Linda Veltman (b. 1943)

Linda Popick Veltman was born in 1943 in Portland to Rae and Hy Popick. She was the product of a “mixed marriage,” a father from Russia and a mother from the Isle of Rhodes. Linda’s Sephardic grandfather, Avram Honeo, was the spiritual leader for many years at Congregation Ahavath Achim. The family alternated and blended their traditions, splitting their time between congregations Shaarie Torah, Ahavath Achim, and Beth Israel.

Linda and her sister, Susan (Mosler), grew up in northeast Portland and graduated from Grant High School. She belonged to the Jewish high school sororities Queen Esther’s Daughters, K’maia and B’nai B’rith Club. Linda went to University of Washington, she met her husband Larry Veltman the summer after her freshman year, when they were both counselors at B’nai B’rith Camp. It took Larry just 10 days to decide that she was the one.

She transferred to Portland State University where he was in school and they married in 1965. Linda took classes in shorthand and business machines, and worked as a secretary at OHSU after graduation. She did transcription work from home after her first child, Amy, was born. Linda’s husband Larry was an obstetrician and gynecologist, and as there was no mohel in Portland, he trained to do brit milah.

The family moved to California, where they lived for 10 years, where their second daughter Julie was born. Linda began a long career of volunteerism, beginning with the City of Hope in Los Angeles. Then she served as a precinct captain with George McGovern’s campaign, with daughter Julie in tow at her meetings and rallies. When Larry went into the service and the family moved onto the Vanderberg Airforce base, Linda volunteered as the Administrative assistant for the Red Cross.

Back in Portland in the mid-1970s, she joined speakers’ bureau for the Cancer Society and also joined the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) and Junior League, both training organizations for new volunteers. These connections impressed upon Linda the knowledge that women could make a difference when they were willing to be proactive. 

Linda was treasurer of NCJW when the bequest by Florence May provided the seed money for the May apartments and for hiring a Jewish studies professor at Reed College. During that period, she met the men who were also volunteering and joined them on the building committee for the May apartments, 

This led to many years of serving on the boards of Cedar Sinai, JFCS, the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland, where she served on the Allocations committee and as treasurer, and the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education.

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