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Richard Savinar

October 15, 1924 - June 8, 2021

After a long and fully lived life, Richard Savinar left this world with family surrounding him. At 96 years old he was ready to see his wife Adele again—the smile in his face when he passed indicated he did.


Richard was “the funniest man I’ve ever met” and “had more friends than anyone I know”. He was all about family. He was direct, sometimes to a fault, loved a good debate, a good book, the New Yorker and the New York Times. He ate no red meat but loved a fresh maple bar and vanilla ice cream. He wore caps, not hats and never backed down from the truth and doing the right thing. He was a one of kind guy. Short in stature, giant in character.


Born in Portland on Oct. 15, 1924, to Bessie and Jacob Savinar, Richard joined his older siblings Shirley and Norman. As small children, they chased chickens down Front Avenue that had escaped from his father’s poultry business. When not assisting in his father’s business, he attended Irvington Elementary School, moved on to Grant High School and finally, the University of Oregon where he was a Sigma Alpha Mu. War interrupted college and sent him with the 10th Mountain Division ski troops to Italy where he served as a mule skinner and ran munitions up the Alps. He returned to U of O after the war and after a blind date, met the love of his life, Adele Zavin. He never stopped referring to her as the most beautiful woman in the room or telling her he was crazy about her. Together they had four kids which eventually turned into 10 grandchildren and two great grandchildren. No one loved family more than Richard, and no family loved their dad, grandpa and great grandpa more.


Post college, he worked with Norman in the family business, Portland ice and Cold Storage. Eventually he left and opened Savinar Travel Service. He traveled the world doing what he loved most, adventuring to new places and meeting new people. Leading groups throughout the Swiss and Italian Alps was a perennial favorite. After thirty plus years, he retired having touched every continent but Antarctica. Adele by his side much of the time, they had a ball.


Richard was a member of Temple of Beth Israel and served as the President of the Temple Brotherhood. He joined Beaverton Rotary in 1966 and was an active member of the Rotary Youth Exchange for 15 years. As a 50+ year member of the Multnomah Athletic Club, he was on the Diversity and running committees, an original Early Bird and helped mark the first running trails in Washington Park.


His passions ran deep and wide. He could lose himself in opera just as much as at a duck game. He loved camping and fishing; he and his children packed into the Wallowa mountains for a week of both every summer. Fancy cars parked in his garage was not an unusual sight nor was stuffing the same children in the way back of a ford. He ran before it was fashionable to run and baked bread on the weekends.


The destination closest to his heart was “God’s country”, Tolovana Park where family and friends gathered at his and Adele’s beach house for fiestas, crab and clam feeds and general hilarity.


Richard is survived by his children, David, Judy (Dan Cunha), Tom (Anna Maria) and Andy, ten grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. Donations can be made Rotary Youth Exchange and The Alzheimer’s Association or a socially conscious charity of your choice. A service has been held.

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