­ther earned a spe­cial place in his heart. Jukie Shrier was more than a con­tem­po­rary of Morde­cai Rich­ler; he was a larger-than-life char­ac­ter out of his books. He was the youngest of four boys born to an im­mi­grant fa­ther who drank and gam­bled and pro­vided lit­tle. He grew up on de Bul­lion Street, one of the poor­est streets in the east end, and quit school at 15 to buy win­ter boots, be­cause his fa­ther couldn’t.

He had to learn to fight. If not, he’d get beat up by French kids, Chris­tian kids, his own broth­ers. At 18, he won the Que­bec Golden Gloves mid­dleweight championship. He was also a stud de­fence­man in hockey and prodi­gious hit­ter in base­ball. When he hit two home runs in a game the same day as Mon­treal Roy­als star Duke Snider, Dad’s friends started call­ing him Duke, then Dukie. His Rus­sian-born mother pro­nounced it Jukie, and a nick­name was born.

For 55 years, Jukie worked as hard as any man could. He ap­proached ev­ery­thing with drive, strength, imag­i­na­tion and will. As he moved through dif­fer­ent busi­nesses – dress­mak­ing, sheep­skins, hair weav­ing, real es­tate, night­club owner – he be­came a star down­town. Half the Ex­pos knew him. Tom Jones was a close friend who’d stay at his coun­try house when in town.

In the club he owned, Jukie once in­tro­duced his son Howard to Mafia boss Frank Cotroni and two of the tough­est cops in town on the same night.

All his life, he stayed a tough guy. In his mid-50s, he knocked out a man 15 years younger af­ter a fender-ben­der. One punch, of course.

But his wild side led him to do things with­out think­ing them through. He en­dured three divorces, three bank­rupt­cies and many other dis­ap­point­ments. For ev­ery new start in busi­ness, there was a bad end­ing.

He never saved be­cause he thought he’d al­ways earn.

Or didn’t fore­see liv­ing to 85. Sadly he lived his last 15 years as he did the first 15, haunted by need and in­se­cu­rity.

Like his fa­ther, he brought four chil­dren into the world, but he tried a lot harder to pro­vide.

He was proud of Howard and Bar­bara, broth­ers Jonathan and Jamie, and his grand­chil­dren, Isadora, Aaron and Jesse. As his great ath­lete’s body broke down and chronic back pain shrunk him fur­ther, he still loved to read, work a cross­word or tell a story about the old days, sto­ries Howard lapped up and plun­dered for fic­tion.

At the end, his heart leak­ing fluid into his lungs, he died fight­ing to breathe. Three of his chil­dren helped him go; the fourth was on his way.

Jukie’s pass­ing marks the end of an era, when guys were called Duddy, Boomie and Ba­zook. The boys of de Bul­lion are all but gone. There will never be an­other like him. If ever any­one de­served his rest, it’s the man Mon­treal knew by one name: Jukie.

All his life, he stayed a tough guy. In his mid-50s, he knocked out a man 15 years younger af­ter a fender-ben­der. One punch, of course.

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