Happy 85th to Nuge Schneider, Our Late Honorary Founder
By: Jeff Pollock
Though hard to believe, Mr. Nugent Schneider would have turned 85 years old today.
I first met Mr. Schneider in his office during the summer almost a decade ago. He told me, "just call me Nuge". The office had a corner view of Lake Ontario, which encapsulated the east end of Toronto. It was fitting for his personality.
I’ve met lots of people in the financial services industry. Everyone is unique in their own way. But never have I met someone in this industry that I truly considered to be “larger than life.”
If you never met him, believe me when I say, Nuge was larger than life.
During our first interaction, I liked him right away. Nuge was a storyteller, he was funny, and he would drop a (highly inappropriate) accent quite regularly. The first time we met, I mentioned a market trend I was monitoring. Nuge threw his glasses on the table and shouted in a very aggressive Texan-like roar, “Mahhh dadda told me the market is alllllllllllllways right!!! It’s the interpretation that’s wrong!”
About a month or two later, the phone buzzed one morning. I looked at the call display, which read “N SCHNEIDER”. Yikes, the front desk clearly sent this one to the wrong person.
I cleared my throat and said, “Jeff Pollock speaking.” The person on the other line said – after also clearing his throat – “Nugent Schneider speaking.” We both laughed and immediately became good friends.
During the next few years, we exchanged phone calls several times per day.
On one occasion, Nuge asked if I would like to take a vacation with him down in Sarasota. My response, though not all that sure about how serious he was about the invitation: "absolutely!"
The next thing I knew, I received a phone call from a lady saying, “I’m Mr. Schneider’s travel agent. He has an opening for ten days in April. He said to invite a friend and Nuge will pay for the travel expense."
After that first day in 40-degree Celsius Sarasota, Nuge and I watched standup comedy in his den until about 1am. He would press “pause” intermittently and add his own flavour to the jokes being told.
Nuge’s jokes were probably never appropriate (during any time in history), but they were always funnier than what was said on the broadcast.
That was April 2019. Fast-forward to December.
I found Nuge a birthday gift, which was a cigar box, for his 81st birthday. Nuge loved to smoke the good stuff. He invited me to a lunch at his home on Boxing Day that year. Nuge's daily phone calls stopped rather abruptly in September, right after he fell ill, so I knew the situation wasn't good. However, I wanted to give him a gift that I was confident he would appreciate.
The box I ordered was gold-plated and the inscription read (all in caps, which I thought was best given the personality): “NUGE”.
The lunch was unfortunately cancelled as Nuge wasn't up to it. Nevertheless, I rushed home on Christmas Eve from my job at the time to grab the box so that I could mail it as soon as possible. Pressed for time, I hastily wrote a card that said: “Thank you for your leadership, your mentorship, and most of all your friendship.”
Today would have been Nuge’s 85th birthday. Happy birthday, Mr. Schneider, there will never be another one like you!