Solo Kandel passed away on September 24, 2018, 16 Tishrei, 5779. He was born in Yasi, Bessarabia, then part of Romania, on April 8, 1937, to Usher and D’vora Kandel, of blessed memory, one of three children (two sisters, Roza and Leelay).
World War II uprooted the Kandel family with Usher joining the Soviet army and the rest of the family being moved to Kazakhstan, just ahead of the advancing German army. The eldest sister Roza died of malnutrition but the relocation effectively saved the rest of the family which reunited in the new Soviet republic of Moldavia after the war.
Solo suffered a life threatening head injury when he was seven, bedridden for over one and a half years. He eventually regained sufficient strength and coordination to attend school. Interested in technical work, he spent his last two years of high school at a school for those interested in pursuing careers in construction and his first job was as a construction site manager. After a few years, he decided that he would prefer an office job related to construction and a cousin trained him to be a cost estimator. Because of his natural ability with numbers, attention to detail, great memory and high productivity, he was a A+ Cost Estimator and was recognized for his superior skills by every company that he had worked for!
Solo was a man content with his lot in life. His moto was “work hard and play hard!”. He was a multicultural and multilingual man, who in his lifetime lived on three continents: Europe, Asia, North America. He spoke four languages: Yiddish, Romanian / Moldavian, Russian, and English.
Both Solo and Fira had adventurous spirit and loved going places and doing things. Together they traveled around the USA, as well as many foreign destinations.
Solo and Fira were married for 55 great years. It was a successful life partnership rooted in respect, trust and loyalty. The two were inseparable and Solo complemented her daily at meal time with the words “Kak vkusno” (So tasty!)” and he knew the meaning of “tasty”, as his mother ran a restaurant before WW II. Solo considered Fira the rock of his life and frequently told her how fortunate he was that he found her. Together, these two could move mountains! In 1979, they opted to immigrate to the United States to afford better opportunities for their daughter Klara, first living in Cleveland, Ohio and then moving to Houston in 1981. Solo worked with several engineering firms before retiring in 1999, and in retirement spent much time fishing, swimming and biking in Galveston.
Solo was a model grandfather for Daniella and Joseph, together with Fira they attended every piano recital, every orchestra concert, every play, and every graduation! Because Joseph liked baseball, Solo made effort to understand the game. Just saying his grandchildren’s names lighted up his face. They were his jewels, his pride and his joy!
Actually, his last name “Kandel” describes Solo very well! When Klara visited her grandfather Usher in Israel, some 30+ years ago, her grandfather reveled that in Yiddish, the word “Kandel” means “a sweet hard candy”. Although Solo faced many challenges and obstacles in his life, he remained resilient, optimistic, had empathy for others; and, was generous, forgiving, joyous, kind, caring, and hopeful. He was a people’s person, who had a friendly disposition toward everyone and looked for the good in everyone. His daughter called him in Russian, not “papa” but “papasha”, which is a familiar and warm version for “dad”. Yes he was so sweet!
Solo will be missed by those who love him. He is survived by his wife, Esfira Kandel; sister, Leelay Telper; daughter, Klara and son-in-law Michael; grandchildren, Daniella Lewis and Joseph Lewis and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Donations in memory of Solo Kandel may be made to
Elona Galperin Memorial Fund
c/o Chabad at CWRU
2049 E.115th St.
Cleveland, OH 44106