Born in Berlin in 1920, Jack emigrated to Canada with his family in 1921 where they settled in Calgary.
Jack Edelson was born October 17, 1920 in Berlin, Germany. He was the only son of Harry and Leah Edelson who moved to Canada in 1921, settling in Calgary in February of that year. Jack attended McDougall School and Central High School in Calgary.
In September 1939, at the age of 18, Jack headed to the army recruitment centre at the Mewata Armouries and, an hour after arriving, he was enlisted.
In 1941, he was assigned to go overseas with the Cape Breton Highlanders and sailed to Aldershot, England where he joined the First Armoured Tank Brigade. Once there, he was transferred to General Headquarters (GHQ), Second Echelon, at Farnham, in Surrey, England, where he was responsible for assembling intelligence information from the field and reporting to the central command in England.
In 1943 his unit was assigned to Italy. Jack traveled to Avellino where his unit set up their headquarters to oversee matters for the Canadian forces in Italy. At GHQ Jack particpated in the almost impossible task of keeping track of thousands of men, supplies and pieces of equipment required for the Italian Campaign.
In Avellino, as Sergeant Major, Jack was president of what was considered the largest Sergeant’s mess in the British Empire. Also in Italy, Jack received a commission in the field that came as a total surprise. One day his Colonel simply called him in and said "I am pleased to tell you that my recommendation to England has been accepted. Now you are an officer." He left the Colonel’s office as a full Lieutenant.
Soon after, Jack witnessed the carnage at the front line when he was transferred to Ortona to relieve another Lieutenant. He spent almost two weeks pinned down by a German cannon which controlled a wide area. He once saw a formation of German prisoners filing down the road to prison camps, with their hands behind their heads. "It was the first time I had seen the Germans. They were just like you and I. They weren't invincible." When VE Day was declared in May, 1945 Jack was in Belgium.
Back in Canada
Following his return to Canada, Jack was transferred to Ottawa and made an acting Captain, responsible for overseeing the movement of military personnel. But, with the war over, he became anxious to pursue a business career and tendered his resignation. He was returned to the rank of Lieutenant and was discharged in April, 1946
On October 28th, 1951 Jack married Rose Goldstep in Vancouver, B.C. He is the proud father of three children and three grandchildren.
Together with Stan Barron, he founded Barron Edelson Insurance in 1949. That business went on to ultimately become Renfrew Insurance Ltd. which, when it celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1999, was the largest independent insurance broker in Alberta.