Remembering Two Area Business Icons

Vince Rosati and Bill Chisholm
Left Their Mark on Their Community

Story by Matthew St. Amand

In the region’s construction and automotive sectors, there are two names that have each left an indelible mark on the region’s business landscape. This year, the community mourns the loss of these two remarkable individuals who dedicated their lives to entrepreneurship, family, and philanthropy: Vince Rosati and Bill Chisholm. Their stories are tales of humble beginnings, hard work, and an unwavering commitment to their families and communities.

Vincenzo “Vince” Bruno Rosati
May 9, 1945 – September 5, 2023

At the age of eighteen, Vince Rosati embarked on a life-changing adventure from Pastena, Italy, armed with nothing but a dream, a suitcase, and eighty-five dollars in his pocket. His arrival in Canada on Saint Anthony’s Day, June 13, 1963, marked the beginning of an extraordinary journey that would serve as inspiration for future generations.

Vince and his wife, Olivia, transformed a modest apartment closet into the foundation of what is became the renowned Rosati Group, a second-generation leader in design-build construction and real estate development. The legacy they created is a testament to Vince’s ceaseless work ethic and his unwavering love for his family.

Despite his official “retirement” in 1999, Vince’s heart remained entwined with the company. He relished hearing about new projects and took immense pride in the firm’s contributions to the city. His passion for construction was matched only by his love for family. Vince cherished the memories of taking his sons to construction sites, and he made sure not to miss any of his grandchildren’s important achievements.

As the third generation enters the family business, they carry with them the lasting memories and life lessons imparted to them by Vince. He instilled values that will shape the company’s future for years to come.

Vince, however, was more than a successful businessman; he was a pillar of the community. His dedication to various organizations, including the Ciociaro Club, the Italian Canadian HandiCapable Association, and the Ontario Masonry Association, earned him numerous accolades, including the 2003 Queens Jubilee Medal and the Excellence in Family Business award in 2002.

Together with Olivia, Vince was named Italians of the Year, received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Windsor Chamber of Commerce, and was honored as Outstanding Philanthropists. Their philanthropic contributions extended to the Novelletto-Rosati Complex, Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association, Sacred Heart Church, Transition to Betterness, and more. 

Vince Rosati’s impact on the business world, the community of Windsor/Essex, and the lives he touched will be forever remembered. He build his legacy on his own terms and it will continue to inspire generations. As he would often say: “Keep on trucking!”

William “Bill” Chisholm
September 13, 1932 – July 03, 2023

Bill Chisholm’s story is one of resilience, hard work, and an abiding love for his community. Born in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, on September 13, 1932, Bill’s deep-rooted East coast heritage was a source of pride throughout his life. In 1942, he moved with his family to Windsor, and Bill considered the city his home for the next eighty-one years.

From a young age, Bill embraced the values of entrepreneurship and going above and beyond. He started out as a newspaper seller, worked as a milkman, and even became a brake tester. His relentless pursuit of knowledge and self-improvement led him to executive positions within Chrysler Canada. Eventually, he realized his dream of owning a dealership, establishing Rose City Ford in 1981.

Throughout his life, Bill never forgot the importance of giving back to his community. In 1964, he became a founding member and lifelong supporter of Charity House, which eventually became known as Brentwood Recovery Home. His contributions to the community extended to his induction into the Ontario Special Olympics Hall of Fame and his role as a founding member of the Automotive Business School of Canada at Georgian College.  Bill’s caring nature was also reflected in small everyday giving and thoughtful gestures that many friends, customers, and employees would often speak of.  He would help anyone he could, and his assistance took many forms; whether imparting words of wisdom, discounting an invoice, or supporting a friend in need; he was available with grace and understanding.

In 2017, Bill Chisholm’s legacy was further enhanced with the naming of the William F. Chisholm branch of the Windsor Public Library. This branch houses the city’s automotive archives, a fitting tribute to his passion for the automotive industry.

Golf was Bill’s third love in life, after his family and community. He relished his many days on the golf course as a member of Essex Golf and Country Club in Windsor and Red Mountain Ranch in Mesa, Arizona. Bill’s love for golf served as a metaphor for the life lessons he held dear: dressing to impress, being a gentleman in sport and business, waiting his turn, and embracing the unpredictability of life, much like the game of golf itself. He cherished the friendships he forged on the golf course, which became lasting bonds.

Away from the golf course, Bill was a football fan who enjoyed watching games and following his favourite team of the moment. He also loved the challenge of crossword puzzles, and had a flair for finding shortcuts in everything he did. His early adoption of “best practices” and technology that improved efficiency reflected his forward-thinking approach to life. 

When asked, Bill would say his greatest success was his family. He and his wife, Amelia, raised six children, imparting lessons of resilience and integrity that will continue to be passed down to through the generations. In the words of J.D. Salinger: “You’re a real prince. You’re a gentleman and a scholar, kid.”

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