Vancouver philanthropist, businessman and billionaire Joe Segal has died at the age of 97.
He leaves behind his wife of over 70 years, Rosalie Sehgal, four children, 11 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.
“He cared for every member of his family so deeply,” said Sehgal’s friend Ezra Schenken, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver. On the coast Host Gloria Makarenko.
Segal, who was born in Vagreville, Alta, was a self-made billionaire who got his start in the business at age 14, selling frozen fish by bicycle from door to door after his father’s death.
After serving in World War II, he opened an Army Surplus business in Vancouver, which turned into a Fields department store. He then bought out the Zellers and eventually traded it for a stake in Hudson’s Bay.
Over the past decades, he has been primarily involved in property development with his company, Kingswood Capital Corporation.
He visited the Four Seasons Hotel, which closed in 2020, where he struck some of the biggest business deals of his career, including the 1988 acquisition of Block Brothers Realty, which turned him into a real estate magnate.
In 1992, he received the Order of BC, and a year later he was awarded the Order of Canada.
In 2017, a mental health and addiction center was opened in Sehgal’s name after he donated $12 million for its construction in 2010. The total capital cost of the Joseph & Rosalie Segal Family Center was $82 million.
Sehgal was the chancellor of Simon Fraser University for six years and served on the school’s board for 12. In 2005, the Segal Graduate School of Business in downtown Vancouver was named in recognition of Segal and his contributions to the university.
‘A family man’
Peter Legge, president and CEO of independent publishing company Canada Wide Media, said he shared several luncheons with Segal over four decades, at which Segal would advise Legge on how to handle personal and business issues.
Sehgal gave so much advice, in fact, that Legg wrote a book about the growth of Sehgal’s business empire and the knowledge he shared over the years, titled Who . lunch with,
“The influence he has had on my life, in shaping my character… is huge,” Legge said.
He says that his love and commitment to Rosalie will be what he remembers most about his friend.
“You could tell he loved her,” she said.
“He was a family man.”