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William Seidelman, who was born in Budapest in 1854, came to North America around 1879, eventually arriving in Vancouver by way of Kansas and Seattle. In 1879 he served as a postmaster in the town of Guelph, Kansas. After settling in Vancouver, William married Esther Pearlman [Dalkin] from Winnipeg on August 30th, 1896. In that same year, William opened a general merchandise store in Cedar Cove on the South side of Powell Street at Victoria Drive. In 1900, a post office was opened in the store and Seidelman became Cedar Cove's first postmaster. The Seidelman home was located at 1735 2nd Avenue, East Grandview (the house is still standing today). William and Esther maintained Kashrut and he slaughtered chickens in accordance with the laws of Shechita using a traditional Chalif which is in the possession of the JMABC. Their children were: Edward Joseph [Joe] who was born in 1897; Rachel, [Rae] who was born in 1898; Harry who was born in 1900; and Benjamin [Ben] who was born in 1902. William Jr. [Bill] was born after the father died in 1907. Their mother, Esther, passed away in 1937. William Sr. is buried in the Bikur Cholim Cemetery in Seattle. Esther is buried in the Schara Tzedeck Cemetery in New Westminster.
Joseph, Rachel and Harry attended Macdonald Elementary School. Rachel also attended Seymour and Grandview public schools. All three attended Britannia High School. Joseph went to the University of British Columbia (then a branch of McGill University). At UBC, Joseph joined the Western University Battalion which fought in France in World War I. He saw service along with fellow UBC students. Joseph was killed in the Battle of Passchendaele on October 26, 1917, the first member of Vancouver's Jewish community to give his life for his country. Joseph's name is included on a plaque in the War Memorial Gym at UBC that commemorates those UBC students who fought and gave their lives in World War I.
Harry, at age 17 (1917), joined the Canadian Pacific Ocean Services as a cadet. He sailed the Pacific Ocean on the Empress of Japan and on the RMS Niagara before returning to Vancouver. He subsequently served on the Union Steamship Line that sailed between Vancouver and Alaska. After working for Buckerfields Feed Company, Harry joined the United Milling and Grain Co. Ltd. as a partner. He remained with the United Milling & Grain until 1961 when the company went out of business due to the City of Vancouver expropriating the land for housing.
Harry married Esther Blank of Winnipeg in 1938. Harry and Esther lived in Vancouver and were strong supporters of the Jewish Community Centre and charter members of the Beth Israel Synagogue. Harry died in 1972 and is buried in the Beth Israel Cemetery. Harry's children are Perry Seidelman, the first Jewish vice principal of a high school for the Vancouver School Board and the first Principal of King David High School. Perry lives in Vancouver.
Dr. William (Bill) Seidelman is a retired physician, formerly of the Universities of McMaster and Toronto medical faculties. At the beginning of his career, Bill was the first full-time family physician to practice at the Reach Clinic, one of the earliest walk-in medical clinics in Vancouver. He continues to be a world renowned authority and lecturer on medical ethics as a consequence of his research into the legacy of medicine during the Third Reich. He now resides in Israel with his family.
After high-school, Rachel attended UBC and Normal School and taught for a few years at Strathcona Public School. In 1919 Rachel became involved with the Jewish community and volunteered with Hebrew Aid, B'nai B'rith, the National Council of Jewish Women, and joined the effort to start a Reform Synagogue. Rachel taught English to landed immigrants at night school, played tennis and basketball and later took up golf. Rachel met Dr. William [Bill] Morris at the home of Ruth Mahrer, Rachel's best friend. Rachel and Bill were married in 1925 and lived in Vancouver. Rachel died in 1985 and is buried in the Beth Israel Cemetery. Rachel Morris's [nee Seidelman] daughters are Judy Zaitzow, Dorothy Grad, and Lillian Fryfield, all of whom live in Vancouver.
Ben married Sarah Weis of Winnipeg. Ben and Sarah did not have children and lived at various places throughout B.C. including Port Mellon on the Sunshine Coast and Crofton on Vancouver Island. They eventually moved to Los Angeles to be near Sarah's family. Ben died in 1983.
Bill married Hazel. They lived in Vancouver their entire married life and had one child, Roy, who is living in Summerland B.C. Bill died in 1983, the same year as his brother Ben.
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Jewish Museum and Archives of British Columbia
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Last revised March 17, 2015