Inspiration through Adversity
Gerald Ziedenberg was born in Toronto on October 22, 1939. He had a serious arm defect called Erb’s palsy. His immigrant parents provided a foundation for his life, but school and upper-level education were not encouraged. Despite his weight and arm defect, Gerald Ziedenberg struggled and managed to get through pharmacy school. He went on to have a highly successful career with Shoppers Drug Mart, where he eventually simultaneously had three very profitable downtown drug stores. He efficiently managed these three stores with twelve full-time pharmacists, two hundred employees, and sales in excess of 35 million dollars annually. Gerald completed several marathons and frequently bicycled more than 100 miles a day. As he approached retirement, he was struck down by extremely severe osteoarthritis, and this completely curtailed all his physical activities. His arm defect compounded his problems. After six major surgeries, he was finally approaching a complete cure.
During these nine long years of pain and frustration, Gerald returned to the University of Toronto, where he graduated with high distinction in 2003, with a BA in modern history. This was upgraded to an Honors BA in modern history in 2005 (also with high distinction). Gerald won a scholarship for being the “best part-time graduate history student” in 2008. Gerald is now approaching the finalization of his master’s degree in modern history at the University of Toronto. In addition, Gerald has made himself into a public speaker and consultant. He frequently speaks and organizes programs at Beth Tikvah Synagogue. He has appeared on nine different cruises, lecturing on historical people and events of interest as well as destination ports.
Gerald also spent large amounts of time lecturing and consulting to Superpharm, a large Israeli drugstore chain and sister company to Shoppers Drug Mart. In the face of severe pain and lack of mobility, Gerald still has made significant contributions to the Jewish community of Toronto and his synagogue. In spite of all the pain, which was excruciating at times, Jerry managed to travel to almost all the places he dreamt of as a child. After a long and successful career as an entrepreneurial pharmacist, Gerald truly managed inspiration through the adversity of his senior years, when he virtually lost a decade of his life.
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Jerry the Child
The Marriage 3
Success Continues at Shoppers Drug Mart 8
The Children 9
Born to Run 11
The Start of Adversity 16
Operations Continued 19