Phil Blank (1922-2009)

Phil Blank was the last of seven children and the only child born in America to parents who came to Portland in 1914 via New York from Blagapol, Russia (near Kiev). They arrived with five sons: Sam, Abe, Joe, Lou, Ted, and one daughter, who died in Portland at age 11. Phil, who born in Portland in 1922, was raised by his older brother. His father died when he was 16. The family lived at NE 41st and Glisan in Laurelhurst and his brothers took him daily to South Portland to be with his aunts: his mother’s sister, Fannie Tinkelman and his father’s sister, who was married to Mendel Schneiderman. He grew up in the Jewish community of South Portland even while living in Laurelhurst and attending Grant High School.

Phil started college at Reed and then left to join the navy. He married Fay Mills of San Francisco in 1945. They spent a year with her parents and then moved to Portland, where they had three sons: Bruce, Owen, and Fred. After his navy service, Phil started a radio repair shop, then branched into installations and sales of high fidelity systems, radios, and televisions, adding small appliances, and finally, furniture by the 1960s, when he had stores in Oregon and Washington. He was involved in various local civic and Jewish organizations, including the Salvation Army, Jewish Federation, and Robison Home until his death in 2009.