George Bodner (1919-2018)
George Bodner was born on April 13, 1919 in Portland, to Jacob and Hannah Mihlstin Bodner. He had two brothers, Herbert and Robert. George’s father owned his own tailoring business on NW 23rd and Savier, and as a child George lived in a mixed gentile/Jewish neighborhood behind the tailor shop. The family moved to New York when he was six, but George (who didn’t like the city) came back to Portland in 1939 to go to the University of Oregon.
George’s family followed him back to Portland and his father soon fell ill. George befriended Morton Goodman, who was his father’s doctor. George planned on attending Medical School after graduation, and was accepted at Northwestern but decided against going because of his father’s illness. George states that he was dropped “without courtesy” by the University of Oregon Medical School application due to quotas. So at Mort’s suggestion he enrolled in dental school. In 1943 he married Harriet Goodman, the niece of Mort Goodman and then George left for service in the Navy in China during the Second World War. In 1946 he returned to Portland and went back into the dental practice of Saul Robinson. The Bodner’s then built a house in the Burlingame neighborhood and joined Congregation Beth Israel. They had two children, Jack Bodner and Helene Jasper.