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View Tree for Jack NigoffJack Nigoff (b. August 17, 1917)

Jack Nigoff (son of Louis Nigoff and Rose Ryfke Kacze) was born August 17, 1917 in E. 55 Street Hospital, Cleveland, Ohio. He married Jean Emma Walters on January 22, 1942, daughter of George Earl Walters and Goldie Altshuler.

 Includes NotesNotes for Jack Nigoff:


[Jack Nigoff taped interview 1-2-89]

Jack want to Lafayette school until the 6th grade. It was a long walk to school. Lafayette school was built after the Collinwood fire. Each class room had two doors for easy exit.

Jack got a saxophone when he was 10. Jack was in the orchestra and played.

Jack remembered listened to the Hoover inauguration while in school.

Like to go on hikes to Shaker Lakes (Shaker Heights in Cleveland) with friends, taking their lunch.

Rose took Jack to the movies on Saturday after sax lessons then when to eat. Louis was working. Also saw vaudeville for 5 cents.

Fought a lot with his brother Babe. Couldn't remember why. Nothing outstanding.

On Friday nights Rose would serve gefilte fish, chicken soup, chicken and noodles.

In 1931 jack joined the YMCA at $5 per year. He swam, wrestled and hiked. Louis would drop him off on the way to the store.

Rose took Jack to the Yiddish theaters where all plays were tragedies or so it seemed like they were. Jack spoke mainly Yiddish until he was five.

Rose learned of Gershon Unegoffsky dying before Jacks Bar Mitzvah. Rose didn't tell Louis until after. Jack went to Hebrew lessons lessons, but was a poor student and didn't like the classes. He then took Bar mitzvah lessons from a Rabbi.

Jacks Bar Mitzvah was quite elaborate on Saturday morning. Reception was on 105th street at a Kosher restaurant. They had a sit down dinner which was uncommon for the time. It was big and cost a lot. Jack gave 2 speeches first in English then in Yiddish. He received lots of presents including 10 pens and pencil sets and $200-300 in cash. Louis gave him a watch which was later stolen while in gym glass.

Jack went to the following schools, Dyke, Lafayette, Alexander Hamilton then John Adams. He graduated in 1935.

Jack said his parents never showed affection. ( He mentions on the tape not like Betty and me who are affectionate LN 2-2000).

Landsman would visit once in a while. One in particular was a fellow named Challif who was from Russia. He was a "no-good-nik" who came from the other side of the river*. Grandma Rose called him "Prosta" which meant common.

* I found Stepan on a map ant there is a town, Kalynivka, on the other side of the Horyn River. It appears to be a much smaller town. [Lowell Nigoff 5-10-2002]

There was also a border named "crazy Victor". [Jack only mentioned him. I'll try and find out more later.]

At that time there were lots of boys and girl club. They would get together and go on outings or picnics. Sometimes they would rent a truck with as many as 20 couples, the girls would pack a lunch. They would go to one of the area small lakes and swim and boat.

They has almost weekly parties. They also went to night clubs, mostly with other boys where they would see a floor show and danced with girls.

In 1932 Jack joined the Console of Alliance Clubs. Jack was ousted for not attending meetings after his father died.

Jack formed a club with his friend Normie Brown. Jack was socially accepted and offered membership in other clubs.

Jack went camping with the guys.

Jack lent Normie Brown his car when Normie eloped. To insure Normie didn't speed, Jack adjusted the carburetor rod so that the car would not go over 45-50 mph.

There were no jobs available during that time. Al Babin (Babisky) got Jack a part time job working in a lamp factory. Al stayed there for 10 years and received promotions.

Jack also once worked for a roofer for five days for five dollars. He also worked for Highland Furnace for one winter.

Print shop

Harold Volsky and Marv Schumer had a print shop. Marv left and Jack went in. It was a three hundred dollar investment and Jack just made enough to get by. Harold then got out. Jack had the print shop until May of 1942 four months after getting married. He worked in the print shop six days a week.


Jacks draft number was called in May and he was classed as "1B". He Went so far as to be told he was leaving and served a meal prior to leaving. He was deferred to "limited" at the last minute.

He went to work at the Aluminum Company of America.
While there he worked on parts that went into the turbocharger for a P38 plane.
Meeting Jeanne (Late 1940)

Harold Volsky and Sam ? were limousine drivers for a gambling club (Esther (Altshuler) Friedman frequented club). They double dated, Sam took out Doris Freidman (married Sid Paige. My 1st cousin once removed LN) and Harold took Jeanne. Harold was more interested in Doris. Harold took Jack over to visit Doris and Jeanne. Jack stayed in the car while Harold went up. Jack was then sent for to meet Jeanne. Jeanne wasn't particularly interested at first. Jack called Jeanne the next day and the romance started.

Jeanne was always more of a romantic and remembered anniversary of their first date, first I love you, first kiss and would get upset when Jack didn't remember. Jeanne was impressed with Jacks intelligence especially about current events.

Jack first met Golde (Altshuler) Walters in Cleveland.

Jeanne went back to Monongahela and they wrote letters.

Jack went to Monongahela to visit Jeanne and Jeane's cousin Blanche.

Jack was afraid to get married as he wasn't economically secure. Rose felt sorry for his and told him to go ahead. Rose gave him a diamond (from her ring).

Golde and Earl came to Cleveland to meet Jack and his family.


Jeanne wanted to get married on January 21 (why ? LN) and Jack had a printing job he had to get ready so they got married on the 22nd. Just prior to the actual marriage there was a conversation regarding the ability of the rabbi to do the marriage as Jeanne's father wasn't Jewish. It was decided that because Jeannes mother was Jewish the rabbi could proceed. The ceremony was performed in Roses living room in front of the fireplace.

George Walters (My grandfather LN) didn't attend the wedding. "He wasn't too interested" (Jack).

Minnie (Altshuler) Groonis (My grand Aunt LN) made cookies and coffee for the reception.


They went to Detroit to visit Jacks relatives. They were treated very well and received $80 in wedding gifts, which was a fortune.

When J & J first married they would go to Normie Browns' and play poker.

War End

After the bomb was dropped the next day Jack was laid off at the Aluminum Company.
He then got a job selling punch boards for about a year.

Harold Zimmerman offered him a job in a wholesale drugstore warehouse, Empire Drug. where he worked for two years.

Lamp company

Bought out a supplier stock of lamps and resold them. They had Disney designs, five different styles. There were no new products. Jack then assembled a lamp and sold them. It was a three way with a single bulb, then two or a night light.

J & J lived on 125th street (this is at a different apartment then later) in a basement apartment that had little heat and was rat infested.

The second apartment on 125th street was better. We lived on the third floor. Rent was about $45 month. Jack was making about $60 a week at the Aluminum Company.

Things were still pretty cheap, bagels 2 for 5 nickel then they went to 3 for a dime.

Jeanne worked for a time at Halles' department store, in the mail room.

Lowell's born

Before I was born (Lowell) Jeanne had a number of miscarriages (I think 2). Dr. Charles Glover (Aunt Ems husband) prescribed vitamins, liver pills and rest. He believed Jeanne was anemic because she was so thin. Dr. Glover was a GP with Grace Hospital ( on Cleveland's west side) Jeanne was treated very well while in the hospital because of her uncle Charlie.

Grace hospital was small with an old house attached for offices.

Mrs. Cohen (no relation) who, lived across the hall went with J & J to the hospital. It was a false labor. The next morning J& J went back.

During the birth Jack waited in the waiting room for a long time. He finally saw Dr Glover with his coat leaving the hospital and asked him what was going on. Dr. Glover told him he was a father. Jack phoned Aunt Minnie (Altshuler) Groonis to tell her only to find she already knew.

Jeanne stayed in the hospital about 5 days.

Golde and Earl Walters lived in Cleveland for a while and stayed in the apartment for a short time. They got an apartment on Lakeshore and Earl worked for Shuler Baby Walker. See *********** Altshuler.

Jack had a cleaning business. He had a girl do telephone solicitations over the phone for dry cleaning pick up and delivery. He had a panel truck that he used in the business. I remember using this truck to go camping at Pymatuning Lake in Ohio. While driving [I believe LN] home on evening he rolled the truck. During that period pants were 55 cents to clean and suits were a $1.10.

"Not much happened from 1945-1950" (Jack)

Moved to Euclid

The family mover to 26870 Drakefield, in Euclid, Ohio. Jeanne wanted to move. The house cost $11,950. The payments were $73 per month. The highest gas bill was $16.50.

Jack went to work for Tapco during the Korean War, running a radial drill making jet engine parts. He worked third shift. It later changed its name to Thompson Products.

Tapco had a number of lay offs. During a lay off Jack went to work for Krun Chee Potato Chip Company later Sunshine Biscuit. He worked in the warehouse, about 60 hours a week. Tapco called him back and although the pay was better he stayed with Krun Chee.

We mover from Euclid to 1859 South Compton in Cleveland Heights in 1959. The house cost $19,000 and the monthly payments were $113. Jeanne had gone to work For Ozzie Stadler (husband of first cousin twice removed of Lowell) as a dental assistant.

[Jack Nigoff taped interview 1-2-89]


Jack (6 years my senior) would visit with Aunt Rose [Nigoff] and Babe [Albert Nigoff] until he married Jeanne [Nigoff]. Then we saw each other infrequently. Jack was always pleasant to me - was a good dancer (he told me) - could be a tease at times.

[Letter from Shirley Kessler Schreidell to Lowell Nigoff 3-31-00]


More About Jack Nigoff and Jean Emma Walters:
Marriage: January 22, 1942

Children of Jack Nigoff and Jean Emma Walters are:
  1. +Lowell Reed Nigoff, b. May 19, 1945, Grace Hospital, Cleveland, Ohio.
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