George Fendel (b. 1942)

George Fendel was born on August 29, 1942 in Portland, Oregon to Joseph and Gladys (Lieberman) Fendel. The family lived in Grant Park. George and his older sister Betty Lynn (Menashe) and younger brother Michael Richard attended Fernwood Grade School and Grant High School. Their father co-owned Standard TV and Appliance in SE Portland and their mother was nurse.

George’s father’s family was very active in Congregation Neveh Zedek and George was bar mitzvahed there by Rabbi Kleinman. In 1956, the family moved to Congregation Ahavai Sholom because that congregation had more opportunities for young people. When the two congregations merged, they continued as members of Neveh Shalom. George began going to Camp Solomon Schechter when it opened and was also a Brandeis Camp Institute participant. He went on to be a counselor and song-leader at Solomon Schechter.

George’s musical career began early, with piano lessons from the age of six and then guitar. While he earned his living working in insurance, the rest of his life has been spent making and appreciating music, particularly jazz music. As a disc jockey, radio engineer, and as a performer, George has had a long career in promoting jazz. He has had jazz programs on OPB, KKUL, KMHD, and as a popular jazz pianist, George made his mark on the Portland Jazz scene over the decades.

George met his wife Laurie on a blind date in Los Angeles. They married on December 28, 1968. They raised their three children, Marc, Aliza, Reyna (m. Jeffrey Zack), in SW Portland and at Congregation Neveh Shalom.