Atiyeh Brothers and the Royal Rosarians
Here is a transcript of Sir Knight Tom Marantette's presentation highlighting how 5 generations of the Atiyeh Family are intertwined with the history of Portland since 1900 to present. This remarkable speech was given at the January 21, 2015 New Member Reception held at the Atiyeh Brothers Retail Showroom. Thirteen potential new Royal Rosarians listened with spellbound interest as they learned about the history of this notable family of Oregonians and its relationship with the Royal Rosarians.
Transcript of Presentation
Good evening and welcome to Atiyeh Bros. Retail Showroom. My name is Tom Marantette and tonight, I represent both Atiyeh Bros. and The Royal Rosarians. I am a partner in one and a proud 18 year member of the other.
We are joined here by Rosarian Dukes and Duchesses of the Realm, the Rosarian Council, the newly knighted classes of 2013 and 2014 and most importantly, by citizens of the Portland area who might like what they see and pursue that interest as a new member.
Tonight is not generally about Atiyeh Bros. but rather is an opportunity to introduce the Royal Rosarians to a new audience. However, before I introduce those who will give you more insight on the Rosarians, I will take just a few moments to fill you in on a very brief and simplified history of Atiyeh Bros. and explain their connection to the Royal Rosarians.
In 1900 two brothers, George and Aziz Atiyeh set up a rug retail establishment in downtown Portland. They found the Portland market, more than in other Northwest cities, to be hungry and in need of the quality handmade rugs they sold. Their business thrived over the years. In the mid twenties, Aziz Atiyeh moved to New York City, where he established a wholesale, rug distribution business. It was also called Atiyeh Bros., but it was a separate business that owned looms in Persia where they manufactured handmade rugs to their own designs and specifications. The rugs were imported then distributed to retailers like us throughout the U.S.
George continued to operate the Retail business in Portland. In 1921 George, Syrian by nationality and his Lebanese wife, Linda had two sons. They were twins named Edward and Richard. In 1923 they had a third son named Victor. The three boys grew up uniquely close to one another. It almost seemed like they were triplets, since Victor was generally physically the largest of the three.
When the US joined World War II Edward and Richard joined the service together where they trained together, traveled together and went into battle together. Victor was younger and had a physical restriction. He stayed in school at the University of Oregon until his father passed away in 1944. In the meantime, Edward and Richard were captured at the Battle of the Bulge. Richard was captured one day and Edward the next. They were sent to different prison camps. This was the toughest six months of their lives and it would turn out to be the only time they would ever be separated. Both survived the war, although neither knew of the status of the other during those difficult months. They returned home, worked together with little brother Victor in the family business for forty years and lived for those same forty years within blocks of each other in Southwest Portland.
In 1961 Richard was knighted into the Royal Rosarians under the rose Peace. Everything he did was done well and it was not long before he was recognized by the leadership as an honest, hardworking member and in 1971 he served as the Prime Minister. Extremely well respected, he continued to serve the organization in major capacities until he passed away in July of 2013 at the age of 92. Throughout his life he was involved in many other civic, religious and political organizations including Lions International where he served his club as President. Brother Edward was equally civic minded and served Rotary International as a District Governor. Brother Victor served the State of Oregon as a two-term Governor and at his passing this past year, we were literally blown away to learn about all the things for which he was honored. At the age of 94, Edward still lives in Southwest Portland and continues to support all that his age and health will allow. It has been a very giving family.
And now, moving toward the fifth generation of family ownership, the trend continues, in that Atiyeh Employees are encouraged to give back to the community in numerous ways, and they do. It is our pleasure to host you this evening and I would like to introduce two of my partners who have allowed this to happen. First of all, our very talented cook - he is a past president of the Southeast Rotary Club, our representative to the Portland Executives group and my little brother, Vice-President Brian Marantette. The current President of Atiyeh Bros. is a Past President of the Portland Rose Festival Foundation and Past President of the Oregon Duck Club, Mark McGirr. Today, they oversee this retail operation, a full-service cleaning facility on SE Division in Portland and a full-service cleaning facility in Eugene.