Al "Boomie" Regenstreif's
Internet Family Tree

The Regenstreif Family of Canada

Over the years who among us has not wondered about Regenstreif history? I have and decided to record our own branch’s story. I am prompted by questions asked by at least one of my sons and I was stimulated to get involved by a meeting I had with Gene and Elaine Starn of Florida.

Elaine’s family came to Ohio and was named Regenstreich, as was our family in Romania. Elaine’s family origin was Mihaileni/Dorohoi as was ours. Both Elaine and I assume we are cousins, although we are not certain to what degree.

One of Auntie Ida’s Romanian documents was spelled Regenstraugh and it is not hard to imagine that some immigration officer could have interpreted the name as Regenstreich or Regenstreif. Cousin Marilyn remembers being told by Uncle Martin that in the old country the family was known as Regenstreich.

My interest was piqued and encouraged by Gene I began to set down the names of all of the members of our family and tried to connect them with names provided by Gene. It was an impossible task. However, I have almost of the names back to our great grandfather. I may be missing a few and I hope these will be provided in due course.

I started by building a family tree. For a long time I studied the Tree and found it to be nothing more than a directory of names. There needed to be some description of the personalities and a record of their characteristics, accomplishments, foibles and quirks. From memory, I have added notes to the names. These notes are my recollections. Probably some notes are fictitious and perhaps a bit fanciful. Therefore I hope that in due course we can add other notes to be contributed by any or all who care to read and contribute to the family’s saga in Canada and in the United States.

As well, it occurred to me that as our past is dim and as our generation diminishes in number, unless we set down what we know and remember that information will be lost. Our heirs and their heirs are entitled to a history and I hope that this will be the start of it.

In Romania our family was recorded as Regenstreif zis Olaru. (Regenstreif known as Olaru.) Apparently Olaru means potter or pottery and it is known that is what the family business was going back to the 1800s. It existed into the thirties.

The following is an excerpt from a history of Mihaileni in Romania, written in 1982 by Nicolae Zahacinschi. The translation was done by Minca Rand of Montreal.

“I saw how important for the evolution of a community the history of Mihaileni had for traders and trades people. Very reasonable for a place where the earth is not very good for agriculture, but is located where roads meet, therefore a good place for traders to bring the work produced by their own hands.

“They were all called together by the land-owner C. Maresh in 1792 and by the year 1835 they were many and the little town developed with the side streets they named. Shoemaker St., Brickmaker St., etc.

“A plaque of the names of family heads between the first and second World Wars attests there were 91 business people. 16 potters, 2 painters, 20 iron workers, 12 tailors, 21 carters, 20 shoemakers, 21 wheelers, 5 barbers, a total of 121 trades people; more than business people, more than people in agriculture, horticulture or cattle raising.

“One of the trades people holds special attention and fame he brought to Mihaileni by developing the art of pottery.

“Because of the argillaceous earth and talented people, clay pottery became one of the principal vocations. Therefore people from Northern Bassarabia, Moldova, business people from Galati, Bacau, Braila etc, liked and bought the pottery, even while ceramics from Kuti Bucovina remained the better and original quality.

“Why are the ceramics from Mihaileni different? The author has a lot to say about it: ‘not as a specialist but as a collector of Romanian popular art. I had for many years the opportunity to be close to the problems, the dramas and the troubles of the artists in ceramics. As a child I lived in Mihaileni and witnessed every day the world of potters, being the descendent of Manole an old family of potters.’

“Manole transferred his craft from father to son for 3 generations. The first master potters were people who worked with a wheel to form pottery in their small workshops and were helped by their families. The quality of their vessels, the geometrical and floral designs made them famous. Therefore they had to hire people to work for them and they needed more space to grow. Favoring art over industrialization, they each specialized in a different area. Some did decoration, some worked at the wheel, producing a more refined and beautiful kind of pottery. Becoming famous they did not need to go out to sell their wares because the buyers sought them out, bought wholesale and sold in markets in Bacau, Roman etc., but not in Bucovina where they had ceramics from Kuti and Radauti.Virinovsky,

“In the records of the ceramics of the jurisdiction of Dorohoi on April 22, 1908 they published a list of the potters from Mihaileni who were going to participate in the first exhibit of Romanian potters at the beginning of the Century. They were: Jorgu Solinschi, Josif Virinovski, Jo Manole, S. Stelciuc, Itscu Baier, Srul Reginstreich. They were the bigger studios. There remained many small places where individual artisans individual artisans worked. Soon the small potters started to join the larger studios and in 1921 the atelier Reginstreich became a real enterprise called ‘The Factory’ by the local people. The Factory incorporated most of the individual artisans. Some master potters remained independent and between 1920 and 1940 they still had their clients. These were Vasili Manole (son of Jon) the brothers Theodor and Gogu Solinschi, Jon Ungreanu, Josif Vishinovski and Ilie Harpota.

“In 1938 beside the Reginstreich Factory, Mihaileni had 11 pottery studios. We have to understand that the fact that Mihaileni earth is of exceptional quality even to this day, the bid ceramic enterprise Granitul exists where the Reginstreich factory was.”

The following is a quote from a memoir written about Mihaileni. “Another sad story happened in our town. The Regenstreif pottery they filled a cart with goods and the carter Franz Schultz mounted the coach and set off towards Czernowitz. On the road, the cart began to lean to one side. Schultz jumped down and tried to support it with his shoulder, but the goods were heavy and the cart fell down over Schultz, killing him. His father could not come to the funeral because he was paralyzed and was lying in bed all the time.”

Hereditary Angioedema (HAE) is a rare and serious genetic condition characterized by episodes of edema (swelling) in body parts, most notably the hands, feet, face and airway passages. In addition, patients often have bouts of excruciating abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting that is caused by swelling in the intestinal wall. HAE patients have a defect in the gene that controls a blood protein called C1-inhibitor. The genetic defect results in production of either inadequate or nonfunctioning C1-inhibtor protein. Normal C1-inhibitor helps to regulate the complex biochemical interactions of blood based systems involved in disease fighting, inflammatory response, and coagulation. Because defective C1-inhibitor does not adequately perform its regulatory function, a biochemical imbalance can occur and produce unwanted peptides that induce the capillaries to release fluids into surrounding tissues, thereby causing edema.

HAE is called hereditary because the genetic defect is passed on in families. A child has a 50 percent chance of inheriting this disease if one parent has it. The absence of family history does not rule out the HAE diagnosis, however. Scientists report that as many as 20% of HAE cases result from patients who had a spontaneous mutation of the C1-inhibitor gene at conception. These patients can pass the defective gene to their offspring. Because the disease is very rare, it is not uncommon for patients to remain undiagnosed for many years. Many patients report that their frequent and severe abdominal pain was inappropriately diagnosed as psychosomatic, resulting in referral for psychiatric evaluation. Unnecessary exploratory surgery has been performed on patients experiencing gastrointestinal edema because abdominal HAE attacks mimic a surgical abdomen. Before therapy became available, the mortality rate from airway obstruction was reportedly as high as 30%.
(The foregoing was extracted from the brochure of the HAE Association of America. For more information visit the website at: www.hereditaryangioedema.com.)

Many members of our family have a long and unenvied record of suffering from hereditary angioedema (HAE). I have tried to determine if other Regenstreif families were similarly affected. I have found none and this leads me to believe that the inheritance is from our grandmother Rebecca. I often found her clutching her belly and groaning with pain. She was examined for ulcers or other stomach ailments. Interesting speculation.

The Regenstreif brothers were handsome men and if the sisters looked anything Like Auntie Ida they were beautiful women. I must say that our generation is similarly good looking.

There are dozens of other Regenstreifs in the United States, Europe, Israel, South America and Canada. Who knows how they connect. The Internet has a long list; the most prominent of them is Michael, (my oldest son) the expert in Folk Music. There are mentions of a villa in Egypt, lawyers Mitchell and Gail in the Los Angeles area, Jules in Paris at the Sorbonne and on and on. There was a Mahmoud Regenstreif in Cairo, an optician ca 1875. There are Catholic Regenstreifs in the United States and in Canada. Some of them may be related to us. There is a family in Indianapolis, prominent philanthropists in medicine.

All of this research and discovery was very interesting and continues. Because I didn’t want this to be a conclusive document I have added to it contributions from many of you. I hope to continue to do so.

SHMUEL DOV REGENSTREIF

This is the earliest ancestor we could identify. We got his name from Avrum’s tombstone.

Uncle Bert used to talk about family in New York, an aunt named Seretan. Rose Pessin remembers the Louis Seretan Family. Associated was an Irving Selinger who had a cheese store. As well, Rose remembers visiting Sol Wald in Providence R.I. All of these were from her mother’s side (Sarah Regenstreif-Hershoff).

There was also in New York an uncle "Regenstreif”. We don’t know his name and so called him Ploni Almoni, Yiddish for anonymous. The names of his family at the end of this docment were derived from the obituary of John Gates in the New York Times. There is some doubt that this particular family is the one Uncle Bert knew.

AVRUM AND REBECCA REGENSTREIF

Avrum and Rebecca had many children, 16 or 17 in all. Some died in infancy in Romania and at least one died in Montreal not long after their arrival.

Benny and Louis came to Canada about a year before the family did. The rest of the family arrived on November 7th, 1907 aboard the SS Corsican, part of the Allen Line. Canadian Pacific subsequently acquired the Corsican.

Avrum was an active member of the Austrian Shul on Milton Street. He may have been a functionary. The shul was amalgamated with the congregation now known as the Shomrim Laboker.

Uncle Bert told us that his father had been “financial secretary” of a Talmud Torah school. This probably meant that he made rounds to collect the small tuition fees that were paid at the time. In fact his obituary in the Keneder Adler referred to him as a collector for the Anshe S’fard Talmud Torah.

The late Willie Riven was a landsman and neighbour on either Drolet Street or Rivard Avenue. He loved to tell the story that when Avrum was examined for life insurance, he had one of the children provide the urine sample. This would lead us to believe that Avrum was not a well man. He died accidentally at age 53 leaving a $400 life insurance policy. Cousin Ida Andes remembers Bubby telling her that Avrum died after having been in contact with the electric meter in the house. Apparently he fell, hurt his head and never recovered.

REBECCA ARONOVICH REGENSTREIF

Rebecca was known to some of us as Baba Martin, having lived with Martin and Arthur until their marriage in the early 30s. They lived in the Queen Mary Apartments on Berube Street just west of Park Avenue. We visited on Sunday mornings and the young ones were always treated with hard candies and sometimes a piece of cake.

Baba Martin was a strong woman, widowed in 1913 with the five youngest children still at home. Ida was 16, Max was 14, Bert was 11, Martin was 9 and Arthur was 3. To survive the boys peddled fly papers every summer and did whatever else they could to eke out a tough living. Notwithstanding the hard times Baba Martin enjoyed her treat of black olives and herring, not shared with the boys. She had a great sense of humour and a ready laugh. She was a great cook who could stretch meals with mamaliga and got great taste out of cheap cuts of meat.

After Berube Street Baba Martin lived at 3947 Laval Avenue opposite a great church that burned to the ground. The small flat was the upper of a single family home that was converted into a duplex. The front room (off the balcony) was home at various times to Bert Mendelsohn when he came to McGill and to Ida Regenstreif (Andes, uncle Harry’s daughter) who lived there for about a year.

Baba Martin spent three months every summer as the guest of Auntie Ida and Uncle Isaac in St Agathe. That home became a Sunday gathering place for members of the family.

When she gave up her home she lived in rented rooms and then variously with Uncle Bert, Uncle Martin or Uncle Arthur. At age 84 or so she went to live in the Old Folks Home on Esplanade Avenue where she died about 17 years later.

While she appeared to be a healthy woman, Baba Martin suffered frequently from stomach pains. She could be seen often with a hot water bottle on her obviously swollen belly. She was to have had exploratory surgery for ulcers, but did not. I suspect her problem was Hereditary Angioedema, the curse of many members of the family. HAE frequently imitates a “surgical belly”.

Irving Pfeffer writes, “Grandmother Rebecca Regenstreif, mother of my mother Ethel, lived in the Montreal Old Age Home during the time I knew her between 1940 and 1950. I danced with her at a wedding when she was 100 years old. She was tiny but danced nicely. She was a busy old timer getting extra food for some of the men and darning socks as well. Always cheerful, she was the Central family news source with tidbits of information from her many visitors.”

Baba Martin was a prodigious knitter and she would knit for anyone who supplied yarn. Her specialties were scarves, mittens, hats and gloves and socks. She never wasted anything and many were her striped creations in colors that mixed, matched or didn’t match, but nothing was thrown away.

HARRY (ARONHERSH) REGENSTREIF

Uncle Harry was a sweet man who had a ready smile for nephews and nieces. He had little else having come from Romania as an adult and had little or no education. He died tragically in a snow bank on a cold winter night.

HYMAN REGENSTREIF

Hyman worked as a lineman for Hydro Quebec. He was injured seriously by lightning and was an invalid in a nursing home until his death.

BERYL (BENNY) REGENSTREIF

When Benny immigrated he went west to Calgary and was a cowboy for a time. He returned to the East and established a used goods business in Magog, Quebec. He subsequently moved to Joliette and was later joined in business by his sons Solly and Poochie (Irving). Benny had HAE

DAVID (REGENT) REGENSTREIF

David was a very handsome man. He had dreams of a show business career and had he persevered he may have succeeded. During WWII he was in the RCAF. His visits to the cousins in Boston were legendary. He married Ruth a lovely lady from Philadelphia. They settled in Miami where David worked as a bookie and later a promoter and salesman of over the counter securities. He died a relatively young man of heart disease.

DRAKE (REGENT) REGENSTREIF

Drake became a dentist.

MORTIMER REGENSTREIF

Morty was among the nicest people. He had a ready smile and a very sweet nature. He enlisted in the RCAF, became an air gunner and flew frequent sorties. He was shot down over the North Sea on the last of a series of missions before a long leave. He is buried in a military cemetery on the Isle of Tyree.

SOLOMON (SAUL) REGENSTREIF

Solly had HAE. From childhood he suffered frequently and intensely until the sixties when it was discovered that HAE could be controlled with steroids. He was then well controlled. Solly was so sick as a child that he was not expected to live. His parents purchased a life insurance policy with weekly premiums of pennies to provide for his funeral in the event of his death. He was the last survivor of his brothers.

IRVING (POOCHIE REGENT) REGENSTREIF

He and his brother Sol were partners in the store in Joliette. They ran another store in St. Jerome. Eventually they sold out and moved to Montreal.

Poochie left the store business. He developed and built income properties in association with Solly. He moved to Boca Raton in Florida where he continued in the real estate business. He died there of pancreatic cancer.

LOUIS REGENSTREIF

Uncle Louis came to Boston and married Auntie Fanny. He worked long hours as a salesman in the shoe business. He made annual overnight trips to Montreal to visit his mother and brothers. He usually left Boston after work on a Saturday night, traveled by train or bus to Montreal where he spent Sunday and returned to Boston overnight to reach work on Monday morning.

THELMA REGENSTREIF

Thelma was the natural daughter of Ettie and Louis Pfeffer. Louis and Fanny whom she regarded as her natural parents adopted her in 1932. Irving writes, “She was never told she was adopted until I met her during a visit to Boston during WW11. She was bright personable and attractive.” She married Dr. Jack Rubinstein in Cincinnati where she died at a relatively young age.

ROSE HERSHOFF PESSIN

Has HAE. For many years Rose worked in a senior capacity for an important Chevrolet dealership in Boston. When the dealership changed hands Rose joined the Greater Boston Association for Retarded Citizens as their Director of Development. She continues in that capacity and was honored by them as Citizen of the Year in 2001.

ESTHER HERSHOFF KATZ

Has HAE. Esther was a surgical nurse in the US army medical corps. After her discharge she worked in various Boston hospitals in increasingly senior positions.

ETTIE (REGENSTREIF) PFEFFER

Ettie died in or after childbirth. Louis and Fanny in Boston adopted her daughter Thelma.

ALEC PFEFFER

Alec was a bon vivant. He had a great wit. He worked for a time for Uncle Arthur but wrote radio scripts, which he tried to sell to the likes of Jack Benny. After a divorce and remarriage he moved to Edmonton and operated a restaurant he called khakimoon. He was a diabetic but did not look after himself. He subsequently moved to Toronto, worked as a cook in a steak house and died there a young man.

IRVING PFEFFER

Irving wrote, “I flunked out of Baron Byng High School in the tenth grade and went to work for my Uncle Arthur in his Main Street drug store with my brother Al. I was a delivery boy, working the night shift. After the war I took the McGill entrance exam and received honors in Economics and Political Science. A fellowship from the Wharton School carried me to the PH.D. In 1954 I became a professor at UCLA. Subsequently, I became an attorney and a judge pro tempore in San Francisco.”

Irving’s daughter Wendy is Professor of French and Chair of the Department of Romance Languages in Louisville, Kentucky. His daughter Suzanne is Professor of Biological Sciences and Chair of the Department at Stanford. Daughter Debra is now an adult student.

IDA (REGENSTREIF) MENDELSOHN
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Every family should be blessed with one person who is universally loved and admired. That person should be as kind, as understanding, as forgiving and as giving as Aunty Ida was. She was warm, she was friendly, and she gave and forgave. She was welcoming and she cared deeply for us all. She was a great housekeeper. Her kitchen shone and her home sparkled. She was a great cook and a master of feeding hungry hordes from one chicken. She was famous in the family for lemon pie and oatmeal cookies. She gardened and preserved. She exercised, swimming in the summer and walking every day of the other seasons. Her home was a gathering place for her family in all its dimensions. She had great wit. Once when asked about her slim figure and how she must watch her diet, she replied that she watched her diet very carefully but did not let it affect her meals.

Aunty Ida was murdered during a mugging after the second Seder in 1981.

ISAAC MENDELSOHN

Isaac was a stationary engineer who served most of his career at the Sanitarium in St. Agathe. He was a brilliant craftsman who built furniture and could repair anything mechanical. He was an inveterate pipe smoker and died of cancer. In a separate chapter Bert speaks in detail about his parents

ALBERT (BERT) MENDELSOHN
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A few years before his passing, Bert took a profound interest in Jewish religious matters. He studied Hebrew and relearned the prayer book and joined Beth Sholom Congregation in Ottawa.

“Canada’s Craftsmen at 50!” is the story of Electrical and Mechanical engineering in the Canadian armed forces. The book was written by Colonel Murray c. Johnston and it includes descriptions of its Officers. Colonel Johnston wrote:

“Brigadier-General A. Mendelsohn served as a regular officer for 32 years. He was born in Montreal on 21 March 1917. He graduated in Mechanical Engineering from McGill University in 1939, at which time he held a commission in the reserves. Transferring to the Active Service Force, he went overseas in 1941 with the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division. As EME of that division’s artillery headquarters, he landed in Normandy during the morning of D-Day. He remained with this division until the end of the war.

“After the war he served on the directing staff of the Canadian Army Staff College, as the Canadian Military Observer with the United Nations Military Observer Group(India and Pakistan), as the first commander of the Canadian Headquarters United Nations Forces in the Congo, Commandant of the RCEME School and. in 1962, DEME and Head of Corps of RCEME.

“Promoted Brigadier-General in 1967, he was appointed to Headquarters Materiel Command. Later, having served as Senior Military Advisor to the Canadian Delegation of the International Commission for Supervision and Control in Laos, he became Director General Maintenance and subsequently Director General Ordnance Systems until his retirement in 1972.

“He passed away on 10 November 1995. At his funeral the Branch provided a Guard of Honour or 100 Craftsmen from CFSEME and Maintenance Company 2 Service Battalion. –The Guard was probably the largest ever assembled by the Branch. It paid due Honour to a former comrade who, during the turbulent times of Unification of the Canadian Armed Forces in 1968, had dedicated his foresight, energy and leadership to help ensure that the Branch remained a separately-identifiable engineering group in the Canadian Armed Forces.”

Colonel Johnston delivered a eulogy at the funeral. Others were given by David Saville a stepson and by Albert Regenstreif a cousin.

Irving Pfeffer wrote, “I met Bert Mendelsohn during the war. He was a remarkable man, the first Jew ever to rise to the rank of General in the Canadian Army. He graduated from McGill in 1939 having served in the OTC. He was commissioned a Lieutenant, became a Captain when he joined his unit and a Major on going overseas. At Normandy he became a Colonel where he was stationed for a while. He had all the perks of rank: a chauffeur, a chef and a batman. He was exceptionally bright and a mensch.”

In a separate section, under his own name, there is a transcript of an interview Bert gave to the Museum of Civilization for it’s exhibit “A coat of Many Colors; The Jews in Canada”. The interviewer was Shelley Posen of Ottawa.

SUSANNE MENDELSOHN

After Bert died, Susanne established a Fund in his memory at Beth Sholom Synagogue. She used the fund to provide new Torah Mantles for the Synagogue, each one an art piece.

Susanne died of a stroke.

MAX REGENSTREIF
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Had HAE. Max had severe disease and suffered frequent episodes, not less than weekly. His attacks were in the hands and face and he died in 1937 from an attack in the larynx.

In common with his brothers Max was a handsome man and he shared their sense of humour. He had a wonderful disposition and was a devoted husband and loving father. In his youth he spent some years in North Bay where he worked for Sol Weiser and boarded with the family. This was common practice. Young men served apprenticeships in small towns to learn and to earn the small stipends they were paid.

After his marriage, Max became a men’s wear merchant. His first store was at 3941 St Catherine East, next to his father in law. That store was sold to Ruby Lonn. His next store was Bonhomme at 139 St Catherine East, during the depths of the great depression. In 1932 or 1933 he had a five and dime store at 6625 St. Hubert St. That store was sold after Max died in 1937.

BESSIE REGENSTREIF SILVER

Bessie was 19 when she married Max. Theirs was a great love even though Max’s illness was kept secret from her until her marriage. Widowed at 32 with a young family of three she was fiercely protective of them and did all she could to provide a normal upbringing. Despite the tenor of the times she refused to allow her children to be regarded as orphans.

Bessie started a small ladies wear business at 3937 St Catherine St. east where her father had a similar business until 1931. A year later she moved to 4075 St Catherine East where she remained until she sold her business in 1945, the time of her marriage to Max Silver and her move to Calgary.

Bessie was a great sales person and she made a living for her family by hard work and great parsimony.

When Max Regenstreif died her parents moved into the home. Her parents and especially her father were of great help.

In 1946 Bessie married Max Silver and moved to Calgary with Frances and Roslyn. Albert joined the family there in 1952. Max Silver died in 1964. In 1968 Bessie moved to Vancouver.

ALBERT (Boomie) REGENSTREIF

Has HAE. Known to family as Boomie and to Friends as Al, he spent most of his working years in Jewish Public service. He worked for Israel Bonds in the early years and subsequently for the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University and Bar Ilan University. The last 20 of his working years were as Director of the Jewish General Hospital Foundation.

In 1952 Albert and Reva moved to Calgary to enter the retail men’s wear business. The children were all born there. In 1960 the family moved to Toronto where Albert joined the Israel Bond Organization. In 1962 they moved Vancouver, 1966 to Calgary, in 1967 back to Vancouver and in 1968 to Montreal where he joined the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University. In 1971 Albert moved to the Canadian Friends of Bar Ilan University and in 1978 he became Director of the Jewish General Hospital Foundation. He retired in 1997.

MICHAEL REGENSTREIF

Michael’s passion is Folk Music. He has a Master’s degree in political science and public policy and is freelance writer.

Dr ROBERT BARSKY

Robert was born in Prince Albert Saskatchewan, home to three Prime Ministers and only one Certified Specialist in Pediatric Dentistry

BENJAMIN (BERT) REGENSTREIF

In his youth, Bert often visited family in Boston. Rose Pessin frequently speaks of those days and tells of how the girls on the street where they lived swooned when Bert was around.

In addition to being as handsome as his brothers Bert was suave. He was a charming man. Unschooled, Bert had a command of several languages. He could hold forth on many topics and his speech was mesmerizing. To this day those who knew him as a Mason and as an exceptional orator still remember him.

Bert ran away from home when he was quite young and became a merchant seaman. He traveled the world. If he wanted to leave his ship in New York port before his contract was complete he feigned illness and convinced the medical officer he need to be hospitalized. When he learned his ship had sailed, he could convince the doctors that he had a miraculous recovery, was discharged and made his way home to see his mother and family. Eventually Bert returned home, became a hairdresser and called himself Monsieur Albert d’Espagnol. He catered to a society crowd in his Sherbrooke Street Salon.

He retired from hairdressing, married Miriam Issenman and became a clothing merchant. He prospered, sold his St Hubert Street Store and administered some family real estate.

The Masonic Order was his passion and gave him an audience for his talent as a public speaker. He achieved the highest office in Quebec. His other love was liberal politics and he was active in Mount Royal where he helped elect Pierre Eliot Trudeau. * Sadly, Bert died of heart disease when a relatively young man.

*Peter sent this note about his Dad. “He got involved in politics when Leon Crestohl MP (Cartier) asked me to help him in 1963. I recommended my Dad. Leon grabbed him for that campaign. Crestohl died in the middle of the campaign in 1965 and Milton Klein was given the nomination. He won both in 1965 and 1968 and then the riding disappeared in the redistribution that followed. My Dad served both men as party agent and was a major fund distributor for the six ‘English’ ridings in Quebec. He did so with great energy and care. At the end there was $33,000 remaining and when he showed up after the 1968 election to return it, he was told he should keep it as payment for his efforts. He refused saying it was not his. They tried to give him some reward and came up with a post office license. He refused that too. They forced it on him and he gave it to Clayman, the druggist. R.E. (Bob) Giguere, the chief organizer of Quebec for the Liberals told me years later that “…your father is the most honest man I ever met in politics.’ (I don’t know what to make of Giguere’s comment. He subsequently was caught involved in the Skyshops scandal in connection with the Dorval Airport.)”

PETER REGENSTREIF

Peter was a brilliant student. He was a talented pianist. At McGill he was editor of the student McGill Daily. He took his doctorate at Cornell and became Professor at the University of Rochester where he established the Canadian studies program. Peter developed a very sophisticated polling method making possible his forecasting Canadian election results with amazing accuracy. Peter was named teacher of the year several times. Now Professor emeritus, he continues to teach and runs a lobbying firm in Toronto.

MARTIN REGENSTREIF
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In the family tradition, Martin was as handsome and as good humored as his brothers. He was a talented artist who studied in New York. To support his family he was a commercial artist and designed many of the leading billboards and packaging for national products. Among them were the highland lassie of Export cigarettes, Gurds Ginger Ale, Nugget shoe polish etc. He is still mentioned on the Internet as having designed Christmas seals for several years.

Martin loved the YMHA. In the early thirties he spent Saturday afternoons painting sets for the Minstrel Show, very popular in those days. He loved volleyball and played regularly. When he could not play in his later years because of a bad back he acted as a referee and continued to be the “life of the party”. He was running for a bus to go to the Y when he was fatally injured in an accident. He died three weeks later, never having regained consciousness.

DR. LORI REGENSTREIF
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Many younger members of this family have done interesting things, gone to interesting places and have had great careers, none more than Lori Regenstreif.

The following is excerpted from an Ontario newspaper (probably from Sudbury).

“When Lori graduated from medical school at the University of Toronto, she packed a spaghetti strainer, and a one cup coffee filter and headed to Inuvik to se the midnight sun.

‘It was the biggest adventure I could imagine and I thought it was the farthest place north I could go, so I just called up and said ‘Do you need a doctor?’

“Regenstreif didn’t just stay to see the sun at midnight; she lived through a month of darkness too.

‘I decided to see one freeze up and one break up. Freeze up is when all the produce has to be flown in,’ Lori explains.’ It’s the hardest thing though, because I am a real vegetable person and then everything is so expensive. You can pay $9 for two liters of milk, or $2 for an apple, or potato, because it’s sold by weight.”

“Regenstreif is a locum, or more properly, a locum tenens, refers to a person temporarily holding the place, or office of another.”…..

‘I just look at a map, phone the medical center, and ask for a job. There are too few locums and the need is enormous.’….

“As a locum, Regenstreif has not only felt Inuvik’s midnight sun, she has survived a medivac crash while transporting medical supplies to her posting in northern B.C. and trekked seven hours on a llama with supplies for her stint in Nepal.

“On this morning she is in Gore Bay on Manitoulin Island, about 180 kilometers from Sudbury.

‘When I walked in at 8:30, the first thing they asked me is how I fell about drawing blood, most GPs don’t draw blood, at least not in the cities. They also don’t set bones, or pull fishhooks out of eyelids or deliver babies.

‘In rural communities you’re everything. There’s no back-up support. I’ve also trained as an obstetrician, which makes me extremely valuable because fewer and fewer doctors are delivering babies.”

“Regenstreif says that the fear of being alone and without back-up are two of the barriers that keep young doctors from accepting locums more readily.

‘Invariably, you’re going to face situations that you’re not equipped to deal with and you can only do your best. Also, in medical school they don’t teach you to ask for help. You’re supposed to know what to do. I’ve learned to call doctors at hospitals and ask them for advice.’

Joel Regenstreif

Joel is an engineer, living in Edmonton and involved in the oil business. He is an active runner.

Arthur Regenstreif

Had HAE. Arthur, the youngest of this family was about five years old when his father died. He was a very bright man who led the Province in matriculation exams. His name was among the first on the Scholarship Honour Board in the old Baron Byng High School. His brothers and particularly Martin made sure that Arthur went to college. He graduated in Pharmacy and was the first professional in the family. Arthur operated drug stores on Laval Avenue corner of Duluth under the name Arthur Your Druggist. He later operated a second store on the lower Main. This became the source of some trouble. Arthur then operated a ladies wear store on St Hubert St until the early fifties when he returned to Pharmacy at the then Laurentien Hotel.

Arthur was a shy man. He had a great mind and was a prodigious pinochle player. He was part of a group that comprised Uncle Itz Blumer, Joe Peritz and Zisu Goldsmith among others. As well, he played Bridge and played it well.

Renee writes, “He was a devoted and loving husband, father and grandfather.”

He died a young man of ALS.

Joy Regenstreif Ain
(click on photo to enlarge)

Joy was the younger of Arthur’s two daughters. She died at home on Monday, April 12, 2004 of a brain tumor, diagnosed about six months prior.

Joy had a remarkable personality and she was at the center of her family. She made it work

Joy was a lover. She loved life. She loved Aaron, her husband of about thirty-five years. She loved her children, Bobby and Andy and had a unique relationship with each of them. She loved Gina Bobby’s wife and Stacie Andy’s wife. She adored her grandchildren and made them central to her family. She loved her sister Renee and her family. She loved her in-laws, the late Joe and Fay Ain and she nurtured them. She loved Aaron’s brother and sister and their families and they made Joy central to their existence. She loved the cousins with whom she had close friendships. She loved to travel and to entertain. She was gracious in her home to her guests and to her friends and relatives.

Joy’s passing leaves a void, an abyss in the hearts of all who were privileged to be part of her life.


This document was prepared by Albert (Boomie) Regenstreif with contributions from cousins who were credited in the text.

Last update April 2004. Additional contributions are solicited and will be included in future updates.

Last update January 17, 2011
Additional contributions are solicited and will be included in updates.