Harry Gevurtz (1897-1986)

Harry Gevurtz was born in Portland on January 8, 1897 to Isaac and Cecelia Gerson Gevurtz. His parents met in Oregon and were married by Rabbi Jacob Bloch at Temple Beth Israel in 1986. He had two brothers: Louis and Milton. He also had twin sisters: Lillian (Brandt) and Fanny (Crohn). He went to Ladd Elementary School, Lincoln High School, and to Reed College. 

During the First World War he served in the Coast Artillery Corps as an enlisted man at Fort Stevens, where he contracted spinal meningitis and nearly died. From 1921 to 1937 he was in the wholesale men’s work clothing business, Gevurtz Brothers, with his brother Milton. After three years of semi-retirement he joined the furniture business headed by his brother Louis and remained, in various executive positions, for 30 years until his official retirement in 1970. 

Harry was extremely active in civic and religious work for most of his life. He taught Sunday School at Temple Beth Israel, participated in athletics at the JCC, and served for many years as an advisor to the AZA. He belonged to the B’nai B’rith Lodge and was president in 1945. He was twice president of Temple Beth Israel, from 1959 to1960 and again from 1966 to 1967. He was also president of Beth Israel’s Men’s Club in 1942. From 1962 to 1964 he was president of the Pacific Northwest Region of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and a member of the National Board. He was active in the National Conference of Christians and Jews, served on its board, and was Jewish co-chairman between 1959 and 1962. He married Pearl Baron in 1924, whom he met while teaching religious school at Temple Beth Israel. They had one child, Joannie, born in 1940.