Bill Nightingale

Bill Nightingale was born in 1924 in Klobuck, Poland, the youngest of seven children. He lived a comfortable life with his large, loving family. Prior to the war, Bill worked as an apprentice in his father’s shoe-making shop. During the Holocaust, Bill endured unimaginable horrors in five different slave labor camps. He lost most of his family and all his possessions.

In 1947, two years after the war ended, Bill was granted the right to emigrate from Poland to Canada. Not knowing a word of English and with only the clothes on his back, he began to rebuild his life. He temporarily settled in Northern Ontario where he worked as a manual woodcutter.

Moving to Toronto in 1950, Bill returned to work as a shoemaker in his own shop. After he married Frances Goldman, the couple moved to London, Ontario, in 1952 to start a family. They were blessed with two children, Howard and Rochelle. In London, Bill went into business with a relative at a grocery store. He worked at the grocery store as a butcher until the grocery store was sold. In 1971, Bill opened up Shopwise, a small but successful department store where he spent the remainder of his working life. When his wife fell ill in 1998, he decided it was time to retire and look after her. After his wife’s passing in 1999, Bill sold the store and moved to the GTA to be closer to his five grandchildren.

At 89 years old, Bill is a role model for his grandchildren. He is always smiling and courteous to everyone. A very active and fit man, he has gained notoriety in the Jewish seniors’ community for his dancing skills. Nicknamed “Happy Feet,” Bill often is complimented for his nimble footwork, many even asking to dance with him. Very generous and appreciative of the life he has, Bill is very close with his family, has many close friends, and enjoys a joyful life with his companion, Surely, of almost 10 years. Although he has been through unspeakable hardships in his life, he continues to live a positive, energetic, and inspirational life.