Thursday, August 8, 2013

We Lost A Good Friend

George Lichter, textile, war hero, reconteur
We lost a good friend last week. Death is always something we must deal with, but losing George Lichter was different for me. Seldom in life do we encounter such a powerful and unique personality.  George was a textile maven, a war hero, and a raconteur, especially entertaining over a bottle of wine. He could be tough and kind, enigmatic, and a seeker of the higher and better self.  The Esalen Institute in Big Sur was a favorite destination. He would laugh telling me about washing dishes at the retreat as if it was a spiritual experience.

fabric, New York, Fifth Avenue, art exhibit
I met George Lichter in the 70’s on a fabric buying trip in New York City. On my first visit to his office at 261 Fifth Avenue, he showed me his new fabric line. Afterwards he said if I wasn’t busy in the afternoon he would take me to his good friend’s female erotic art gallery for an exhibit!   

Joline Weiss, Wesco Fabrics, Edgar Silberman, fabric jobber, Broadway Danny Rose
When my mother-in-law, Joline Weiss, was active at Wesco Fabrics, she always had a big cocktail party during the jobber market in her suite in New York. All our suppliers would show up, and though competitors, they loved to yak. George sat next to Edgar Silberman, another larger-than-life guy! George’s office was a regular meeting place after work during the jobber market for drinks and gossip about the industry. The room was full of characters reminding me of the deli scene in Woody Allen’s movie, “Broadway Danny Rose.”

George Lichter, fighter pilot, World War II, Israel, statehood
George was a decorated fighter pilot during World War II and flew 88 combat missions over enemy territory. Shortly after the war ended and Israel declared statehood, he felt compelled to help the cause. The Israelis sent him to a medieval village in Czechoslovakia to train novice pilots on the dangerous S-199’s.  He was feared as much as respected by the young pilots as George was serious and disciplined!

pilot, George Lichter, Ceske Budjovice air base
The pilots relax from the rigorous training at the Ceske Budjovice air base. George is second from left.

Kay Melnick, Tootsie, Wesco Fabrics, Boulder, Colorado
Marla’s aunt, Kay “Tootsie” Melnick, chats with George at a party in Denver honoring Wesco’s 50th anniversary. Tootsie was a fabulous Wesco Fabrics’ sales woman covering the Boulder area.  After retirement, George moved to Boulder, Colorado, and we were very lucky to maintain a great friendship.

Vic Shayne, biography, George Lichter, autograph
Vic Shayne wrote a biography on George last year. We proudly have our autographed copy.  If you are intrigued by a truly interesting character that lived life to the fullest, please read the book. It’s available at Amazon.
We really miss you George!

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