Walter and Jeanny Bick

  • "I had the priviledge of knowing Jeanny and Walter Bick in..."
    - Peter Liatowitsch
  • "With fond memories and laughter from Dianne Speranzioso and..."
    - Dianne Speranzioso
  • "I never had the chance to meet them, however, if you ever..."
    - Evelyn Jepson
  • "I visited the Bicks many years ago while I was teaching at..."
  • "Dear Frances, I was sorry to hear of your father's passing...."

WALTER BICK May 19, 1917 - October 17, 2011 JEANNY BICK July 8, 1917 - September 24, 2001 Walter and Jeanny survived the horrors of the Holocaust by posing as Christian farmers - they were neither Christian nor farmers - but that was the only way they could get into Canada in 1939. They put heart and muscle into their 160-acre-farm next to what is now the Scarborough Town Centre. The farm was not only their refuge but became their salvation. A glut of cucumbers in 1944 presented a dilemma - plow them under or get creative. They got creative and Bick's Pickles was born. The barn turned into a factory and Bick's became a household name. Less than 30 years after arriving in Canada as refugees, Bick's was sold to Robin Hood Flour and Walter and Jeanny retired from business. They spent time travelling, skiing, hiking, collecting... but more than anything they actively sought out ways to help others. They were mentors to many, many people - young or old, friends or strangers. There is hardly a person who met them who was not touched by their generosity - their extraordinary generosity! In a more formal role, Walter and Jeanny worked with Canadian Civil Liberties Association, June Callwood's ground-breaking projects, Jewish Vocational Services, Weizmann Institute, ORT, Integra Foundation, Baycrest Foundation, Canadian Professors for Peace in the Middle East, Bezalel Academy of Art, Israel Museum, Canada-Israel Cultural Foundation and other organizations, above and below the radar. They took on each project with full commitment - just like the farm or Bick's Pickles - it was the only way they knew how to operate. Walter died at age 94 after suffering a stroke. Jeanny had succumbed to cancer ten years earlier. Walter and Jeanny had been married for 62 years - a marriage of deepest love, respect and mutual consideration. Through all the years whether on the farm, building Bick's Pickles, working with various organizations, they always worked together - that was their hallmark. The years since Jeanny died were tough for Walter - life just didn't have the same spark. Nonetheless, he was continually preoccupied with anticipating the needs of others. Right up until the end, coming in and out of delirium he would ask pertinent, incisive questions about people's welfare - what a fine example of how to live a life. Walter and Jeanny leave behind their four children - Catherene, Robert, Frances and Eric, thirteen grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. The family especially wishes to thank Sonam Choeden (Infinite Care Inc.) and her delicate and tireless staff - Nima, Dolma, Dolker, Namgyal, Kunchok and Choesang - for their exquisite loving-kindness as they cared for Walter over the last years. The family will sit Shiva at 44 Charles St. W., Apartment 519, from 2-6 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

Published in the Toronto Star on Oct. 19, 2011