Paul Walter Lavender (1911-2005)

Paul Walter Lavender (born Lewandowski) was born on February 10, 1911 in Kassel, Germany. His parents, Jacob and Lina Lewandowski had three other children: Herbert, Irma, and Paul’s fraternal twin brother, Hans. His sister died when he was five years old, and his father died in 1936. Paul’s mother and his brother, Hans, died in the Holocaust – one in Auschwitz, one in Sobibor. His older brother, Herbert, fled first to Holland, then France, and eventually to Switzerland where he spent the rest of his life with his family. 

In 1933, when Paul was 22 years old, he was fired from his job as a glass, china, and housewares buyer for a department store in Koblenz, Germany. Fleeing growing antisemitism in Germany, he fled to Holland. There he became a peddler of coffee and tea, selling groceries door to door from a cart, mostly to other German refugees. 

In 1935, Paul married Edith Rosenthal, and in 1937 they boarded the ship Ansonia bound for the United States. When they arrived at Ellis Island, Paul changed their name from Lewandowski to Lavender, like his uncle who had preceded them to the United States. 

Paul and Edith settled first in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where Paul worked at Gimbel’s department store before becoming the office manager for a welding plant. In 1946, following family, the Lavenders moved to Portland, Oregon. 

In 1947 Paul landed a job with Zell Bros. Jewelers, and he spent 34 years building its china, glassware, and silver departments. He retired in 1970 and turned to writing, eventually assembling his work in a book called, “The Cry of the Humble: Vignettes from a Life Well Lived.” 

Paul and Edith had two daughters: Eleonore Ruth Lavender and Fay Toni Lavender-Levoy.

Paul died at 93, on January 25th, 2005, long after writing his own eulogy, a family tradition started in 1915. He is buried at the Ahavai Sholom Cemetery.

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