That Rosenshein shine (‘He hits a great ball’)
Golfer, businessman and ace fundraiser — and he’s only 94
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.