Julius Zell (1895-1976)

Julius Zell was born in 1895 in Lemberg, a city in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He had three brothers: Harry, Dan, and Milton. They had a half-sister, Rose, who had moved to the United States where she met and married Mike Silverman. Julius was eager to as well, and in 1909, at age 14, his father put him on a boat to the United States. 

Julius arrived in New York City where the Hebrew Immigration Aid Society (HIAS) helped find him a job. So that he could attend night school, Julius held only day jobs, working in three different restaurants during the day and attending classes for two hours every night. His brother Harry joined him in 1911 and they moved to Portland, Oregon to be near their sister Rose. Julius worked for her husband Mike in his store, the Gem Jewelry Company, which sold glasses, suitcases, leather goods, and umbrellas. When Mike and Rose moved to Everett, Washington, Julius and Harry took over the store and renamed it Zell Brothers. 

After the First World War, Julius traveled back to Lemberg to help his mother and two other brothers, Dan and Milton, move to the United States. As a result of the war, all of his family’s property had been confiscated, and his father died before he was able to return to Lemberg. 

In 1917 Harry married Hanna Freudenstein, whom he had met three years earlier while visiting Rose and Mike in Everett. As a result of that union, Julius met Hanna’s sister Lillian. Julius and Lillian were married in 1922. They had two sons, Martin and Alan.

Julius was a member of the Concordia Club, B’nai B’rith, Beth Israel, Tualatin Golf Club, and was president of the Jeweler’s Association. He was also active in the Civic Theater and raised money for the United Jewish Appeal and the Jewish Community Center.