This is the morning of January 28, 2003, and my name is Naomi Schottenstein.
I’m recording the life, hopefully, some of the life of the exciting person I
have here who’s really lived a full lifetime of very interesting events. Saul
Seigel, S-A-U-L, Seigel, S-E-I-G-E-L, and we’re in the office of the Columbus
Jewish Historical Society at 1175 College Avenue in Columbus, Ohio. Saul, I’m
going to, you know, ask you some questions that are automatically questions that
we ask most of the people and you’re welcome to interject your own ideas
because you’re the one we’re interviewing, as we go along. But I’m trying
to follow somewhat of a form. We’re interviewing you because you’ve had such
an interesting life and you’ve been so much a part of the Columbus community
and you have identified with the Jewish community. Let’s start with your name.
Start at the beginning. Is your full name Saul Seigel as we’ve recorded it?
Seigel: Saul Seigel.
Interviewer: Saul Seigel. Absolutely. I just interviewed Sokol. And was this
your original family name?
Seigel: Yes. My mother and father gave me the name of Saul.
Interviewer: Uh huh. And Seigel is as the original family name?
Interviewer: And . . . .
Seigel: I change my name every so often to protect the innocent.
Interviewer: Oh well, you’ve got to do that too. Where were you born, Saul?
Seigel: I was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, January 7, 1927.
Interviewer: Okay, that was a couple of years ago.
Interviewer: And when you left Johnstown, let’s take us on a ride through
from that point on.
Seigel: That’s why I need that paper.
Interviewer: Oh, okay. Well we’ll come back to that. Do you remember
Seigel: I believe I left Johnstown, or my parents took me away when I was
only about six days old.
Interviewer: Oh, well . . . .
Seigel: I do, I am told I was born in an alley called Brickner Alley. I wasn’t
born in a hospital. But they left very early after I was born.
Interviewer: That was a quick delivery.
Seigel: Yeah, they took me with them.
Interviewer: Well fortunately, they took you with them.
Interviewer: Uh huh. And where did they go from there?
Seigel: I think they went to Des Moines, Iowa, but I’m not sure. That’s
why I need that piece of paper.
Interviewer: Okay. Well let’s go back to, let’s jump forward to Columbus.
How did you come to Columbus and when? Give us that.
Seigel: Well my parents moved to Columbus when my father worked for a
clothing store named Sherman’s Clothing, which was downtown Columbus across
the alley from where Ben Ratner had his sporting goods store between what was
then the Union and Ratner’s Sporting Goods Store. The store was called Sherman’s
Clothing Store. It was similar to Bonds and some of those kinds of clothing
stores. He was the manager and . . . .
Interviewer: Can we pin down that location, I mean, the street kind of?
Seigel: It was on North High Street and the store was on the west side of the
street just north of the Union and south of Ben Ratner’s Sporting Goods store
across the alley. I know I was Bar Mitzvahed in Columbus so I was
thirteen and I went to Franklin Junior High School and I would have to go
backwards to figure out what year that was. It must have been 1940 or 1939. It’s
all on that paper.
Interviewer: Okay, let me stop at this point and collect the information that
we have that’s in the office right next to us. Hold on just a sec. (Pause)
Okay, go ahead.
Seigel: I think I first came to Columbus around 1938 when I was in the fifth
grade at Fair Avenue Elementary School on the city’s old east side. That’s
when I first came to Columbus, when my parents brought me to Columbus. I was an
only child of Herman and Ethel Sherman Seigel and then I went on to attend
Franklin Junior High School and then South High School, the Navy, OSU and then a
year at law school at The Ohio State University after I got my Bachelor of Arts
Degree and after I’d served in the navy.
Interviewer: Okay. We’ve got that all pretty much filled in our background
there. So you really have spent most of your life . . . .
Seigel: Well I was here then for about 25 years and then I went away for 25
years and then I came back in 1974 and I’ve been here as my main residence
until now although Beverly and I had other apartments and residences in New York
City; Boca Raton, Florida; Denver, Colorado; Ames, Iowa; in Europe; in Beverly
Hills, California; and many other cities where I worked.
Interviewer: So you’ve traveled all over . . . .
Seigel: All over the world many times.
Interviewer: And lived, and lived in these different places for a period of
Seigel: When I was on assignments or doing work.
Interviewer: We’re going to talk more about your work in just a little bit.
Can you tell us a little more about your parents, how they came to Johnstown,
Pennsylvania, and about some family members that you remember from that part of
Seigel: Well, I don’t remember a great deal. I know my mother was born in
Johnstown, Pennsylvania in 1902. She was one of 7 children. She only had an
eighth grade education and her father owned a jewelry store. She married my
father in 1925. During the early years of her marriage, they moved around due to
my father’s business. They lived in Cleveland; South Bend, Indiana; Des
Moines, Iowa; and finally came to Columbus. Columbus was the home for my mother
and father then thereafter and I’m the only child. My mother worked with my
dad later, after the clothing business, in a tile and kitchen-remodeling
business, and they, my dad was a partner with Al Solove. My father died in 1974.
My mother was a member of Beth Jacob Congregation and she also was a member of
Temple Tifereth Israel. She later moved to the Heritage House after she was
severely beaten up and robbed in her apartment on Napoleon Avenue. After six
weeks in the hospital; the robber left her tied up and by some miracle, she was
able to untie herself and crawl across the street and get help. Then she had a
chicken bone stuck in her bowel, suffered a ruptured bowel and recovered. She
used to go to Florida for a couple of months in the winter with my dad, later
with friends. She then moved to the Heritage Tower, then later had to move to
Heritage House, although I then moved to Columbus in about 1974.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Saul, you said you were an only child. Your mother came
from a large family. What about your father? Did he come from a large family
Seigel: He had a brother, My Uncle Al, who lived in Savannah, Georgia, and in
Interviewer: And were there cousins that you interacted with or that you kept
in touch with through the years?
Seigel: Not really. I had some cousins but really only heard from them maybe
once or twice a year. I really didn’t keep in touch with any of them because I
was always all over the world and hard to find, I guess.
Interviewer: Uh huh. It sounds like your parents traveled a lot too.
Seigel: Well my dad had several jobs until he and Al Solove opened what was
called City Tile Company at 500 E. Main Street.
Interviewer: Yeah there were two Al Soloves in Columbus, weren’t there?
Seigel: I don’t know. I just knew Al and his wife’s name is Sylvia.
Interviewer: Yeah, I remember they had a store on East Main Street . . . .
Seigel: That was City Tile and my father and Al Solove were partners.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Did you feel like you had a pleasant childhood and do
you remember . . . . . .
Seigel: Yes, well we were poor. I never even had my own bedroom. I slept on a
sofa in the living room. I remember that in Des Moines, Iowa, and I remember it
was very cold there. And then when we moved to Columbus, we lived on Bryden Road
on the corner of Bryden and Linwood on the east side when I went to Fair Avenue
Elementary and Franklin Junior High School. And then we moved to Driving Park. I
lived in Driving Park.
Interviewer: What do you remember about the make-up of the Bryden Road area,
Seigel: Yes, most of our friends were Jewish and I do remember the Bryden
Road apartment because when I got Bar Mitzvahed, we had a party there. I
think that building has long been torn down and my neighborhood was Ohio Avenue
and Linwood and Main Street and, that’s where I grew up as a child until we
moved to Driving Park. And then we moved to a little house on Geers when I went
to South High School.
Interviewer: Uh huh. That Driving Park was a real intensely Jewish community?
Seigel: Oh yes. Across the street was Mickey Friedman and her parents, Max
Interviewer: Mickey is now, what’s her married name?
Seigel: Maxine Friedman married Schoenbaum.
Interviewer: Mickey Schoenbaum. Uh huh.
Seigel: Howard Schoenbaum. But I used to date Maxine, or I called her Mickey.
And I dated another girl, Mildred Givets. And who else lived there? Milton
Ziegler, Marvin Gordon, Murray Greenberg, Irving Lichtenstein. These are all
names of my past, South High School.
Interviewer: Yeah, they’re all names that are familiar to me.
Seigel: I kind of — I’m 76 years old and I divided my life into 25 years
for the most part in Columbus, then went away for 25 years, then came back for
25 or 26 years.
Interviewer: What drew you back to Columbus?
Seigel: I was working in Michigan for Charles Stuart Mott, the billionaire
with General Motors heirarchy, and I was awarded the Ohio State Outstanding
Citizenship Award and I came back in the fall of 1974 to receive the award at a
banquet when they invited me or encouraged me to become Director of Development,
the First total head of development at The Ohio State University and I left the
Charles Stuart Mott Foundation to accept that position and moved back here and
held that job from 1974 to 1980 and then remained as my principal residence in
Interviewer: So you’ve lived in Worthington for a number of years then?
Seigel: Yes. Actually, I live in Columbus now. When Beverly, my wife, got
ill, we moved to a small condominium that is located in the Worthington School
District but technically in Columbus, Ohio. It’s just north of Worthington
called Orchard Knoll Lane.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Saul, tell us about your life from the time that you met
Beverly and your marriage and married life.
Seigel: Well we were married; we met at Ohio State University and got married
June 18, 1950, in Cleveland, Ohio. We were boyfriend and girlfriend at Ohio
State University and we were married for 52 years.
Interviewer: Was Beverly, was she from Cleveland?
Seigel: Yes, Beverly was from Cleveland. She was the daughter of Rose and
Burton Klein. She attended briefly Flora Stone Mather and Cleveland Heights High
School in Cleveland and then enrolled in Ohio State, as she said, because
everyone else was going there. At that time, it was kind of daring for a girl
from a matriarchal family to leave Cleveland and she felt it was her own plan.
She said meeting me was no accident. She stalked me, as she claims, on a dare,
found out my schedule and everywhere that I would go, she would be there. We
dated until I graduated. That was after I had returned from the war in the navy
and we were happily married for 52 years. We first moved to Lima, Ohio. I won’t
get into my work now but I went to work for Neon Products, Inc., lived there for
14 years. Then moved to Flint, Michigan, where I was consultant for Urban
Affairs for the Charles Stuart Mott Foundation. Beverly spent an awful lot of
time in voluntary work in libraries and her education was in elementary
education and she worked in pre-schools. She was director of many pre-schools
and was a pre-school teacher, and a very good one, and she loved to read, loved
to do volunteer work and as I mentioned, it was in 1975 that I returned. I was
appointed the First Head of Development at Ohio State University and a member of
the cabinet of then President Harold Enarson.
Interviewer: Let me just, going back to Beverly, did she have brothers and
sisters? Did she have siblings?
Seigel: She had two brothers, older brother Robert, and a younger brother
Larry. Robert lives in Florida and Larry lives in Tucson, Arizona.
Interviewer: Uh huh. And tell us about your children Saul.
Seigel: I have three children. My oldest Paul was natural-born. My middle
Kenneth was legally adopted when he was 6 days old.
Interviewer: Just give me, your oldest one, Paul, was natural-born. You mean
Beverly gave birth to Paul?
Seigel: Gave birth to Paul, a natural birth.
Seigel: We then, Beverly was a serious Type 1 diabetic but, and we adopted
Kenneth when he was about 6 days old and then she had by Caesarian Rita-Leigh.
And so I have two sons and one daughter.
Interviewer: Uh huh. And where are they now?
Seigel: The oldest son Paul is the Interim President of the Pearl S. Buck
International Foundation based in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, about 30-40 miles
north of Philadelphia. That’s his current position.
Interviewer: Does he have family? Does he have children? Is he married?
Seigel: He is married to Mary Lou who had a daughter Jamie by her first
marriage. Her first husband, David Goldstein, was killed by the mountain men
when they kidnapped the Olympic participant at Big Sky, Idaho, I believe. They
made a movie, “The Other Side of the Mountain” about the episode with
David. He was in a party that tried to save the Olympic girl and the mountain
men who had kidnapped her shot and killed him. She then married my oldest son,
Paul, and they live in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. And Paul had a very
interesting life as explorer and also as a world traveler-explorer. But
currently he works for the Pearl S. Buck International Foundation, mostly in the
Orient. My son, Ken, lives in Coconut Creek, Florida, and he is on 100%
disability. He served in both the army and the navy and was injured not in
action but in the service and lives with his wife, we call her Charlie, in
Coconut Creek, Florida, and they have three children. And my daughter Rita . . .
Interviewer: Wait a minute. Where are the children now? These would be your
Seigel: Grandchildren; they go to school and one is in, just graduating high
school, and the other one is just entering high school.
Interviewer: Give me their names.
Seigel: Their names are Nikki; Ken, Jr. and Ronnie (Veronica).
Interviewer: Uh huh. So the oldest one just graduated from high school, is
Seigel: Yeah, well no, the oldest one is going to college. I’m not sure
which one, and working. That’s Ronnie.
Interviewer: Okay. I’m just trying to put them in place here. Okay?
Seigel: Now about Rita-Leigh?
Seigel: Rita-Leigh’s name is interesting. It’s Rita-Leigh. And Rita being
born through Caesarian Section of a severe diabetic mother; was a very dangerous
birth. And she was named after the hospital where she was born, St. Rita’s
Hospital in Lima. So we named her Rita. And the physician’s name was Lee
Bartholomew, was spelled L-E-E, but we gave her the name of Leigh, L-E-I-G-H,
called her Rita-Leigh Palulak. That’s her last name and she lives in
Bradenton, Florida, where her husband David works for the big German
conglomerate Seimens at Sarasota General Hospital and where my daughter, or my
granddaughter Krista, who is a nationally-ranked tennis player, trains in
Bradenton, currently with Andre Gomez as her personal coach. And she’s a
nationally-ranked junior tennis player. I have another grandson, Danny, who will
be entering high school and Krista will be graduating high school and entering
college this coming Fall. Where she will go we don’t know. It’s where she
will be playing, I mean, tennis scholarship.
Interviewer: So you’re pretty much in touch with the children and
Seigel: Oh pretty much, pretty much.
Interviewer: So your lives are all so full that . . . .
Seigel: Since Beverly’s death, however, which was August 24, 2002, I’m
living alone in Columbus and not particularly happy.
Interviewer: Well it’s a long, lonely road to travel.
Seigel: They say that you feel better and that old age is not for sissies.
Interviewer: Well you have many friends to support you. That’s for sure.
Saul, you mentioned that your granddaughter is into tennis and I know that you
were. Tell us about your tennis background.
Seigel: Well, when I was in high school and younger, I participated in
football, baseball and basketball and a little bit of tennis. But when I, after
the war, when I entered Ohio State University, I wasn’t really good enough to
make the football, basketball or baseball so I played tennis and I was an Ohio
State Varsity tennis player. I did earn a Varsity O letter for tennis in 1950
and I always enjoyed tennis and I still play two or three times a week.
Interviewer: Oh you do? You still play?
Seigel: I still play although I injured my ribs at the Fiesta Bowl and I can’t
play for several more weeks. But I play two or three mornings a week and I play
a mixed doubles usually once a week. And I follow tennis a great deal and I
follow my granddaughter’s tennis exploits. I like to watch her in tournaments.
Interviewer: Well tennis is one of those things you can keep up with.
Seigel: Yes. I also play some golf but I really stink.
Interviewer: Well it’s not all fun for everybody.
Seigel: And I walk. I power walk anywhere from a mile to three miles a day on
the days that I don’t play tennis. But I have not been real well lately
because of, I guess, old complications and I’m trying to overcome these
illnesses right now.
Interviewer: Saul, you briefly mentioned something about the military. Can
you tell us about your service?
Seigel: Well it wasn’t too exciting of a career. I really never graduated
South High School. I joined the navy a few months before my graduation but my
mother received the diploma at the graduation ceremony. I graduated South High
School and I went into the navy and was sent to Sampson, New York Naval Base and
then to Bainbridge, Maryland, and I was an aide to a commander and I played on
the navy baseball team and I played on the navy basketball team and I was a
physical education trainer and rose to the high rank of, I think, Second or
First Class Seaman. Then I was stationed in Cleveland, Ohio, so I got to come
home to Columbus ‘most every week-end and served for just under two years. In
those days, we were given a point system to get out and I thought I would never
have enough points to get out but I did get out in 1946. But I never really saw
any action. I did, was able to go to Ohio State University on the G.I. Bill of
Interviewer: Uh huh. Well you certainly deserved that advantage.
Seigel: Yes, I did.
Interviewer: So the military was . . . .
Interviewer: Uneventful. Okay. Well thank God you’re here to tell us about
it though. Saul, tell us something about your career after you came back from
the service and how it catapulted from there.
Seigel: Well I also said that I would never get a 40-year pin; that I would
maybe get 8 5-year pins because I have difficulty conforming when I worked in
large organizations and I had a lot of jobs or positions. I think after I got
married, my first job was with the State of Ohio trying to collect money from
individuals who had passed away in Ohio mental institutions. And I would visit
with their descendants and try to collect some of the fees that were owed. I
didn’t do that very long until I found a job in Lima, Ohio, working for Neon
Products, Inc. as Director of Advertising and Sales Promotion. I was referred
there through a local advertising agency, Byer and Bowman, through Herb Byer and
Gus Bowman and the Head of Public Relations, a man named Walter Siefert, and
Nike Popa. And they said there was a man in Lima, Ohio, who headed the world’s
largest plastic sign company and they were one of the forerunners of that
industry and he was looking for a young person who didn’t really know much but
could be molded into his way of doing business and I was ideal for that because
I certainly didn’t know much. But I had a good title: Director of Advertising
and Sales Promotion and we moved to Lima, Ohio, and I worked for Neon Products
for several years and they would fire me and then hire me back and fire me again
and in the interim, I became a consultant and I became the director of the Lima
Community Chest and the United Fund and I was consultant to St. Rita’s
Hospital and I did a lot of political fund raising and at one time, I was, I had
in my hands the nomination for the Fourth District Congressional seat when
Congressman Bill McCoulock finally retired. But I remember going home and
telling Beverly that I had an uncontested Republican nomination for the Fourth
District Congressional seat and it had been Republican for almost 40 years and I
was a shoo-in. And Beverly said, “Well I hope you’ll be very happy but
forget me.” And that was the end of my political career as a candidate
because I never did run.
Interviewer: So she was never interested at all in politics?
Seigel: Not at all. Beverly raised the children, taught school, read books
and was a good wife and put up with me and as I moved on to maybe a more
exciting and glamorous life in Michigan and throughout the world, she
accompanied me when humanly possible and sat through more chicken and whatever
dinners . . . .
Interviewer: Banquets, huh?
Seigel: Oh my yes.
Interviewer: Well that was important to have a good support system through
all those activities.
Seigel: She was a wonderful wife, mother and teacher and grandmother.
Interviewer: Uh huh. So she taught for many, many years, didn’t she?
Seigel: She taught and she was director of pre-schools and she believed that
the young child’s life was molded at a very early stage and it was important
that the pre-school education was a good one.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Well your life certainly has been in the public eye and
still is. You’re still actively involved in some community events, aren’t
Seigel: Oh yes. I actually have only right now one consulting account and
that’s called OPEP. It’s an independent organization working to meet the
recovery and advocacy needs of Ohio physicians and health-care professionals
that experience difficulties with substance use and psychiatric issues. I’m
currently the consultant for resource development for the Ohio physicians taking
this program and I work two or three days a month for them, basically raising
the resources that’s required to keep this non-profit organization in
business. I serve on currently, a great many boards. Currently or most recently,
CODA, the Central Ohio Diabetes Associa- ion. I currently serve on the Center
for Community Interest based in New York City and Washington, D.C.; the Columbus
Historical Society; the Columbus Children’s Theater; the Burkhart-Mural
Restoration Committee; Advisor to Worthington Sesquicentennial Committee; The
National Parkinson Alliance at Princeton, New Jersey; Campus Partners for
Community Urban Redevelopment; The Ohio State University; Foundation for
Parkinsons Disease and of course, I’ve been a past officer, Past President of
the International Downtown Association based in Washington with over 600 central
cities development corporations as members; President, Past-President of the
Sales and Marketing Executives Club of Flint; The Ohio State University Alumni
Clubs; I’ve been President in Genesee County in Michigan and in Allen County,
Ohio; Past Chairman of the Worthington Convention and Visitors Bureau; Past
Chairman twice of the Worthington Arts Council; the Past President of the Lima
Symphony Orchestra; Past President of the Flint Symphony Orchestra; past member
of the Board of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. It goes on and on, at least
another twenty major organizations. A few highlights: the Salvation Army, Junior
Achievement, the Major’s Land-Use Advisory Committee, Urban Coalition, The
National Automotive Hall of Fame, the National Advisory Board for Design Index
in Washington, the United Jewish Appeal Chairman for Ohio State, the Hillel
Foundation, the Board of Directors of the Broadway Series, the Columbus
Riverfront Commons Corporation, the Lucas Sullivan Statue Executive Committee.
Interviewer: It sure is, but fascinating because you’ve been in so many
different kinds of activities, the community and the arts and some Jewish
organizations as well. Have you always affiliated with synagogues and been a
part of the Jewish community?
Seigel: . . . . in my life to 7 different Jewish temples from Temple Emanuel
in New York City to my current Temple, Beth Tikvah. I actually have a very long
history of Jewish involvement. It may not be in Columbus, Ohio. I served as
Vice-President for development of Hebrew Union College with campuses in Los
Angeles, certainly Cincinnati, New York City, and helped in the development of
the Hebrew Union College campus in Jerusalem. I served as Executive
Vice-President of American Technion Society, the Israel Institute of Technology
and have made 27 trips to Israel.
Seigel: Twenty-seven trips to Israel.
Interviewer: Well were these through your . . . .
Seigel: Mostly through Technion in Haifa. I also did work for the Jewish
National Federation when I was doing consulting work for Operation — where we
matched the cities. I did some of the original research for that project for
Manny Bernstein. I also was a consultant to ZOA, Zionist Organization of
America. Also served as a contultant to Governor Ronald Reagan when he was
Governor of California, regarding urban problems in the State of California, for
Governor Branstad in the State of Iowa and for Governor Millikin in the State of
Michigan, primarily dealing with matters for the Charles Stuart Mott Foundation
which incidentally was a $2.3 billion foundation made of General Motors money
and for then-Governor Millikin of the State of Michigan and worked closely with
then-Senator Don Reigel of Michigan. I also worked as Chairman, Board Member and
Advisor pro bono to many, many other non-profit organizations and during
my fund-raising, or as I choose to call it — resource development — as a
senior consultant for the largest fund-raising firm in the nation, perhaps in
the world, Ketchum, Inc., I served as senior consultant . . . .
Interviewer: Was that, Ketchum? How do you spell it?
Seigel: Ketchum – K-E-T-C-H-U-M. It was based at that time in Pittsburgh and
I provided the senior counsel for the $214 million dollar capital campaign for
Iowa State University. During my fund-raising days, I managed organizations and
campaigns with cumulative results exceeding $700 million dollars. That includes
The Ohio State University, American Technion, Ohio State University, Hebrew
Union College and a large assortment of other non-profit organizations. But
primarily I served as a consultant to over 70 major fund-raising tribute events
honoring nationally- and internationally-known entertainment and political
individuals. A few of them might be known: Jack Lemmon, several for Elizabeth
Taylor, Liv Ullman, Charlton Heston, Ted Koppel, Henry Kissinger, Kirk Douglas,
Barbara – the opera singer – Barbara . . . .
Interviewer: The Metropolitan Opera?
Seigel: Many, many galas, mostly in Hollywood, New York, Miami, Chicago, also
Sherry Lansing in Chicago, Henry Kissinger in Mexico City, London and Paris and
Egypt and Israel, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro.
Interviewer: What was your experience in Egypt?
Seigel: Well I went on several missions to Egypt and met with former
President, did a fund-raiser for Madame Sadat. She . . . . as the speaker for
one of Liz Taylor’s galas in Hollywood and through this work, had occasion to
work with and know and meet with a lot of political and Hollywood dignitaries
and some of them I still keep in touch with. In fact, Thursday, I believe I’m
going to Washington, D.C., to be Associate Producer for an event called
“The Craziest Person in Washington,” “The Craziest Celebrity in
Washington,” so I still . . . .
Interviewer: That sounds like a fun event. Is that what it’s supposed to
Seigel: Well it sounds pretty crazy to me but some of the people that used to
work for me that helped to produce some of these galas are still friends and
occasionally I’m called upon to attend these parties. They’re usually
high-powered, black tie gala events. And that was the life I lived and frankly
enjoyed and . . . .
Interviewer: And did you say this event, this question, I mean, whether you’re
going to participate or . . . .
Seigel: Yes, because I have to be in Cleveland all day on Wednesday and I
want to get back for the basketball game Saturday and I’m going to
“Beauty and the Beast,” the Broadway Series tonight, and I don’t
have all the details for the party in Washington. I’m not sure whether it’s
Thursday night or Friday night. And it’s whether the logistics make it
possible for me to attend. I’m going to a Barbra Streisand gala in Beverly
Hills this Fall that’s being produced by a man that used to work for me. His
name is Ron Dollinger. His father used to work for me also in my Beverly Hills
Interviewer: Ron Dollinger in Columbus?
Seigel: No . . . . it’s the same name but I don’t know the Ron Dollinger
in Columbus. I see his picture in the Jewish Chronicle but no,
this is a different Ron Dollinger. And I keep in close touch with my long-time
high school friend Al Burton who grew up and went to South High School, who is a
television and movie producer in Hollywood, and I do attend events with Al and
Sally Burton on occasion and visit with them. So I still have contacts on the
west coast and . . . .
Interviewer: The Barbra Streisand event, what’s the purpose for that?
Seigel: I think it would be a fund-raiser for some Jewish non-profit
organization in California; I’m not just sure which one.
Interviewer: Yeah. Uh huh. Well it sounds like you’re still very much in
touch with a lot of these people from the past.
Seigel: I am kind of on the fringe. I retired and with Beverly’s passing
away, I’m just not in that loop any more. I just play tennis, try to keep
healthy . . . .
Interviewer: Well you’ve had a colorful bunch of experiences in your past.
Seigel: It has been amazing and my regret is that I have not had the
opportunity to be more active in the Columbus Jewish community. As I mentioned,
I have over years a long history of activity in Jewish events. I probably have
as many friends in Israel; I still correspond with Carl Albert who I think is a
writer who, I read his column in the Ohio Jewish Chronicle
and Carl Albert and I have been friends; General Amos Harev, retired Israeli
general; Yardana Kaplan, who is Development Director for the Israel Symphony
Orchestra, she used to work for me; many friends at the Technion. And I still
keep in touch with those individuals. When I worked for American Technion, I had
18 regional offices, 12 in the United States and 6 in Europe and South America
and the Middle East.
Interviewer: All at the same time?
Seigel: At the same time. So I was visiting those offices, attending their
galas and I was based on Madison Avenue in New York City, 270 Madison Avenue. We
kept an apartment at 230 E. 39th Street. It was a Technion apartment that they
maintained for me and I commuted every week from Columbus. I would get up and
catch a 7:15 plane at Columbus airport . . . .
Interviewer: Saul, I’m going to stop you for a second so I can turn this
tape over. We’re ending side A of tape 1 and I’m going to turn this over and
we’ll continue. Okay, we’re on the other side of tape l, side B, and I’m
going to have you continue, Saul. Go ahead.
Seigel: Well I would get up when I worked for American Technion, on Monday
morning, catch a 7:10 airplane, fly to New York, be in my office on Madison
Avenue by 9-9:15 and then come back to Columbus when I wasn’t traveling to one
of my 18 offices or the Middle East or Europe. I’d come back Thursday morning
and be here Thursday evening, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Or Beverly would come to
New York because we loved Manhattan. We loved Broadway and the theater and the
restaurants and our friends. And that was the life for about five years.
Interviewer: It certainly was colorful, wasn’t it?
Seigel: It was very colorful.
Interviewer: But your children were not, they were out of the house by then?
Interviewer: Uh huh. When they were younger, how did you handle your work
Seigel: Well we were into competitive swimming and a lot of sports and my
eldest son was a national-class swimmer and he also attended West Point Military
Academy where he was to swim, but did not graduate. Graduated from Western
Michigan, where he swam. And we lived a normal family life raising the children.
I spent a lot of time with them, not as much as I wished that I could have
because of my work.
Interviewer: But you did make up for that later with traveling a lot and . .
Seigel: Pretty much so. We led a pretty normal life. I was in the P.T.A. and
we belonged to a swim and racquet club and belonged to several country clubs. I
was a Rotarian. I belonged to 7 different Rotary Clubs over the years. I belong
to the Dublin-Worthington Rotary Club now and I’m active there. I belonged in
New York City and Denver, Colorado; and Ames, Iowa; and Lima. Ohio; and Flint,
Michigan; and Grand Blanc, Michigan; and Des Moines, Iowa.
Interviewer: I’m curious about Lima, Ohio, about their Jewish community
there. Can you tell us anything about that?
Seigel: Yes, it was a good Jewish community. I think I joined the Temple
there when my boss Mr. Kamin, Sam Kamin, said, “You shall join the
Temple.” So I said, “Certainly”. He said also, “You shall be
a Republican.” I said, “Yes sir,” because I was very young then
and I didn’t know how crazy he was, although I’ve always been a Republican
and I’ve always belonged to a Reform Temple. Plus, Beverly taught Sunday
School; I taught Sunday School. We used to put on musicals and I danced and sang
“Mr. Wonderful” and “Damn Yankees” and it was all actively
involved in the Jewish community in Lima.
Interviewer: So you could have been a Broadway star?
Seigel: Well that was my alter ego. I did a dance on Broadway once in a South
American review called “Uba, Uba”. And that’s a very strange
circumstance that I’d rather not get into. But that was my only appearance as
an actor on Broadway. But I love good musicals and shows and had a lot of time
to see them when I worked briefly in New York City and still continue to be
active in all things that I like.
Interviewer: Well we’re lucky here in Columbus to get a lot more theater
than we used to.
Seigel: Oh yes. The Broadway Series when we headed up the board, very active
and I still am opening night in the third row, orchestra, every opening night
for the Broadway Series.
Interviewer: Tell us about the changes that you’ve felt in the Columbus
community in the arts world. I know it changed very dramatically.
Seigel: Yes, and I think we would get good marks for the arts community.
There’s never a dull moment and if you attended everything, like I look at my
schedule the next few months, I could be out every night. There’s so many
exciting things coming. Liza Minelli and Elton John and Billy Joel and I go to
CAPA and CATCO and just in the next few weeks or months . . . . I know that I’m
going to . . . . it’s somewhat mind boggling . . . . Ohio State sports. I’m
going to “Beauty and the Beast” Tuesday night and the Northwestern
basketball game, . . . . on the fourth of February, Big Band . . . . with Jazz
Arts Group, I go almost every Monday night to the Columbus Music Hall over here
by . . . . a big swing band. I’m going to see the Broadway Series. I’m
attending the Bicentennial Ball, not in costume but black tie, in Worthington on
the 22nd. I’m going to be in a dart tournament on the 15th of . . . .
Interviewer: Dart tournament?
Seigel: Darts. My son Paul is a dart columnist and he’s syndicated in 51,
would you believe, dart magazines.
Seigel: You probably don’t read Bullseye Monthly.
Interviewer: Not recently I would have to admit. No.
Seigel: I’m going to the Central Ohio Diabetes Splash Party that I go to
every year. To the “Jivin’ Lindy Hoppers” at CAPA performance.
“Tango Buenos Aires” at the Palace. “Gershwin’s Gumbo,”
“Jesus Christ Superstar” Broadway Series, Diane Shuur at the Southern,
I will go to the Broadway Series “Full Monty”.
Interviewer: Now you’re reading me activities that you’re going to?
Seigel: That I already have tickets for and plan to go to . . . . all the JAG
performances for 2003 and 4.
Interviewer: Tell us what JAG is.
Seigel: Jazz Arts Group. Big bands. Swing music. We’re having a tribute to
Hank Marr with Bobby Floyd coming up, I think next week. . . . . every Ohio
State football game and some of the away games, Picnic with the Pops and then I
just returned from the Fiesta Bowl . . . .
Interviewer: Yeah, tell us about your experience with the Fiesta Bowl. Of
course this is going to be a historical event anyhow.
Seigel: It is to me. I’d like to say maybe though that I broke my three
ribs brawling in a bar on Mill Street in Phoenix, but I actually fell on the
shuttle bus going from the parking lot at the Columbus airport to catch the
plane. The bus turned sharply to the right and I fell off my seat and fractured
three ribs, but went right on to, we flew to Atlanta and then to San Diego,
rented a car and with my companion, drove to Scottsdale, attending all the
parties and the game, drove back to San Diego, had dinner at the Del Coronado,
and came back to Atlanta, Georgia, and then back to Columbus all in three days.
Interviewer: With three broken ribs?
Seigel: With three broken ribs, which were starting to feel a little bit
better, although I haven’t played tennis since before January 2.
Interviewer: So the Fiesta Bowl was a memorable event, the game and all the
excitement that went with it?
Seigel: The excitement and the game was a very memorable experience. In fact,
I don’t call it a game, I call it an epic.
Interviewer: Well it was an epic. Nothing ever compares to anything like
Seigel: Well, I’ve had a few other experiences that were . . . .
Interviewer: I mean as far as football or sports events.
Seigel: No, I don’t think so, but some of the Michigan games and I did
attend “The Snow Bowl,” I think that was in 1950. We were married and
lived on 20 E. 11th and I went to the football game. Beverly got me a job
delivering mail and it was snowing so hard and my route to deliver the mail as a
part-time mailman was in Bexley and I said, “My God. It’s Saturday
morning and it’s snowing like crazy.” I drove the U.S. mail truck home to
the campus area where we lived in one little room and I said, “I’ll just
leave the mail truck outside and go to the football game.” Little did I
know that it was a federal offense to take a truckload of mail home.
Interviewer: So you hadn’t delivered the mail yet?
Seigel: No . . . . mail boxes on some of the porches in Bexley and then
headed home. Then when I finally got out to take the mail truck back, it was
deep in the snow and I called the Mail Department and boy, I was in deep, deep
Interviewer: I bet.
Seigel: That was an experience.
Interviewer: Uh huh. But you did . . . . about 50,000 some people at that
Seigel: Yes, and I didn’t realize there was a problem. I just sat in the
snow. But the game at the Fiesta was an epic and I did enjoy it and I enjoyed
the party at the Hurt Museum the Thursday night before. I remember we were in
travel clothes and it was kind of a little more dressy party and we changed our
clothes in a gasoline station somewhere in Phoenix and went to the party and had
a wonderful time.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Well I’m familiar with the Hurt Museum and . . . .
Seigel: You are. I really didn’t see anything other than the bar and the
party but I think it’s a . . . . museum.
Interviewer: Yeah, it is. It’s a fine, fine museum. But we have children
who live in Arizona so we go out there often.
Seigel: We had a hard time finding it but we drove around ’till we found
Interviewer: Uh huh. Yeah, it’s a little tricky to get into. Well I’ll
bet that was an enjoyable experience along with many others that you’ve had.
Seigel: I think the exciting experiences for me were most of these galas and
with the, I like black tie, fancy events with great entertainers. I know we’ve
used Julio Iglesias and Connie Stevens and . . . .
Interviewer: How do you go about making these contacts? That’s kind of an
Seigel: Well I was kind of a producer and I hired a lot of good people. I
didn’t order the flowers or order the food. Most of them in California were at
the Beverly Hilton and we had the red carpet and . . . . the honoree, knew what
entertainment, like when we honored Kirk Douglas, his wife at that time was Ann
Douglas. She wanted Julio Iglesias and she called him up and got him.
Interviewer: Oh so that was something . . . .
Seigel: We always had big-name entertainment because to get the friends of
these honorees to come, it had to be something extra special and we tried to
make it like that. And my job was just to frame it and structure it because I
had good people who were real professionals in this work who did the grunt work.
Interviewer: So you felt that you were satisfied with fulfilling your
obligation as far as these galas were. . . .
Seigel: Oh yes. I was the over-all producer and in charge of it and I had
lots of people help me because these were big-ticket events, $1,000 or more, and
we would have a pre-event at a private home for even bigger money – $5,000, as
much as $25,000, to dine privately with Elizabeth Taylor or Kirk Douglas or Jack
Lemmon or these kinds of wonderful entertainers, most of them cooperative most
of the time but some of them were somewhat difficult. But to be in their
company, and I M.C.d some of them and that was quite glamorous. Many of them
were filmed and some of them were on “Entertainment Tonight” and it
was just an exciting part of life and I look back at the memories and . . . .
Interviewer: You’ve been quite fortunate to have had all these wonderful
experiences and . . . .
Seigel: I recall in Palm Springs at the Ritz-Carlton honoring Jerry and Betty
Ford, the entertainer was Eddie Fisher. And played tennis with Eddie, got to
know him, used him for other events. Wanted desperately to bring him to Columbus
and he sings the music of the days that I think many Jewish people would relate
to . . . .
Interviewer: It was another era.
Seigel: It was another era.
Interviewer: I don’t hear about Eddie Fisher today.
Seigel: He lives in San Francisco and is married to an Oriental woman and
very happy. I used to kid him politely. He was in the Betty Ford Sanitarium and
I said, “You were married to Debbie Reynolds, Connie Stevens and Elizabeth
Taylor. Why are you depressed?” And he said, “That’s why, because I
was married to to Elizabeth Taylor, Connie Stevens and who was the other one —
Interviewer: Yeah, and they all did him in. Or he did himself in. But he’s
Seigel: He’s, last time I talked to him, he was okay. He’s a little sore
now and then. And I last saw him at a gala for Whoopie Goldberg in California.
Interviewer: Is she as much fun as she seems to be?
Interviewer: She’s more intense?
Seigel: When she’s on, she’s on. When she’s not on, she’s, I guess
like all of us at certain times . . . . But I only had occasion to go to the
gala. I did not produce it, I was just a guest.
Interviewer: I always found that interesting too, that they’re different,
their personnas change.
Seigel: Some of them that I have met, my favorites were Kirk Douglas who did
a lot of good things for Technion, Jack Lemmon, Liv Ullman particularly. I did a
lot of things with Liv and she was always very good. Several people don’t know
who she is but she was an Academy Award winner and a wonderful actress, very
generous . . . .
Interviewer: But on stage or off, they were easy people to be with?
Seigel: These were nice people, yes.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Yeah. We’ve had some experiences here in Columbus too
where stars would come in and would be demanding and just not real easy to work
with. What are some of your favorite, well you tell me about all these places
you go to events so I guess it’s kind of hard to pick out favorites here in
Columbus but . . . .
Seigel: Well I like to go to the Central Ohio Diabetes Splash. That’s
always a nice event. I’m looking forward to the Worthington Bicentennial
because it’s black tie and you’re to go in costume of the time they wore in
1803, or in black tie. We’re going black tie and long gown and we’re going
to have a dance master who is going to teach us, with over 350 people, and we’re
going to learn to dance as they danced in 1803.
Interviewer: Oh that would be interesting.
Seigel: That should be a stitch.
Interviewer: 1803. Okay. Here we are 200 years later.
Seigel: I don’t know . . . . the Indian dance.
Interviewer: When is this event?
Seigel: February 22.
Interviewer: Oh that’s coming up.
Seigel: One of my favorite events in Columbus, and we’re not going to have
it this year, is the Jesse Owens Awards Banquet which we had at Wexner’s bar
where we honor a male and female athlete of the year. And that was a black tie,
beautiful event, and last year we honored Jackie Joyner Kersee and the Olympic
Heavyweight Wrestling Champion and I went with Lee Ann Parsley who was the
silver medal winner in the skeleton slide at the last Olympics. But I don’t
think we’re going to have the event this year. Hopefully, Marlene Rankin, who’s
a friend of mine and Jesse Owens’ daughter and heads the Jesse Owens
Foundation, we might be able to revive it next year. Because it was one of the
nicest events that I went to in Columbus. I don’t get to go to as many of the
events as I used to, mainly because I can’t afford to go to them any more.
Interviewer: Yeah, they get to be pretty steep. And that’s what they’re
about is raising money.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Do you enjoy the political events?
Seigel: Not so much any more. I’m not really into politics as I used to be.
I used to go to all the political fund-raisers and I was more involved with
government. It was a part of my life. As I said, I’ve been a counsel in
various degrees for three governors and I did know President Nixon. I met
General Eisenhower. I knew or I know Gerald Ford. And I have had experience,
particularly lobbying in Washington for Parkinson’s Disease on the Udall
legislation. But I’m not really into the politics any more, locally or
statewide or nationally.
Interviewer: Saul, I want to try to get a little bit of color of how things
were many years ago and how they’ve changed even in terms of let’s say
transportation, how people shopped, you know, things like that.
Seigel: Well as I remember, all through my high school days, when I lived in
Driving Park and went to South High School, I ran around with Charley Young, who’s
a dentist, Mike Goodman who’s a dentist, Meyer Weisman, Harold Soppel, Murray
Greenberg. Some of my friends, Al Byer who I still keep in touch with, as I
mentioned, Al Burton. Non-Jewish friends: Phil Sheridan, a writer; Joe Davis who
became Superintendent of Schools; and we shopped at Martin’s Delicatessen, I
believe, and a big night out was going to the Kahiki and going to the Maramor
that was downtown . . . . , or going to the tea dances at the old Ionian Room on
Saturday afternoon . . . .
Interviewer: Well tell us about those tea dances.
Seigel: . . . . to big band music, Jimmy Dorsey, Claude Thornhill. I still am
in touch with Margie Coyle, she’s the widow of Ziggy Coyle, used to sing, oh
what was her name? I see her at the Music Hall on Monday nights. But it will
come to me. She was a big-time vocalist.
Interviewer: Now the tea dances.
Seigel: The tea dances were in the Ionian Room in the basement of the hotel
that’s been torn down. What was that hotel?
Interviewer: The Deshler?
Seigel: Deshler-Wallick. And the tea dances and the Friday Y.M.C.A., dancing
at Buckeye Lake with Juanita Hutch and the cheerleaders, some of them at South
High School. I still go to the South High reunions and sometimes they have
monthly meetings and I still keep in touch with them.
Interviewer: Yeah, I was going to ask you about the reunions. We’ve gone to
some of those.
Seigel: They have meetings at the Maennerchor now and then and at Buckeye
Lake and I go to those. That’s where I first knew you and Bernie. And I
remember those days fondly. We were relatively poor. I remember my dad driving
the kids to school and when he’d let us off at school, he wouldn’t even turn
the motor off. He’d just slow down and we’d have to jump out of the car
because if he would turn the motor off, he would be afraid it wouldn’t start
Interviewer: Well the cars were a little different then.
Seigel: They were. My first car was a 1948 Plymouth and I thought it was
Charley Young, myself and Pin Beckman. We got in that car and drove to
California. We went the southern route, came back the northern route. That was,
I think, in the Summer of 1948 and I think Charley didn’t even know how to
drive a car but when we got to Texas, we put him behind the wheel and he drove.
. . . . know what he was doing.
Interviewer: He learned in a hurry?
Seigel: I think it was Phil Beckman but we called him Pin.
Interviewer: Pin. Right. Uh huh.
Seigel: In those days I remember playing basketball with Harold Soppel and Al
Kauffman and Myer Weisman and . . . .
Interviewer: Did you play at the Jewish Center?
Seigel: We played everywhere and we played in a Sunday morning softball
league and I remember, oh I do remember when we went to high school, South High
School, that we would walk home either on Whittier or Livingston and we would
stop at the drug store; I know Dick Solove used to be the soda jerk.
Seigel: Cooper’s Drug Store. We would stop at Cooper’s Drug Store and
Dick used to make our milkshakes and we would visit the Seff, S-E-F-F, girls and
the Callif girls and then we used to play football and basketball with what was
known as the Wager Street Rats, out on Wager Street and that was our
neighborhood, Whittier and Wager Street.
Interviewer: This is part of, several people that I’ve interviewed, part of
Seigel: They would all remember those days.
Interviewer: Yeah and actually my husband too because he was of that era.
Seigel: And Si Sokol and the Sokol brothers and I had a dear friend named
Malcolm Kreske. I don’t know what happened to him after he moved to Cleveland.
And I used to date a young lady, Mildred Givets. She lived across from Irving
Lichten- stein and I used to date her now and then.
Interviewer: She was an attorney, wasn’t she?
Seigel: She was an attorney and I think lost her mind or something, but I
dated her and Maxine, occasionally.
Interviewer: So that was the old neighborhood and you were really pretty much
in touch with people right there. And you didn’t need anything else.
Everything was focused around there.
Seigel: Yeah, pretty much so.
Interviewer: Did you spend much time at the Schonthal Center?
Seigel: Oh yes. I remember a famous rabbi, Eugene Borowitz and I were playing
ping pong in the basement and a bunch of thugs came in there and beat us up. And
every time I see Gene Borowitz, I knew him when I used to be with Hebrew Union
College ’cause he was a rabbi, a very famous rabbi in New York City, and
taught at our New York campus, and I would see him then. And we used to
reminisce about when these thugs came and he was very big when we were 10, 11,
12 years old and he looked like he was 18 or 20. And I think I hid under the
ping pong table so they didn’t attack me. I remember Schonthal Center very
Interviewer: What were they, they were just looking to cause trouble?
Interviewer: They certainly weren’t going to rob you. What were they going
Seigel: . . . . I don’t think they liked Jewish people and there was, I
think, anti-Semitic . . . . . In fact, ideally, I lecture to the third grade in
Colonial Hills Elementary School lots and lots on character education,
self-discipline, responsibility and respect, and last week my topic was
tolerance. And tolerance is a part of diversity and I told the children, they’re
only 8-9 years old, that it’s a different world we live in today where
diversity and tolerance for diversity is taught and acknowledged and accepted.
But in the days when I grew up, tolerance for diversity was not accept- able
universally and I suffered from intolerance and I suffered in my work life.
There were many positions and jobs that I was far more qualified for than people
that got those jobs. And I have never cried wolf because I was born Jewish and
lived a Jewish life. But I know that it did have a bearing and that intolerance
did exist and I always thought that it did exist for the life that these
children are going to lead. So I think about this.
Interviewer: Especially in schools like that where they’re pretty much
surrounded by a safety net and they don’t have to deal with intolerance like
Seigel: It’s a different school and I enjoy visiting with them once a
month. Next month my subject is honesty.
Interviewer: So what are the ratios . . . .
Seigel: Well I’m friendly with the teacher and she has accompanied me, now
that Beverly has passed away, to a lot of things I go to and she’s a good
teacher and I belong to what is called “The Circle of Grandparents” in
Worthington. There’s about 27 of us and we speak at the schools to the
children on character education which I believe is very important and I still .
. . . in my life. I’m a guest speaker at Chamber of Commerce annual meetings,
downtown corporation annual meetings in practically every city in the country
and many in the world except Columbus, Ohio.
Interviewer: Oh really?
Seigel: And I belong to almost every service club, the Metropolitan Club, a
lot of Chamber of Commerce dinners, but not really much in Columbus, Ohio.
Interviewer: I wonder how that came about?
Seigel: Well it’s because I don’t go with the flow. I say what I believe
and I base it on my experience. Having headed 600 downtown corporations, I know
something about it.
Interviewer: I would think so.
Seigel: Maybe it’s because I’m not big bucks and I don’t represent big
bucks, maybe I’m not an authority on these. I’ve always believed that you
want to get the most experienced and the most knowledgeable people to serve on
boards and commis- sions and that just isn’t the case in Central Ohio and I
regret it and I’ve fought it, but I don’t think I’ve gained.
Interviewer: I’m curious, Saul, about how you feel about the growth of
Columbus, what direction we’re going. Times are rough right now with impending
war and . . . .
Seigel: I think the potential is unlimited. I think there’s much to be
desired and we’ve entered a lot of the games in the late stages and we have a
lot of make-up to do and we have a very heterogeneous community and I believe in
progress not from the top down but from the down, I guess, up, with
representation from all of the players in the game certainly with support from
all those with the capacity and the power to make change. Some of the great
leaders that I have observed in my life have been Mother Teresa, not of great
wealth; or Cesar Chavez, the union leader; of people who had the capacity to
motivate and to cause change. And there have been a great many. I served with
them on boards in New York City, with Allison Stern, wife of Leonard Stern, who’s
a multi, multibillionaire. I’ve served with several Congress people on the
Center for Community Interest, with the former president of Stanford University
and the former Chairman of the Rockefeller Foundation. That is my life of
community service that in every community was vast and I hope as long as I’m
well and have the strength and continue to be able to serve with whatever I have
to offer, I will. But what I think these biographies which are first-person
accounts of heart and soul and chip off the old block, and particularly this
last one which the author Carla Wilshire, I think captured Seigel, board,
B-O-A-R-D of retirement, did talk about my life and how fortunate I had been to
experience these things. Although a lot of people think I’m strange and
somewhat eccentric . . . .
Interviewer: Well that’s what makes life interesting, Saul. You’re not
boring, that’s for sure.
Seigel: No and when you called for me to talk about my life, I wouldn’t
know where to begin and end and that’s why I’d rather a third person, a more
objective review. I’ve often said, and I speak on a lot of subjects and public
relations and many-splendored things, on marketing and urban development and
what makes things happen, on leadership, leadership development. But I believe
in something that is on a medal that I got in the eighth grade for citizenship.
And it’s simply three sentences that I believe so strongly and they are:
“Inspiration comes from the past. What inspires us comes from the past. Our
duty is in the present.” Right now is when we should do something and our
hopes are in the future. So by reliving my past and my experiences and by
continuing to do today in the present and by talking with these children in the
third grade about the future, I live that life and my wife Beverly always said
that there’s two kinds of people that unfortu- nately we don’t give enough
attention to. One are the little people, not short people but young people. And
two are the senior people, the old people. They’re not old and senile and
forgotten things. They have a lot to contribute.
Interviewer: Their experiences, their life experiences. Sure.
Seigel: Their experiences and things that you’re doing, deserving it. And I
hope that leaders today – I was saddened that we can’t think of his name —
the Executive Director of the Federation . . . .
Interviewer: Well we’re going to; I’ll find his name before we leave.
Seigel: He was such a good friend. I can’t remember his name.
Interviewer: Hold on a minute Saul. Saul, we’ve been struggling and trying
to remember. And we both knew, of course, that the name slipped us. The former
Director of the Columbus Jewish Federation was . . . .
Seigel: His name was Hal Lewis. And I knew Hal from both Hebrew Union College
when I was Vice-President and through American Technion. Hal was Assistant
Regional Director in, well at that time it was the Miami office and I knew Hal
from that. And when I saw that he came to Columbus, I said, “Hal you
remember me. I would like to be helpful.” And I really wasn’t. And I’ve
talked to Hal in Ketchum. I hope to see him today because I wanted to be on the,
I guess the Human Relations Committee. I thought I might have something to offer
to that. But I guess if I leave any legacy to my life in Columbus or Central
Ohio, it is that I did participate in the Jewish community nationally and
internationally far beyond what anyone can see locally. I wish I could have done
more locally but I certainly tried and I don’t know all the rules but I think
I was maybe considered a . . . . because I lived in Worthington and I just didn’t
run in the Columbus Jewish community society.
Interviewer: Well we have quite an active and lovely Jewish community up
north now, Beth Tikvah. But Saul, you know, I could talk to you for another
three hours but one of the things, I’m just so happy that you helped me with
wrapping this up ’cause you’ve given us some great closing messages and
words of inspiration and wisdom and I certainly appreciate your sharing the
printed materials that you brought with you, which will go into our files and
they’ve been very well written, very descriptive and give us a lot of great
information. And on behalf of the Columbus Jewish Historical Society, I want to
thank you for the time that we’ve spent this morning and I hope your years of
contributing to the communities that you’ve been involved with will continue
and your health improves. Take it easy at the Fiesta Bowl.
Seigel: Oh that’s over.
Interviewer: That’s over?
Seigel: I’m looking forward to New Orleans when we repeat as national
Interviewer: Uh huh. I hope so.
Seigel: I appreciate Naomi your visiting with me. I wasn’t hard to
Interviewer: No, no you were great having all this printed material really
does help. I don’t know about you but past that certain stage in life, you
start forgetting some things and . . . .
Seigel: Well when you first called me and said we were going to talk about
the history of my life, I said, “I can’t remember what I had for
breakfast, much less what I did years ago.” That’s why the record is on
Interviewer: Well that’s why this was more important than what you had for
breakfast. And may your days continue with great sources of joy and happiness.
Seigel: Thank you.
Interviewer: Thanks. Thank you.
End of interview