This is the morning of February 16, 1999. My name is Naomi Schottenstein. I’m
an interviewer for the Columbus Jewish Historical Society and this morning we’re
going to be interviewing Richard J. Solove and we’re at 8 E. Broad Street in
downtown Columbus. We’re trying to, in trying to establish a theme, Mr. Solove
has quite a varied background and I suppose the theme at this part would be his
involvement with the community in terms of real estate development and his
contribution to Ohio State University. But we’ll find out more as we go along.
Richard, tell us your full name.

Solove: My name is Richard Jack Solove.

Interviewer: Okay. And do you know what your Jewish name is?

Solove: Yes, it’s y’chil Zalman ben Yuruchen.

Interviewer: Well that’s a pretty impressive name. Do you know who you’re
named after?

Solove: I’m named after my father’s father.

Interviewer: Did you remember your father’s father?

Solove: No all four of my grandparents were deceased before I was born.

Interviewer: Okay. Do you have any nicknames or do you go by…

Solove: Dick.

Interviewer: Dick?

Solove: Yes.

Interviewer: Okay. Well if you don’t mind, we’ll call you Dick.

Solove: That’s fine.

Interviewer: …interview.

Solove: Most people do.

Interviewer: Okay. Was your surname always Solove or do you know if it was
originally another name?

Solove: When my dad, he came to America, he, of course, landed at Ellis
Island. That was in 1912.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And he was 19 years old and he came from, he was born in Dubroysk,
Russia. And…

Interviewer: Do you have any idea how that might be spelled? Could you know

Solove: No.

Interviewer: Dubroysk?

Solove: Dubroysk. I know it’s a small village not far from Kiev which is in
the Ukraine.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And his mother took him to the Polish border and that was at the time
of the Czar. That was before communism, in 1912.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And then he ran across the border and he was shot at and he didn’t
realize it obviously, and a 19-year old wouldn’t, but his mother stood on the
Russian side and they waved at each other and he did make it successfully across
the border but he didn’t realize he’d never see her again. And of course, he

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: I’ve often thought what courage it takes for a mother to, in
seeking freedom, that she took him to the border so that he could flee to
America and get away from the dominance of the Czar. ‘Cause of course the Czar
was in many ways, similar to Hitler in the fact that he was trying to establish
the supreme race and all males were required in their 19th year to go to Siberia
to serve military time and his theory was that only the strong would survive.
And of course we know with medical science that a person going to, I don’t
care how strong you are, if you are at the, if you are afflicted with pneumonia
or any of the other diseases that you could contact in that severe cold, you’re
going to die anyway. But anyway she took him to the border and he did get across
and then he just had to bring nothing with him and he went to Bremen, Germany,
or Gremen, yes, that’s on the Baltic Sea…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And then he came across and it was a three-week trip and he was down
in the hold and he landed and was in Ellis Island for three weeks also. And then
he lived in New York for 8 or 9 months and then, of course, what he did is . . .

Interviewer: He knew nobody in New York? He didn’t make contact?

Solove: He knew noone.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: Had had no relatives over here and so he came to, when he got into
New York City, he lived in a Russian community. New York to this day is still
somewhat segregated but it was really segregated back then and he lived in the
Russian com-

munity, spoke Russian and after about 8 or 9 months he could not speak any
English and he knew no one outside the community there.

Interviewer: Do you know what part of New York that was?

Solove: I don’t know.


Solove: But he was going to, he worked in a factory. He was a die maker. And
he stopped on the way home. There were railroad substations in a lot of the
boroughs and they all had coffee shops in the front. And he went into this
little coffee shop almost every day on his way home from work and he was sitting
in the coffee shop. He had, I’ve heard this story a number of times from my
father. There was a gentleman that came in and sat down and he was much older.
It turned out this fellow was 37 years old. But when you’re 19, 37 is a lot

Interviewer: Twice as old.

Solove: So he was talking, this gentleman had on a suit. Of course, my dad
had never owned a suit and then he was also carrying a briefcase so my dad had
faith and confidence that he was a man of stature because he didn’t know
anybody who lived like that or travelled like that. So the fellow was talking to
my dad in Russian and of course, he could speak English too. And my dad said he
came to America and he wants to be an American. Here he is working in a Russian
factory and living in a Russian community and he doesn’t know anybody other
than the people that are of Russian descent.

Interviewer: Sure.

Solove: So this fellow said, my dad asked him, “I don’t know what to
do. Where should I go? What should I do?”

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And mind you my dad had never seen this gentleman before and he asked
him and the fellow said to him, “There’s a very, very friendly small
town, very small town way out west that’s called Columbus, Ohio.”

Interviewer: Goodness.

Solove: And so my dad went from the seat at the coffee counter to the ticket
office and found that a one-way train ticket to Columbus, Ohio, and the
gentleman had written it out for my dad so he had it to show the ticket officer.
He said the ticket was $7 for a one-way ticket from New York to Columbus and my
dad had $11. He bought the ticket and got on the train. He stayed there until
the train was ready to go. He came to Columbus that day, well the next day; it
took an overnight travel. He got off at the train station…

Interviewer: Wait, before you get too far. Did he ever, did you ever find out
who that man was?

Solove: No.

Interviewer: Nobody ever knew him?

Solove: My dad didn’t, well if he did I don’t know.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: So he got off here in Columbus at the old train station which is
where the Hyatt Regency is right now. He got off at the train station, knew no
one and he walked out. He had nothing with him, just what he had on his back and
he had $4. Of course, $4 is 1912 was a lot more than it is today obviously.


Solove: And he went up to a policeman and the policeman couldn’t understand
him but they found somebody and this fellow wasn’t Russian, but he spoke
Yiddish and my dad was obviously very fluent in Yiddish and they were talking
and he took my dad and that’s when he had his first experience with the
Voliner Society. And the…

Interviewer: Verliner? How, V-E-R-?

Solove: V-O-L, Voliner.

Interviewer: Oh, okay, Voliner.

Solove: Voliner Society and my dad, what it was, the Voliner Society and I
remember my dad went, they met every Sunday and my dad always went to the
meetings. This is after I was born. I was born in 1925 so that was 13 years
after he came to Columbus and what he did is the Voliner Society was an
organization of Jews that, they were primarily, I think they all came from
Europe. I don’t know of any that came from anywhere else, but they were from
different parts of Europe.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And they were organized solely for the purpose of helping Jews that
were coming to America to get established in a community. And everybody, even
when things were tough, even during the Depression, they would all contribute
whatever they could and they’d take them in their homes and what they did is
my father was set up and went into, it was like a rooming house. He went to, her
name was Mary Cohen. Mary Cohen lived on 17th Street. It was around I guess, 480
or something like that, S. 17th Street. And Mary had three daughters and then my
dad lived there with them and then Mr. Cohen was not 30 years old and after my
dad lived there for a while, Mr. Cohen at the dining room, they’re having
dinner, had a massive coronary and died right there at the table.

Interviewer: Huh.

Solove: And they had three little girls. And my dad was extremely close to
the three girls…

Interviewer: Who were the three girls?

Solove: Sylvia Schechter…

Interviewer: I think we know her now.

Solove: Okay, and then there was Sophie, I don’t recall her last name . . .


Solove: Yeah. And then, and then…

Interviewer: Sophie Prigosin?

Solove: Sophie Prigosin, yes. And the other one’s Ruth, Ruth Unger. And
Ruth Unger was married to a physician and he, she was living I think in Kansas
City or someplace, St. Louis, somewhere in the midwest. But my dad was
instrumental in raising and being with those three girls and they were always
extremely close to my dad and you see, Mary Romanoff had her brother, his name
was Herman Furman. Herman Furman lived on Bryden Road, I think it was 837 Bryden
Road and he was a big fellow. He had Furman Coal Company. And he was very active
in the Voliner Society and so obviously my dad living there with Mary Cohen, and
she met Herman Furman because when he would come to visit his sister, who is
Mary Cohen…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And Mary after her husband died, some time later she married a
gentleman by the name of Alex Romanoff, and then they had one son who’s named
Ivan and Ivan Romanoff just died about two years ago…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: At the Heritage House. And Ivan was just a year older than me and we
were friends and when they would come to visit with Herman and his wife Ida, Ida
Furman, would come to visit Mary Cohen or Mary Rubin, or Mary Romanoff; they
brought Ida’s younger sister and Ida’s younger sister, her name was Rae
Abraham and Rae Abraham is my mother.

Interviewer: Oh so your father…

Solove: So my father met my mother through the Furmans and my mother was born
in Zanesville. She lived there until they got married. And then they got married
and they lived on Fulton…

Interviewer: What year was that that they got married?

Solove: They got married in January, 1917, five years after my dad was in

Interviewer: What did he now, I don’t want to get you off track but what
did your dad do for a living when he came…

Solove: He worked in a factory.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: He worked at Modern Tool and Die which is a factory on Essex which is
near Fifth Avenue and Cleveland Avenue. He was a die maker and he…

Interviewer: I’m just going to stop a second and just go back. Okay, to

Solove: and what they did is they were married in January. They were married
January 12, 1917, and then my oldest sister was born December 26 that same year.
So she was born 11 1/2 months later. And my sister Florence. And she still
lives, she’s living in Naples right now, Naples, Florida.

Interviewer: And who did she marry? At this point, maybe it would be good for
you to tell me about your siblings.

Solove: Okay. I have a one brother. He’s four years older than me. And his
name is Alvin, known as Al…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And he’s married to Caryl and they have children, grandchildren and

Interviewer: Who are their children?

Solove: Their children: Ronald Solove who was a judge and he’s practicing
law now. And then Larry Solove is an attorney. And then Jeff Solove, he runs
Barney and White Auto Parts now.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And then the youngest is Jill.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: Jill Herman. And then they all have children and then they have
greatgrandchildren too. And then four years older than him is my sister
Florence. And she lives, like I said, well and Al and Caryl, or Al and Florence,
both live in Naples about 8 months a year and then they’re here four months in
the summertime.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And I had a younger sister Bernice. And she was afflicted with cancer
and she died a year ago January.

Interviewer: Now who was Florence married to?

Solove: Florence is married right now to, his name is David Hurwitz.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And then Bernice was married to Sanford Goldstein and Sanford died of
cancer about 12 years ago and then Bernice died of cancer just 13 months ago.

Interviewer: Who were Bernice’s children?

Solove: She had two children. It was Marvin Goldstein and Stanley Goldstein.
And they both live in Tallahassee.

Interviewer: Uh huh. And Florence. Did she have children?

Solove: Florence had three children. Steven; he lives outside of Dallas,
Texas, or between Dallas and Galveston. And then Kenny Bless, Kenny Bless is her
second child and he lived for many years in the Los Angeles area but just
recently he’s moved and they’ve established a home in Las Vegas and then the
youngest one, Linda, lives in Connecticut.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Sounds like you have quite a large family. Do you, do
you all get together at any particular time or is it…

Solove: Well yes we’ve got together at primarily weddings, bar mitzvahs and

Interviewer: Uh huh. You don’t have family reunions…

Solove: No.

Interviewer: Well those, those are opportunities…

Solove: I do get my immediate family, that’s the four of us which was,
including Bernice, the four of us have gotten together frequently. In fact the
end of this month I’ll be going down to Naples to be with my brother and
sister and their spouses.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Great. So you still enjoy being together?

Solove: Yeah, we have a very close family.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Tell us about your children, your family.

Solove: I have three children and my oldest, his name is Greg, Greg Joseph
and he’s named after my dad’s brother Joseph Solove and Greg went, well all
three of my children attended the Torah Academy and Greg graduated from medical
school and he’s an M.D. And then he went on in residency in anesthesiology and
he’s practicing medicine and he’s in the hospital, in St. Joseph’s
Hospital which is the biggest hospital in Albuquerque. So he lives out there and
he’s been out there about 12 years now…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: and this month, he turned 44.

Interviewer: And how about his family? Does he have…

Solove: His wife is Deborah. She has a bachelors and a masters in nursing and
when he was in residency for anesthesiology, she went to law so she also has a
law degree so and she does practice medical malpractice just for the defendant
so with her background and with her husband being an M.D., she… she does
very, very well.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Solove: And then they have one child and that’s Jennifer, which is my
oldest grandchild. She’s 14 and she goes to a private school in Albuquerque.

Interviewer: Great.

Solove: And then my second son who’s 21 months younger than Greg, his name
is Jerome and he’s named after my dad and he was born 14 days after my dad

Interviewer: Oh.

Solove: And Jerry, he’s here in the office with me. He graduated from Ohio
State in Finance and Economics and then he spent a year at the London School of
Economics in England…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: and he’s the only one of our family that actually did go, he went
to Russia and he did visit over there.

Interviewer: Looking for, for roots, checking?

Solove: Uh huh.

Interviewer: I went to a real estate class with Jerome. I met him.

Solove: Oh is that right?

Interviewer: We sat next to each other in real estate class just a few years

Solove: Is that right?

Interviewer: Thirty hour continuing education…

Solove: Yeah. And he’s, Jerry’s doing well. And he’s here in the office
and he has four children himself and then…

Interviewer: Who’s he married to?

Solove: Her name is Alice, Allie. And I’ll tell you they have hope — hope
I can tell you. They have four children. The oldest is 9 and both my sons
graduated summa cum laude from college, the one that has the
medical degree and the one that graduated in economics and finance.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: Then my daughter…

Interviewer: Wait, tell me about Jerome’s children.

Solove: Well they’re 9…

Interviewer: Their names?

Solove: The oldest one’s Katy.

Interviewer: Okay.

Solove: Katherine.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And then next is Alex, he’s 8. And then there’s Nicky, she’s
just turned 4 and then they have a little boy Aaron and he’s 11 months old.

Interviewer: They keep the family busy, don’t they?

Solove: Yeah. And then my daughter, her name is Melissa and Missy’s a
practicing attorney in Washington, D.C., well she actually lives in Virginia
right outside of Washington, D.C. And she and her husband are both attorneys and
they have just one son. He’s nine years old.

Interviewer: What’s her husband’s name?

Solove: William.

Interviewer: William. And their son’s name is…

Solove: And his name is John.

Interviewer: Uh huh. And he’s nine and Missy graduated, she went to Ohio
State and then she got the law degree and she graduated from college cum
so they’ve all done real well.

Interviewer: Well you certainly can be proud of your…

Solove: I am.

Interviewer: children. Yeah.

Solove: Thank you.

Interviewer: And they’re proud of you too, I’m sure.


Interviewer: Yeah. So you get to see them pretty often do you?

Solove: Real frequently. Yeah. Yeah.

Interviewer: Good. Great. Are you presently married, Dick?

Solove: No I’m not.

Interviewer: Okay. Okay. Did you tell us, I don’t think you told us, your
grandparents’ names, did you, your mother’s and your father’s parents’

Solove: Like I said I never knew their parents but my mother’s name was Rae
and then my father’s name was Jerome.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And they, my mother was born in Zanesville. And…

Interviewer: What was her maiden name?

Solove: Her maiden name was Abraham.

Interviewer: Oh yeah, you did tell us that.

Solove: And then her parents came from, she was a first-generation American.
They came from what was then called Austra-Hungary. They came over around 1900,
around 1860.


Solove: And then my mother and dad were both born in 1893.

Interviewer: Interesting. Tell us about the homes you lived in that you
remember from a child on to your present home.

Solove: Well I lived at 476 S. 17th Street. In fact, I was born in the dining
room. They had taken the bed down there and I was born in the house.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And I had, and it was a strong Jewish community. Directly across the
street were the Finkelsteins and then next to the Finkelsteins going south were
people by the name of Soomsky and then next to the Soomskys was Mary Cohen

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: They lived in that next house. And we all attended Beth Jacob which
was on Donaldson Avenue. That’s where both my brother and I were Bar Mitzvahed
there and it was, we used to go to shul every Saturday and it was really
interesting. A fellow by the name of George Shustick who had a roofing company
on Parsons Avenue and George Shustick, just as an incentive, and it really was
funny when I think back. This was when we were all just young kids and this is
before Bar Mitzvah, long before you get from there. Every Saturday we would all
be there and he always had boxes of Hershey bars. And he’d give every kid a
Hershey bar…

Interviewer: Oh.

Solove: that came to services.

Interviewer: A little incentive?

Solove: Yeah.

Interviewer: I know at Agudas Achim…

Solove: Right.

Interviewer: there are a couple of people that do the same thing. Frank Nutis
was one and I don’t remember who the others are but they always had candies in
their pocket and you could see the kids go up to these candy people.

Solove: Mr. Mendelman who was at Beth Jacob… used to do the same
thing. He had the butcher shop there on Livingston Avenue just off of Parsons.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: Then my dad had, when I was born, my dad had a hardware store and his
hardware store was at Livingston and Parsons right next to Leonard’s Pharmacy.
And it was Solove Hardware.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And it was always a struggle and we lived, there were four of us
children and then there was a cousin that was raised in our house with us. She
was one year older than my oldest sister Florence. Her name was Lillian Abrams.
Her mother died at her birth, I guess which happened frequently back then. It
was 19–, 1916, and then my mother’s brother who was Lillian’s father, he
died of a heart attack when she was a little girl so my parents took her in so
she was raised right with the rest of us so we were really five kids.

Interviewer: Uh.

Solove: And then we moved from 17th Street. We lived for one year on Fulton
Street, 867, and then we moved to Linwood Avenue and we lived on Linwood at 1169
Linwood Avenue which was on the corner of Linwood and Siebert, just south of
Whittier, 2 blocks, and then I lived there through junior high and senior high.
I went to Roosevelt Junior High School and then South High School. In fact, I
was in the same class with your husband.

Interviewer: Yeah, I know. We’ve seen you at some reunions.

Solove: And then I worked for a year at Buckeye Steel Casting. That’s when
I decided I wanted to go to college so I went to Ohio State and…

Interviewer: Did your father pay your tuition to Ohio State? How did that

Solove: He couldn’t. My father, with the kids at home and work in a
factory; I remember our rent was $40 a month and I can vividly remember that he
took $10 out of his pay every week and put it in an envelope in his dresser
drawer so he’d have the $40 a month to pay the rent for the half of a double
that we lived in on Linwood Avenue. And Pa would take, they really couldn’t
afford to send me to school and I did have free room and board. I lived at home
and every dime for tuition, for books, fees, anything associated with going to
the University, I paid for myself. I worked, well, I’ve had a lot of jobs.
Even when I lived on 17th Street, I picked fruit in trees for people and I’d
get half of what I picked. I’d take a lot of it home and the rest of it I’d
go door-to-door and sell it. And then there was a huge strawberry patch on the
corner of Alum Creek Drive and Livingston Avenue. I used to ride my bike out
there and pick strawberries and I got 2 cents a quart for picking strawberries
and that’s how I bought my bicycle. And I worked at Gilbert’s Shoe Store as
a cash boy, I started when I was 14 and I would work 11 hours and I’d always
carry a penny with me because Social Security was 1% and working 11 hours, I
made $1 so I carried the penny so I could give it to the cashier when I got paid
so I got a full dollar bill. It was $1 that I got because I’d take the penny.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: I’d leave Gilbert’s which was on Town Street just east of Fourth
and at night when I’d get paid, it was 7 o’clock on Saturday night, I would
take the dollar and I would walk down to the Market Exchange Bank and put it in
the night depository and I saved that dollar every week and then I had a lot of
other odd jobs that I would work. I worked at Cooper Pharmacy at Whittier and
Ohio. Started there when I was in the 10th grade behind the soda fountain and
made good milkshakes, too.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: In fact, just yesterday, I saw Rabbi Rubenstein and he mentioned
yesterday about he and his wife have never had milkshakes the way…

Interviewer: Oh, the way you made…

Solove: I made them at Cooper Pharmacy. So anyway there was an awful lot of
Jewish people that came in to the drug store. That was a strong Jewish community

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: that area around Whittier and Ohio. I lived on Linwood just four
blocks away. So I worked there and then I worked every week-end when I was in
college. I worked 13 hours on Saturday and 13 hours on Sunday and then I’d
work all summer so I could go to college and Mr. Cooper is the one that really
influenced me into taking up pharmacy and I said I couldn’t afford it and he
says, “Well you can work here all you want to to make money so you can pay
your way.”

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And I did. And then I graduated from Pharmacy in 1948 and then after
that, that was on March 19, 1948, and then on February 1, 1949, I owned half the
drug store so Cooper and I were partners. He was a generation older than me.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Solove: He was the age of my parents and…

Interviewer: I was one of your customers at that point. We had children
starting in 1951. We lived on 22nd Street so we used to come into Cooper
Pharmacy and…

Solove: I remember the Schottenstein family. I think, didn’t they live on
Gilbert when they were born…

Interviewer: Art, my husband’s family?

Solove: Your husband. I think he lived down on Gilbert.

Interviewer: He lived in a lot of homes.

Solove: … big house course with a lot of kids. But that was a good drug
store. It was a very community-oriented drug store. In fact, there’s pictures
of it right there.

Interviewer: Yeah, those are pictures we’d like to have for the Historical
Society, if you can…

Solove: …I can get duplicates made.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: The one was taken when I started working there and the lower one was
when we remodeled it in 1951.

Interviewer: My goodness.

Solove: And you can see there, that’s when hot fudge sundaes were a dime
and banana splits — I used to buy, get banana splits at Leonard’s when I was
a kid, at Livingston and Parsons at three dips of ice cream and a whole banana,
whipped cream and nuts and fruit and cherries and the whole thing…

Interviewer: The works?

Solove: a dime.

Interviewer: A dime. Wow!

Solove: Yeah but most of us didn’t have a dime.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And I thought I was really fortunate when I could get a banana split.

Interviewer: Sure.

Solove: Anyway, then I practiced pharmacy from 1948 until 1963 and during
that time I had opened a big drug store at Hamilton and Livingston and, on the
southeast corner. And we put a medical building next door and then built another
drug store, another pharmacy with a medical building and that’s where I got
into real estate. I didn’t get into real estate, I knew nothing about it, took
no courses in it and to this day, I still don’t have a license. But you don’t
need a license if you handle just your own real estate and what happened is I
did the medical offices, we built a lot of them. But I didn’t do it to get the
rent. What I did it for is to get the prescriptions ’cause I had the drug
store next door.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And they’d come out of the doctor’s offices, they were right by
the prescription department. And so we did enhance the business and we did real
well, Mr. Cooper and I and we had the three drug stores. And then in 1962, the
United States Supreme Court ruled that fair trade was not constitutional and
that’s price fixing by the manufacturer and it was at that time that the
discounters started. Up until then, there were none. I saw the writing on the
wall and I sold the drug stores and went full time into real estate because at
that time, I had built one shopping center and, a small one, and I was…

Interviewer: On your own, I mean that was just kind of a touch-and-go

Solove: Well it was across the street, catty-corner from one of my drug
stores and I knew that the potential was there and I had already acquired a
number of pieces of vacant land. When I was making money in the drug store, my
only investment was vacant land. I always felt that they make stock, they make a
lot of products, but they don’t make more land. And my philosophy was always
just to buy land. And I feel that the problem today is most young people, they
want immediate return on an investment and that’s not the way to make money. I
mean you hold, you take land; I’ve got land right now that I’ve owned since
1961 and of course, that’s been, that’s 38 years ago.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And I still have land since back then and a lot since then. But you
know I’ve been full time, I sold the three drug stores in 1963 and then went
full time into real-estate development and that’s where I am today.

Interviewer: Well that’s quite a change in career and you just kind of
eased into it comfortably it looks like. Let’s go back to your neighborhood;
we’re going to continue with your business association in a little bit. But I
want to go back to where your roots were from, can you remember how your Bar
Mitzvahs worked out, your Bar Mitzvah, your brother’s. What were Bar Mitzvahs
like in your youth?

Solove: Well of course it was really a big festivity. I think a lot of the
difference was today you know Bar Mitzvahs are big, catered affairs and back
then, it was like, I know my mother and her sisters and family and everybody was
baking and preparing food and it was actually held in the house and they had all
their friends and my friends and it was, it was a big occasion. And I know that,
well I just feel that, well actually like today, people eat out a lot in
restaurants. When I was being raised, if we ate out, it was always at a neighbor’s,
well not a neighbor’s, a close friend and primarily relatives. They were at
our house or we were at their house.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And my mother was in the kitchen and cooked all the time and I can
remember in August, in September, in the harvest season, when I’d go to the
Central Market with my dad and he’d buy bushels of all kind of tomatoes and
vegetables and fruit and my mother worked days and days, make pickles and you
know the way they would can and store, we had a big fruit celler down on 17th
Street which was next to the coal bin ’cause we had a coal furnace and we used
to make the jellies and the jams and all the canned fruit. And I can remember as
a little kid, all the Mason jars, the Bell Mason jars that, my hands were small
enough that I could reach inside and arrange the pickles so they could be
crammed up and my mother would make the dill and the garlic and salt water and
she could do the whole process and do the canning. And in my mind, Furman, on
Bryden Road, 837 I think it was, it was a big home and she used to, the way they
would cook and can, it was just incredible. It’s a totally different life
style than today.

Interviewer: There was your sociability and your whole structure of life was
around your family and what your names were.

Solove: There’s no question about that.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Which is a real strong tie and I think it was quite

Solove: Yeah, I don’t think there’s any question about that either. We
were and we still are; my sister had passed away a year ago and it’s been
pretty devastating for all of us…

Interviewer: Sure.

Solove: and of course, cancer has afflicted everybody somewhere; it has, it
is or it will be, and it’s a… I have one brother and two sisters, or I
have one sister now and we are and always have been very, very close.

Interviewer: I’m just curious. Your, your interest in the Ohio State Cancer
Clinic. Can you tell us how that developed? Your interest?

Solove: In 1953, my mother was preparing dinner and we were living then on
Brookside Drive at Eastmoor and I noticed, I talked to my dad. There was just my
dad and I and my mother. My mother was by the stove and my dad and I were
sitting opposite each other as we are and he turned his head to talk to my
mother and I noticed a lump at the base of his throat. I got up and at that
time, I had been out of pharmacy just four and a half years and I walked over, I
was practicing pharmacy then and I walked over and I got hold of my dad’s chin
and I turned it, I said, “Turn your head.” So he turned his head and I
felt this lump at the base of his throat and I said, “What is that?”
and he said he didn’t know what I was talking about because when you looked
forward, you couldn’t see anything. And like when he’d shave, you couldn’t,
he couldn’t see it and but when he turned his head you could feel that lump.
So we went to the family physician. His name was Abe Kanter and Abe Kanter’s
office was on Livingston Avenue just west of Parsons and we went to Abe Kanter’s
office and he checked my dad’s neck and said, “I think you should, I have
a doctor I’d like for you to go see and have it checked. And his name is
Arthur James.” And it was on Neil Avenue just south of campus. So we made
the appointment right away and we went to…

Interviewer: Was Dr. James associated with the university at that time?

Solove: Yes.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: But he was in the College of Medicine.

Interviewer: Okay.

Solove: There was no, Cancer Hospital wasn’t there.

Interviewer: Right.

Solove: And this was 1953 and he and I went into Dr. James and they checked
and he said right away that it should be removed. So he was put in the hospital
actually the next day and they did a biopsy and then right away did the surgery.
He had an extensive surgery. He had a thyroid cancer and he started with that.
He had chemotherapy and radiation and then he had to go to the hospital four
days a week, every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and my sister Florence
would take him twice a week and I took him twice a week so the two of us took
him each of those days and it was hell and his last year was very bad. He had
extensive osteolotic metastasis which is the deterioration, cancer in the bone
and he had it all through his body and then he died in 1956 so that was three
years later and I had gotten to know Dr. James very well during that time. We
remained close and then in 1977, Dr. James really had the idea of a cancer
hospital and he talked to several people and we met downtown at the Columbus
Club in the summer of 1977 and that’s when the foundation was formed to try to
put together the development of an autonomous solely cancer hospital. And we
knew it needed, it took $80 million to do what we wanted to do and the people
that were primarily in that were John W. Wolfe, Dave Thomas, Len Immke, Jack
Havens, Dean Jeffers (Nationwide), and myself. And there were a few others and
we really got together and we met with the legislature and the governor.

was Jim Rhodes at the time, and between Jim Rhodes and then the speaker of the
house, I think it was Vern Riffe, and they were very strong advocates for us and
we got the legislature to appropriate $40 million and then we raised the rest
and we built the hospital. But it was a long, hard struggle. It took 13 years to
get open. The hospital actually opened early in 1990 and so it’s been there
for nine years going on ten and it’s a fantastic facility. It’s eleven
stories and the people are very, very committed, dedicated, sincere. Dr. James
was fantastic and he was, he had been the President of the American Cancer
Society and to know him is to love him. I mean he’s a wonderful person and so
he spent many hours in this office here with me and I spent many hours with him
up there at the hospital too. I still go up there. I’m up there every week
working on this because, like I said, everybody has been or will be afflicted
with cancer. In fact, I just looked and I have a Cancer Board meeting. You see,
there’s a Cancer Foundation which is the arm that solicits and raises money
for people that will donate money for cancer…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: …and then there’s a Governing Board at the James Hospital. And the
Governing Board is made up of just four people that are outside of the hospital.
The rest of them are the Medical Director of the hospital, the Medical Director
of the Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Dean of the College of Medicine, the
Vice President of all Medical Affairs for the University, and then the Chief of
Staff of the University and also the Development Director of the University and
then there’s four people and I’m the only one that has ever, and I still am
on the Foundation and the Governing Board, and I’m the only one that’s ever
been on both boards at the same time, both boards, and I still am. And I’ve
been on that for at least five years and then I was President of the Foundation
for five years. And of course, I started that in 1977.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: I just feel very strongly that that’s the reason I made the

Interviewer: Tell us about your contribution.

Solove: Well the thing that I have is, like I say, everybody’s been
afflicted with cancer. They have been, they are or they will be, either them or
somebody very close to them.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And it’s a horrible condition and you know, I just feel that, well
first of all, I’m chairman of the campaign right now that’s called
“Threshold of Discovery” and we really are on the threshold of
discovery. I mean we’ve made great strides. We’ve really accomplished a lot
and there’s a lot of things that have come on board and I’m sure you’ve
read about Dr. Folkman…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: and some of the things that he’s been able to accomplish. But at
Ohio State University, we have an incredible research department and it’s
getting national and international notoriety and I’ve mentioned that all three
of my children are professional. They’re all doing well financially and I’ll
tell you, I just feel that as a parent, you owe your children a foundation and
that foundation is education and I think this is the theory and to the practice
of Judaism since its inception that’s the reason when we have migrated
throughout the world, the first thing you build before you build a synagogue is
you build a school. And I think education is critical. That’s the basis of
everything and then I’ve been very fortunate in… couldn’t have been
any poorer than we were but as poor as we were, I never knew we were poor. I
never felt poor. We had everything we wanted and we had a lot of love and care
from our parents, our family…

Interviewer: And your basic needs were met.

Solove: Everything. And I’ll tell you, I think we’re a lot better off for
that. And then I just really thought, you know, that what I’ve done when I
made the commitment on the 19th of December, when I signed all the papers, and I’d
worked several months with attorneys working out the work on probate and states,
you know, and my commitment is $20 million and I think it’s very interesting
that the four largest contributions ever made to Ohio State University are all
Jews and the first one was the largest, was $25 million is Les Wexner. The
second and third are both $20 million. One is Max Fisher and the other one is
mine. And they both are $20 million and then the third is for $13 million, was
Jay Schottenstein.

Interviewer: Humph.

Solove: But I think it’s interesting that, of course, tsedakah is
the keystone, it always has been…

Interviewer: Of Judaism. Uh huh. Tell us what the facilities are that can be
credited to the other donors that you just mentioned.

Solove: Well Wexner, there is that Arts Building; it’s at the corner of
15th and High, Mershon…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: It’s attached to Mershon Hall and that’s the Wexner Center and
that’s what Wexner built and then Max Fisher, his $20 million established the
Max Fisher College of Finance and Economics. It’s a business college.

Interviewer: Uh huh. It’s several buildings, he was…

Solove: Yes, it’s near the stadium.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And it just opened this past year. And then on my $20 million they
said that what they would do, the attorneys talked to me about having a
building, a full building just carrying my name and of course I didn’t want
that. I felt rather than having a building, what I wanted is for just, maybe it’s
because of my pharmacy background, I have a major in pharmacy and a minor in
chemistry, and I just think that if you can make life better and extend it for
humanity, what better thing could you do and I feel that’s better than a
building and…

Interviewer: A beautiful legacy.

Solove: Well I’ll tell you, you know it’s interesting when this all took
place, I had a reporter from the Dispatch came in and he said to me,
“Mr. Solove,” he said, “what kind of legacy would you like to
leave?” And I thought and I said, and this is true, I never ever thought in
terms of a legacy. I never…

Interviewer: You just did it?

Solove: I just feel that when you do things, I know we’re supposed to
believe in the hereafter but I don’t. I think you live on as long as you’re
in the memories of those that loved you…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: that you, that you loved, that your children and your grandchildren
and then eventually that all goes away. And as the reporter mentioned to me, he

“You know you have a lot of shopping centers,” and I do. He says,
“People will continue going there and the name of the shopping center, they’re
not going to remember human relationship to a shopping center.” I own a
couple thousand apartments and they’re not going to remember the apartments
either. And then I own office buildings, in fact, I own both of these buildings
at this corner of Broad and High. But the thing is that that’s not going to be
remembered either. But doing this for cancer and what they’ve done is the
James Cancer Hospital is now named, and it’s official through the Board of
Trustees which will be for perpetuity, the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and
Richard J. Solove Research Institute.

Interviewer: Oh…

Solove: And I would rather, I would much rather be second to Dr. James than
to be first on some other building.

Interviewer: Couldn’t be any better person to be second to.

Solove: Well that’s right. That’s the way I feel.

Interviewer: Yeah. Dick, I’m going to…

Solove: I just love him.

Interviewer: I’m going to stop for a moment because we’re almost at the
end of side A of Tape 1 and we’ll continue in just a second. Okay we’re on
side B of Tape 1. We’re continuing our discussion with Dick. Let’s see, we
were talking about the legacy of the, your donation that you just recently made.
Is there anything more that you can add? It’s been a wonderful story and we’ve
really, we’re fortunate to have this on tape. This will continue, your work
there will continue I’m sure. You’ll continue to be on…

Solove: The way the endowment was made is that they can’t use the
principal. What they do is the University, they have in the Treasurer’s
Office, his name is Jim Nichols, right now, they control $1.6 billion and they
have a Merrill Lynch or the Ohio Company or a lot of the other stock companies,
they have a huge department that just invests money, constantly they’re
trading and for the last ten years, the last ten years, now that’s going
through the recession basically 1990-’91, they’ve averaged a 14% return and
so predicated on the past, this $20 million will bring in an annual income of
$2.8 million without touching the principal and that will subsidize a lot of
research and that’s what I want, and that’s what’s going to be…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And then I have established further that in the event that, I shouldn’t
say if, when cancer is conquered and it will be. I’m sure it will be. When it
is conquered, then that money is to be used for other medical research. There’s
always going to be med—-, there’s a lot of medical conditions that are
worthwhile and — but everyone is entitled to their own priorities and their own
charities. I think charity is part of life and I think that what I want the
income from my endowment to be used for is medical research and I’ve left it
that the Director of the James, the Dean of the College of Pharm—, of
Medicine, and the Vice President of Medical Affairs, the three of them will
decide what field it goes into.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Well I’m glad you explained that to us. That’s a
real interesting concept. You mentioned a little while back about Dr. Judah
Folkman. Can you comment on his research, what he’s going through now?

Solove: Well Dr. Folkman came up with the concept when he was 31 or 32 years
old and Dr. Folkman today has got to be 67, and somewhere in that category.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And he’s an incredible individual. And I know him and I have
tremendous respect and admiration for him and his father, of course, was Rabbi
Folkman and besides being a rabbi, he was a full Professor of Philosophy at Ohio
State University and he was quite a scholar and the fruit doesn’t fall far
from the tree. And Judah Folkman when he was 31 or 32 years old, he came up with
this philosophy of endostatin and, well there’s several things that he said
then that a cell can’t grow without a blood supply. The nourishment for any
growth is in the body as blood but he couldn’t find any capillary, any vessels
that were feeding the cancer cells and they thought like so many people that
have been geniuses and great scientists, Einstein and many others in their
category, people think, “Well, they’re crazy. They come up with these
ideas and philosophies.” Well Dr. Folkman, Judah Folkman, stuck to his
convictions. He was head of the department at Harvard and in research and
oncology, cancer research, and he stuck to it and now lo and behold, they have
found that there is a blood supply going to cancer but it’s very minuscule. It’s
very, very tiny and it could not have been perceived years ago. But it took him
over 30 years to prove this point. Thirty years and now he definitely, it does
work I know and here just very recently, just in the last couple of months . . .

Interviewer:… been in the papers a lot.

Solove: it’s been, it’s been approved by the Federal Government and the
NCI, that’s the National Cancer Institute which is part of NHI which is the
National Health Institute, so they know that it is there and now what they’re
doing is they’re setting up programs to do research on human beings to use
this product. Now will it work in humans? Does it work in humans? That is to be
found. That is not conclusive but it should because there’s a real similarity
between mice and men and adult human beings…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: but it’s really amazing. He can be highly commended. I mean the man
is truly a genius and he’s very low key, he’s not looking for personal
glorification and he’s just making a contribution to humanity.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Yeah I heard him speak recently and his humbleness was
really impressive.

Solove: It’s sincere.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Solove: It’s wonderful.

Interviewer: But he didn’t have a lot of supporters during the years that
he was doing all this research, he had to really struggle through that.

Solove: Well that…

Interviewer: But he was a believer…

Solove: That’s right. There was a lot of challenge in there…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: I mean people that didn’t believe.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And he just really stuck to it and he was consistent and he was
persistent and lo and behold, now he’s being proven right.

Interviewer: You think he may be a contender for the Nobel…

Solove: Yes I do.

Interviewer: Prize at some time?

Solove: Yes I do and I hope so.

Interviewer: Uh huh. I heard that about six or seven years ago: “Watch
for Dr. Judah Folkman,” that he may some day be a Nobel Prize winner. And
hopefully we’ll see that. Well that was an interesting aspect. I know you have
many other interests and things that you’re totally involved in and we’re in
an office here surrounded by plans and a lot of different places that you can
probably tell us about, your real estate developments.

Solove: Well I have, course my, my main thrust has been in shopping centers
and we have several of them in stages of development right now. In fact, the
reason I was late for this meeting this morning was I was meeting with the
leaders of Westerville working on a major development for that area and then we
have a big shopping center that’s under construction right now on North, on
#23 north of Powell Road and we’ve opened a Kohl’s and there will be a big
WalMart Super Center and about 70 other stores that will be there and then we
have, well we have a couple of other things that are in process. So we just,
really we keep busy…

Interviewer: Yeah.

Solove: And we’re not building any more apartments right now or office
buildings but we have land for it and I’m sure we will in the future.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Do you have partners in your corporation?

Solove: Yes, I have, the primary partner is Jack Chester who’s head of a
big law firm in town.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And then we have other partners in a lot of properties but they’re
just small interests. I mean they either owned the land; I’ve never gone for
an investor. It’s just that they have owned the land and we develop it for
them and then they participate in the equity.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Are you outside of Columbus, I mean outside of Ohio, I
should say?

Solove: No. No we’re not. We’re not out, we’re in several counties in
Central Ohio but that’s it. We don’t go far out. Right or wrong my
philosophy has always been that business is as good as you watch.

Interviewer: Uh huh. So you can keep your hands on it?

Solove: That’s right.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Well that’s great. I know you’re very, every-day
actively involved in your business, aren’t you?

Solove: Yes I am

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: I’m not very good at delegating responsibility.

Interviewer: Do you hope to or do you plan to continue as you are in your
business now?

Solove: Yes, as long as I’m able.

Interviewer: No plans for retirement?

Solove: No.

Interviewer: You’re not the kind of person that would enjoy just hanging
out, would you?

Solove: Well my vocation and avocation have been the same. I belong to three
golf courses, two here in Columbus, Muirfield and New Albany… .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: and then I belong to one down in Naples. I just built a home down
there on a golf course, and I have never played one game of golf in my life and
I really don’t have any desire to.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: I think they’re important. I think it helps the community and the
developer, but it just doesn’t have any appeal to me.

Interviewer: So how do you relax? How do you just unwind?

Solove: Like I said, my vocation and avocation is my business and I love the
business. I feel sorry for people that go to work because they have to and I don’t
have to work.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: But I really do love it and I’ve got a collection of antique

Interviewer: Oh.

Solove: And then I take them to car shows and things and I’ve got sixteen
cars at home.

Interviewer: Where is your present home?

Solove: I live in Blendon Township between Westerville and New Albany and I’ve
been there a little over 25 years.

Interviewer: Is that a home you built?

Solove: Yes. I built that before #270 was open.

Interviewer: Oh, you were a pioneer?

Solove: Yeah, way out there. It was country then.

Interviewer: And you have your cars there as well?

Solove: Yes I do. I have eight acres.

Interviewer: Uh huh. You have plenty of room to expand there too?

Solove: Yeah I have a big garage, obviously.

Interviewer: Your interest in the cars, do you work on them at all or…

Solove: No, I’m not mechanical at all.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: But they’re kept in excellent condition.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And they’re judged, I’ve won a lot of trophies and the judging is
based on, predicated on two factors: one is condition and two is authenticity.
And I’ve won a lot of prizes. I’ve shipped them all over the country and
even into Canada.

Interviewer: Do you drive any of these?

Solove: All of them.

Interviewer: All of them? Uh huh.

Solove: Only when the weather is nice.

Interviewer: Only when the weather is nice. You don’t want to take any
chances, huh?

Solove: That’s right. The underneath and the motors are as clean as the

Interviewer: Wow. Say doesn’t Jay Leno have a collection?

Solove: Yes he has. I’ve seen him at car shows…

Interviewer: Yeah.

Solove: and talked to him.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Well that’s a fascinating hobby. That would be your
main hobby, would it?

Solove: Yes.

Interviewer: Uh huh. I know you have some other interests. How about

Solove: Well I’m pretty involved in politics.

Interviewer: Do you want to give us some background on that?

Solove: Well I really do believe that you have no right to complain unless
you’re willing to become active. I mean, if you want to complain about a
situation and if you really believe in something, you should be outspoken and
try to understand both sides…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: and I’d like to think of myself as an independent. I was raised in
a family of Democrats. My parents were Democrats. My brother and sister are
still very much Democrats and I’d like to think of myself as an independent. I’m
more interested in the convictions of the individual. I have voted for both. I
vote predominantly for Republicans. I’m registered as a Republican because
ideologically and philosophically I believe in their principles and I think the
Democratic Party today has become very strongly Socialistic in a lot of their
philosophies and the way they advocate their principles. Now that’s very, very
personal. I mean everybody’s entitled…

Interviewer: Sure.

Solove: each person for their right but I don’t think anyone has a right to
force anyone into anything else. That’s the reason that I think on a lot of
issues: abortion, if it’s religion, race, nationality, whatever. Whatever a
person wants to believe in, is okay with me providing they don’t try to force
it on someone else. And I feel the same way. I have no right to force my
convictions on someone else either. But I’m very, very close to John Kasich
and I’ve dealt with him, well since he was 25 years old and that’s over 26
years, or 21 years ago and John’s almost 47.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: He’ll be 47 on the 13th of May and John just put his bid in for
President of the United States and he’s raised a lot of money. He’s got a
long way to go. He’s going to be a long shot.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: But he’s done a great job in Congress and, his father was a
mailman. The kind of things that have happened to John Kasich and to me too
personally, these kind of things can only happen in a country like America and
there’s very few places that you can really have the opportunity to make
something out of yourself and of course, I very strongly believe you’re only
living by your desires. You can do anything you want to do if you’re willing
to pay the price and the price is not money. It’s hard, hard work, commitment
and dedication. And I think that’s the criterion.

Interviewer: Yeah, that’s beautiful. Could it be possible that we saw you
on TV last night? Were you with John?

Solove: Yes I was.

Interviewer: Yeah. I think…

Solove: I didn’t see it but…

Interviewer: Well we were watching it and Bernie said, he knew I was coming
here today, and he says, “I think I just saw Dick Solove.”

Solove: Yeah, I was up on the stage with him.

Interviewer: Yeah, yeah. Well this is an exciting time.

Solove: Well it is.

Interviewer: It would really be exciting to be involved in a campaign on that

Solove: Well I tell you, I just, for 21 years since John’s been, ran the
first time, I’ve had fund raisers every year at my home for him. Every year.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And they’ve gotten bigger and bigger and bigger and I have a large
home. Last time we had about 140 people at the house and I think John is very,
very basic. I think he is “grass roots.” He can communicate with the
Chairman of the Board of General Motors and he can also communicate and they can
understand communication with him as a ditch digger.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: That means that he can reach people at all levels. And of course, I
like him a lot obviously. See both his parents were killed by a drunken driver
in an automobile accident about 15-16 years ago, and he has introduced me on
many occasions as his adopted father. So we really do have a close relationship.

Interviewer: Yeah. Well he’s fortunate to have his relationship with you.

Solove: Well thank you.

Interviewer: It works both ways.

Solove: It’s been good.

Interviewer: Uh huh. You’ve had a very exciting and fruitful life Dick, I’m
just going to fill in with a few more ideas from the past. Tell me if you,
during World War II, were you in the service?

Solove: No I wasn’t.

Interviewer: Uh huh. What do you remember about World War II in terms of
friends and family that…

Solove: I could, my brother was in the service and like I said, I graduated
from South High School in 1943 and I had Irvin Furman, my first cousin, was
killed in the World War. He was a bombardier and he was shot down by the
Japanese; it was supposed to be his last mission. Irvin Furman, my cousin, was
the same age as my brother, four years older. And Irvin was killed and then the
Soomskys I told you lived just one house down across the street from me on 17th
Street. And they had one son, there were three girls and one boy, and the one
son, his name was Sanford Soomsky. He was killed by the Nazis and then there was
another boy, a neighbor that lived on 18th Street just behind us, and his name
was Morris Hurwitz. And he was also killed in the World War so I do remember.
And I don’t read, I’m not sure why I did it but I still have the front pages
of the DISPATCH and the CITIZEN at home from when the war was declared and all
the major battles and also the piece when we were victorious in Germany and then
in Japan.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And so…

Interviewer: Well that was history.

Solove: That was history. That’s exactly right.

Interviewer: Uh huh. That you’ve lived through.

Solove: Yep. And I remember the food stamps and gas rationing and the whole
bit. And I’ll tell you, I say that one of the advantages of living to be
older, and I’m 73, and is that you’ve got, I have a lot of memories and
there’s a lot of things that people take for granted today that it’s really
too bad. I think they’ve missed a lot.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And I’ll tell you, and I think most of all I think families have
deteriorated a lot. I think the closeness of families is not what it was before
because like I say, we really had a very, very close family.

Interviewer: Do you make effort to bring your children and grandchildren
together just as…

Solove: Absolutely.

Interviewer: Just your immediate family?

Solove: We had, I had between the day after Christmas until the second of
January, that 8 days, we were all of us and all the grandchildren, everybody was
together down at my new home in Florida so we were all together then and they
were here when they had the event for the function that the University did for
me, I mean for the $20 million contribution.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Dick are you involved in the Jewish community in any way
or do you have interests in…

Solove: Well I was on the Board at the Heritage House and as a matter of
fact, in the Tower, there on the first floor it’s called the Rae and Jerome
Solove Health Assessment Clinic and I paid for that.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And that’s been, that’s been I guess it’s 18, 18-20 years ago.

Interviewer: I just saw that yesterday. I was at Heritage House.

Solove: Did you see the…

Interviewer: Yeah. Sure did.

Solove: And I think my parents’ pictures are there and I paid for that back
then in honor of my mother and father.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And then I was on, just for a short time I was on the board there.
And of course as a kid, I was in AZA and, which was a very active organization.
And we always met at Schonthal Center which was at, I think it was 555 Rich

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And…

Interviewer: There are a lot of fond memories of Schonthal Center.

Solove: Yeah. Schonthal Center had a, it was a fountain, a big fountain
outside at the Center and I can remember just as a little kid when we used to go
wading in that pond. And I mean that’s been a hundred years ago, I mean that’s
been a long time ago. But I do have, then in the back there was a big, it was
the horse carriage barn. It was a big barn and then it was converted into a
basketball arena…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And we used to play basketball back there all the time.

Interviewer: Who are some of the guys you played basketball with? Do you have
any memories of…

Solove: Yeah, well I don’t know.

Interviewer: They’ve been out of your life for a long time?

Solove: Been a long time. Yeah.

Interviewer: What about synagogues? You mentioned that your family belonged

Solove: Beth Jacob.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: The synagogue was like I say, it was on Donaldson Avenue and when I
was Bar Mitzvahed and all the years when I was growing up it was Rabbi
Greenwald. And as a matter of fact, it’s interesting. I was getting things
together to ship to the new house in Florida and I found the chumash that
I opened it, that I got at my Bar Mitzvah and it was a gift and it was signed by
Rabbi Greenwald.

Interviewer: Oh what treasure.

Solove: Leopold Greenwald. And I’ve got that book…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: ‘Course that’s been 60 years ago…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And he was quite a scholar and I used to go down you know, when you
think, I mean we had a big mechitza in the balcony around up on the
second floor and where the women had to sit upstairs, you know.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And…

Interviewer:… the women, separated the women from the men?

Solove: Right.


Solove: And then the bema was actually in the middle. It wasn’t,
they had the Aron Kodesh, the Torahs were up at the, at the end of
the synagogue and it was the Rabbi and the President sat up there but then when
they would, had readings from the Torah, it was always in the center. And it was
really interesting to me, three years ago, I took a trip around-the-world and I
spent three weeks in India. And when I was in India, we had a guide and a driver
in every city we went to. We went to a lot of them ’cause we wanted to really
visit India. And when I was in Bombay, one of our guides, and most could speak
English well. They had real long names, typically Hindu. And I found the Hindus
very friendly. They were very nice people. Very poor but very nice. And not much
middle class there. I mean, you’re either very few wealthy and masses
extremely poor. But anyway, the guide that came to the hotel to meet us in
Bombay, India, his name was Joshua. And we were across the harbor and we were at
a place called the Elephant Caves and we were sitting up there. That’s where
we stopped to get a Coke, and I said, we’re sitting at the picnic table. I
said, “Joshua that’s an unusual name here in India.” So he said,
“Well,” he said, “I’m Jewish.” I said, “You’re
Jewish,” I said, “So am I.” And so anyway we were talking. He was
a young man about 23-24 years old.

Interviewer: But he was Indian?

Solove: He was definitely Indian.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Solove: And he said that his mother and father were both Orthodox Jews and
there’s very few, he said there’s only about 7- or 800 families in the whole
country and there’s a billion people in India. I mean, it’s four times the
population of the United States and it’s half the size of America but it’s
four times the population. Anyway I said, “Well you know, I’m really
surprised . I didn’t know there were any Jews in India” He said,
“Well there aren’t many,” and he mentioned that there are just about
700 families and he said, “As a matter of fact, my ancestors came over from
Israel at the time of the Inquisition, the time of the Masada.” He said,
“They fled the Romans and came over to India,” and he could direct
time that they actually came over then. And it was interesting that he had one
brother and his brother had gone back to Israel and I’m not sure if he said,
he was either in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv but his older brother had gone back . . .

Interviewer: Huh.

Solove: to India and he was saying that he could only marry a Jewish girl and
he said to me, “Would you be interested in seeing a synagogue in India, in
Bombay?” And I said, “I certainly would.” And he said, “Well
there’s one that’s just less than a mile away from your hotel,” and so
the next morning he came and got me and I went to the synagogue and the shamas
was there and it was locked up. But we got in and went upstairs and they had
the memorial tablets like we all have in our synagogues and then I walked in and
I stood there. I was so mesmerized, I was so almost paralyzed because I’m
telling you, it was called the Iraqi Synagogue, the Iraqi Synagogue ’cause of
course, Iraq, you know, that, Babylonia, that was the… they were all Jews
back then.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And I mean the way, it’s hard to believe that it was predominantly
Jewish at one time. But anyway, when I walked into that synagogue, I stood
there. I could not believe it looked exactly like the Beth Jacob on Donaldson

Interviewer: Really?

Solove: It had the iron posts, it had the balcony for the women around the

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: It had the Aron Kodesh at the end where the Torahs are, the
seats for the officers, for the rabbi and the center was where they had the davening,
I mean. And then I picked up the chumash and I looked at it and it was
written and of course I could read, it was in the Hebrew on one side and the
other side was Hindu. It’s like here we have the English on one side. I mean
it was, in fact I’ve got chills right now even thinking about it. It was such
a shock to me to see this place right in the middle of Bombay. It was called the
Iraqi Synagogue.

Interviewer: Well that’s so interesting. And it was not something you were
looking for. You just kind of…

Solove: Never heard of it.

Interviewer: fell into it? I’ve never, I’ve never heard anything about
Jews in India so this is the first time I’m ever hearing about it.

Solove: It really was fantastic. I mean, I just really…

Interviewer: Our people are all over the world.

Solove: Yep.

Interviewer: That’s great. That’s great. How long was this
around-the-world trip that you took?

Solove: About a month and a half.

Interviewer: Uh huh. That sounds great.

Solove: Yeah.

Interviewer: Uh huh. You were satisfied with it, really?

Solove: Yeah. The only part of it that was really bad was, it was a
horrifying experience. We spent two nights in Karachi, Pakistan, and of course,
they didn’t, if you’re from Israel, you’re not allowed to even land in
Karachi, I mean in Pakistan. They hate the Jews. They’re all Shi’ite Muslems
and so we were there and it was, well I know I lost 14 pounds and LaDonna lost 8
pounds on the trip, and in fact when I left there, she didn’t want me to go
because I was so ill. I had profuse vomiting and diarrhea but, I took a bag with
me and went to the airport and I said, “We’re getting out of here. We got
to get out of here.” And we flew, we went to Bangkok and then Manila. But
it was…

Interviewer: Is that where you got sick or?

Solove: Yes.

Interviewer: Do you think you got sick from the food or…

Solove: I don’t know.

Interviewer: traveling?

Solove: I don’t know. But it was just…

Interviewer: Did you recuperate from that bout?

Solove: Yeah. I got back in the States, we got back and we landed in San
Francisco and we landed out on the tarmak, we didn’t land at the terminal. And
I know when I turned around, I walked down the steps first. I turned around to
look at LaDonna and she wasn’t there. I looked and she actually got down and
kissed the ground.

Interviewer: Ohhhhhh.

Solove: She was so glad to be back here.

Interviewer:… terrifying then?

Solove: Yeah. Oh it was horrible. I mean…

Interviewer: Did you cut your trip short? You just…

Solove: No.

Interviewer: Uh huh. All right.

Solove: But I’ll tell you, ‘course I’ve seen an awful lot of change
here in Columbus and I think with the freeway system and just the whole
lifestyle. I know my father’s been gone, he died in, well 42 years ago and so,
he died actually in 1946 or 1956 and he would never recognize the city.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Solove: I mean it’s so changed and I’m thinking that, as I was mentioning
before, when on Yom Kippur, on the holidays when we used to go to, well like all
three of the shuls, the synagogues were close together, the Ahavas Shalom
and the Agudas Achim were contiguous; they were right next door to each other on
the corner of Donaldson and Washington and then a half a block away was Beth
Jacob but all the kids were always together in all of them. A whole group of us,
we’d always go over to the Roths. And the Roth family lived on the southwest
corner of Fulton and Washington.

Interviewer: Who were their family members? The Roths?

Solove: Oh wow. I don’t, that was a big family. And Mrs. Roth was related
to Mary Romanoff, Mary Cohen…

Interviewer: That’s right.

Solove: And also to Herman Furman.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And it’s all intertwined, I mean, a lot of mishpocha.

Interviewer: Yeah. Wow. From your father coming with no family and look how
it changed to your life.

Solove: That’s right.

Interviewer: You ended up with a lot of relatives. Pretty amazing. I don’t
remember if you told us the year that your mother passed away and what she died

Solove: My mother died in 1970 and she had congestive heart failure. She was
78 years old.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: My dad was just turned 62. He was afflicted with cancer when he was

Interviewer: Do you take trips regularly, Dick or do you just whenever, you
just pick up and go or?

Solove: No I travel. I go. I try to go a couple of times a year and I’ve
never, this is the first time I’ve ever had another home but I think it’s
time. Life is a series of stages and I didn’t really want to have another home
because you almost feel compelled to go there instead of going different places.
But I’ll tell you, I took a trip in 1980 at the end of the year to Africa with
my son the physician. And he was doing a clerkship in London. So he and I went
to Egypt and we went on a cruise from the Aswan Dam up the Nile River and into
Cairo and then we flew to Nairobi, Kenya, and when we were there we went on an
extended photo safari and we came back and it was New Year’s Eve and were at
the hotel, big hotel there and Muammar Khadafy, they blew the hotel up while we
were there…

Interviewer: Oh goodness.

Solove: and I had a boken back, a concussion and five other fractures.

Interviewer: As a result of that?

Solove: Yeah, the explosion. Had a little five-year old boy from Belgium next
to me. His head was crushed; he had no head.

Interviewer: Oh.

Solove: In that explosion there were 21 people killed and there were 86
people, including myself, that were hospitalized. And if it wasn’t for my son,
I’d have been cremated because I was pinned under a beam. He was sitting
perpendicular and when he got back was calling, you know, “Dad, Dad,”
and he got me out from under the beam. The wall had blown out and he got me out

Interviewer: Wow, what an experience that was!

Solove: Yeah, it really was.

Interviewer: But thank God you’re here to tell us about it..

Solove: Yeah.

Interviewer: Whew.

Solove: We all have a lot to be thankful for.

Interviewer: Yeah. How is your health now Richard? Are you…

Solove: I’m fine.

Interviewer: Yeah. Do you work out?

Solove: Not like I should.

Interviewer: Yeah, well, I think we all belong to that. (laughter) I’ve
just been really fascinated with all that you’ve had to tell us and you do
have great recall. And we really appreciate the time that you’re spending with
us. Are you ready to wind this up or do you have some more stories that you can
tell us?

Solove: I’ll answer any other questions you might have but I think it’s
pretty well taken… .

Interviewer: Yeah. How about philosophy? You want to leave us with a
philosophy? I think you’ve touched on that throughout our interview.

Solove: Yeah I do too and I think that basically, I just feel that I really
do believe that you can have anything you want if you’re willing to pay the
price and the price is not money, it’s hard work…

Interviewer: Sure.

Solove: commitment, dedication and I really do believe in helping young
people help themselves. I don’t believe in doing for them. And I know that I’ve
gotten awards from, I got an award from the Altzheimer’s Association and I was
in the commencement at Ohio State last summer. In fact the only other time I
ever wore a cap and gown was when I graduated from Pharmacy. But they have, they
award, two a year to the outstanding contributions made to the University. I’m
not talking about financial. This was before the financial.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: Because of the work I’ve done at the James and I got the
outstanding award from the University. And I just think that life is what you
make it. I really don’t care for lazy people. And I think life is great and I
think it’s very, very important; I feel sorry for people that do anything that
they feel they have to: go to work…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: It’s wonderful when you go to work because you want to go to work
and I’ve always felt that way. In fact, I had a professor in Pharmacy that
made a comment when I was a sophomore and that’s been a loooonggg time ago.
And he said, “When work becomes work and ceases being fun, it’s time to
change your vocation.” And I really believe that. I…

Interviewer: You did that too?

Solove: Beg your pardon?

Interviewer: You did that too?

Solove: Yeah. And I believe in that. And I think life is great.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Solove: And I think it’s wonderful and I think that there’s great
satisfaction in helping other people. That’s the reason, I did my
apprenticeship in Pharmacy. I had to do a year apprenticeship at the Benjamin
Franklin TB Hospital and that, do you remember that hospital?

Interviewer: Sure.

Solove: Down on Alum Creek Drive…

Interviewer: Alum Creek. Uh huh.

Solove: across from the old Jewish cemetery. Now most people don’t even
know that ever existed because now it’s called Maryhaven because in the early
50s, they overcame for all intents, tuberculosis, so now it’s used for alcohol
and drug abuse.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Solove: And I hope some day that the same thing will happen with the James.
It’ll be for something other than cancer.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Well Dick, personally on behalf of myself and humans
that I know here, we’re all grateful for your contributions and your interest
in the community and it has been fruitful for all of us and you have led a
fantastic life and on behalf of the Columbus Jewish Historical Society, I want
to thank you for giving us of your time and your interest and hope your life
continues for many more years for all of our benefit.

Solove: Thank you.

End of interview