That Rosen­shein shine (‘He hits a great ball’)

Golfer, busi­ness­man and ace fundraiser — and he’s only 94

The Hamilton Spectator - - FRONT PAGE - JEFF MA­HONEY

He could have any­thing on the menu — af­ter all, Phil raised a mil­lion dol­lars for this place, in a mere week, when it strug­gled in ’91 — but it’s egg salad sand­wiches, all the way.

Oh, and a side of sweet potato fries, with tomato mayo dip, which seem pos­i­tively in­du­la­side, gent next to the sand­wiches, de­li­cious as they are.

Every Wed­nes­day for years dur­ing golf weather Phil Rosen­shein and his nephew Marvin have been play­ing 18 holes at Bev­erly Golf Course, then lunch; al­ways egg salad.

“I won’t be play­ing this year,” Phil tells me in the club­house. Out­side, it’s rain­ing pan­thers and Rus­sian wolfhounds. Mis­er­able. No golf to­day, for sure, but still nephew Marvin Rosen­shein makes it in from Toronto, af­ter a hor­ri­ble drive.

“My legs and back,” Phil ex­plains, shak­ing his head with a gri­mace. He’s 94. Marvin, in an whis­pers to me, “He’ll be play­ing.” Phil’s a 12 hand­i­cap, with a hole-in-one to his credit (1974) and an ea­gle on a par four — did he ever tag that sec­ond shot.

“He hits a great ball,” says Marvin. Phil ad­mits that for a small guy — “I weigh 130 pounds” — he could power it. There’s a large framed photo on the wall of his home: Phil and his beau­ti­ful late wife, Rose, at the Do­ral golf club in Mi­ami, Fla., in the 1960s, and you can see it there, in his stylish two-tone golf shirt, he’s solid across the top.

By any stan­dard, for any size, he hits big.

As a very young man, 16, he went to work, and soon had a garage across the street from the fam­ily home on Emer­ald North, deal­ing car parts. He was re­mark­able at it. At 23, he opened Mid­town Auto and Home Ap­pli­ance on King and Sher­man.

“I was so ner­vous. I had a mort­gage, a wife a child and $300 to my name,” Phil re­calls. “The first call I got was from a Mon­treal mo­tor sales, look­ing for re­con­di­tioned syn­chro­niz­ing drums for ’37-’45 Olds Chevs Pon­ti­acs. I had a guy re­build­ing them in Wind­sor for $7 a part. They (Mon­treal) were of­fer­ing $12. I said, ‘No prob­lem.’”

Such a mem­ory at 94. Marvin says, “He’s blessed with a won­der­ful mind.”

I don’t need a phone book,” says Phil. “I know all the num­bers by heart.”

Phil’s busi­ness kept grow­ing. Or­ders came in. He no­ticed that peo­ple need­ing auto parts also needed ap­pli­ances — wash­ers, fridges, and he be­came the “king of A/C.” He of­fered his own fi­nanc­ing, put on great pro­mo­tions, ad­ver­tised big in The Spec.

“Phil is an amaz­ing busi­ness­man,” says Marvin, who would as a young man watch his un­cle bar­gain, pur­chase, ad­ver­tise, sell. He had a com­mand of every as­pect of busi­ness. And he was, Marvin says, al­ways “well­liked.”

So what’s changed? Noth­ing. Phil’s on the phone these days “sell­ing” ta­bles and seats at the up­com­ing Beth Ja­cob Syn­a­gogue lottery gala, May 10. I put sell­ing in quotes be­cause no one can say no to him. Over lunch, he tells Marvin whom he’s put the touch on. “They bought a ta­ble. How could they not?” Phil will be a spe­cial hon­ouree at the event and give a speech.

The lottery, which Phil started when he was in his 30s, has been rais­ing money for the syn­a­gogue for about 60 years.

Phil has me over to his home, and ev­ery­where on the walls and shelves are pic­tures, plaques, tro­phies — many mark­ing Phil’s fundrais­ing ac­com­plish­ments.

He’s raised lit­er­ally mil­lions over the years. For the Jewish Fed­er­a­tion of Hamil­ton. The Negev Din­ner, at which he was hon­oured in


Phil Rosen­shein sur­rounded by some of his awards for his fundrais­ing and the weight ma­chine be­hind him that he uses every day.

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