Remembering Gordon Safran

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We are saddened to share the loss of Gordon Safran z"l, Federation Emeritus Trustee.

Gordon was an esteemed lay leader in the Jewish and general communities, deeply involved in the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, and the 2006 recipient of the Gries Family Award.

Our thoughts are with the entire Safran family during this difficult time. May his memory be for a blessing.

Please read the Cleveland Jewish News obituary, reprinted with permission. Text provided below:

Gordon H. Safran, age 88, died on March 25, 2024.

Gordon was born June 10, 1935, in Cleveland and grew up in Cleveland Heights, graduating from Cleveland Heights High School. He celebrated his Bar Mitzvah at Park Synagogue.

He graduated from Ohio Northern University in Ada with a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy. He was and always will be a devoted member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity. He met the love of his life, Evie Safran, on a blind date during the summer before his sophomore year of college. It was love at first sight and they were married at Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple in 1957. Gordon loved his family and happily spent many years taking his four children to county fairs all over the state of Ohio.

Gordon Safran began his career as a pharmacist and moved his way up to managing the Gray Drug Store at E. 140th and Kinsman in Cleveland. Gordon was recruited to the start-up, Sears Optical stores. This was where Gordon began to learn the optical industry and helped grow the beginnings of Sears Optical. He was quite successful and then joined a small optical store chain known as E.B. Brown Optical in Cleveland. Gordon purchased the company in 1985 when there were then 20 stores. Gordon worked hard and grew the optical and hearing company up to 42 stores throughout Ohio and Pennsylvania. He sold the company in 1996.

Gordon always loved the countryside and purchased a home in Burton in Geauga County. He always joked that he wanted to build a bed-and-breakfast out in the area, and with no prior hospitality experience, he built the 18 room Red Maple Inn in Burton in 2000. He loved the Red Maple Inn and enjoyed making his guests happy and relaxed. He would regularly be seen visiting his guests in the dining room during breakfast. The Inn ran for 20 years, and it was a magical place. As Gordon’s Parkinson’s disease continued to get worse, he sold the Inn in 2020 to the McIntyre Center which services adults with substance abuse challenges. He felt good knowing that the Inn would still support people and improve their lives.

Gordon had a very active life as a lay leader in the Jewish and general communities. He took on many leadership opportunities and really made a difference for so many people over the years. He is a lifetime trustee of Menorah Park and served on the board of the Agnon School, a past chairman of the Beachwood Civil Service Commission and board member of Fairmount Temple. As emeritus trustee, Gordon was active throughout his adult life with the Jewish Community Federation chairing numerous committees and always involved with the campaign. In 2006, he was honored with the Gries Family Award for his involvement in the Jewish and general community. He was the Board Chair of the Cleveland Sight Center and most importantly, he was Santa Claus for their annual kids Christmas party for over 30 years. Gordon spent time with each child and got to know many of them personally throughout the years. He also sponsored their Christmas Party in July at the Highbrook Lodge for many years making sure that each child got a special present. Gordon served as President of the Mandel Jewish Community Center of Beachwood during the time of the capital campaign raising dollars for the new building in Beachwood. He is most proud that the land on the west side of the campus has been named ‘Safran Park.’ He loved thinking about his park being enjoyed by all the kids playing and attending camp at the Mandel JCC in the future. Gordon was a founder and made a lifetime Board member of the DDC Clinic in Middlefield. The Clinic serves children and adults (mostly Amish) with rare genetic disorders out in Geauga County. Gordon loved this organization and felt especially close to everyone involved at DDC. Everyone was always amazed at the energy and commitment that Gordon had given to his community.

Gordon was the beloved husband of Evie (nee Kahn). Preceded in death by his sister, Saydell (Allan) Robbins. Loving father of Mindy (Martin) Davidson, Neil Safran, Lee Safran (Nicholas Wellington) and Haleigh (Glenn) Raff. Devoted grandfather of Jess (Collin) Fernandes, Mikey (Ashleigh) Davidson, Jordan Wellington, Luca Safran-Wellington, Parker Raff and Lainey Raff. Great-grandfather of Isaac. Adored caregiver, Gabriela Chirila.

Services will be held at 1 p.m. March 28 at the Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple at 23737 Fairmount Blvd. in Beachwood.

Friends who are unable to attend the service may view it at 1 p.m. March 28 by going to www.fairmounttemple.org/worship/live-stream and select chapel.

Interment will be at Mayfield Cemetery.

The family will receive friends following services until 8 p.m. March 28, 1 to 4 p.m. March 29 and 1 to 4 p.m. March 31 at the residence of Dr. Cheryl and Dr. Robert Stern in Sterling Lakes at 4900 Glengary Lane in Pepper Pike.

Friends who wish may contribute to DDC Clinic for Children’s Needs (ddcclinic.org), Friends of Fairmount Temple c/o Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple (fairmounttemple.org), Cleveland Sight Center (clevelandsightcenter.org) or the Mandel JCC (mandeljcc.org).

Arrangements under the direction of Berkowitz-Kumin-Bookatz Memorial Chapel.

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