Stan LEE Smolen

by | Jul 9, 2020 | Obituaries

Virginia Beach—Stan Smolen passed away May 27, 2020 at the age of 95.

He was a veteran of WWII who served his country proudly. He was a courageous 19-year-old First Lieutenant on a B17 bomber in the Army Air Corp. But most importantly, he was the patriarch of a family he adored.

Stan was predeceased by the love of his life, his wife of 68 years, Patricia Rose Smolen. He was a devoted father to his daughters and their husbands, Lynn and Jerry Hankin, and Leslie and Larry Siegel, beloved grandfather to his four grand-daughters and their spouses, Shaye and Glen Arluk, Kari Amuial, Megan and Steve Zuckerman, and Ryan and Dan Miller, and amazing great-grandfather to Brianna, Madison, and Dylan Arluk, Jordan and Devon Amuial, Jonah and Chloe Zuckerman, and Cameron, Molly, and Jackson Miller.

Stan was born on February 12, 1925 in Philadelphia. He was the son of Edward and Molly Smolen, who immigrated from Russia to escape anti-Semitism. He grew up with his two older sisters, Jeanne and Helen during the Great Depression. 

Stan was a student at George Washington University when WWII began. He left school to enlist in the Army Air Corp and became a navigator. His 10-man crew flew 35 very dangerous bombing missions over Europe. Stan returned to the United States as a decorated hero and received the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Oak Leaf Cluster Air Medal.

Upon returning from the war he married his beloved Pat and began his career in men’s retailing. This career resulted in numerous moves over 45 years, but home was always Asheville, N.C. In Asheville he joined The Man Store as manager and later served as president. He also served as president of the Jewish Community Center and B’nai Brith.

Stan moved to Norfolk to become president and CEO of Shulman’s, and later moved to Buffalo, N.Y. to be president and CEO of Kleinhans. His final move was to Chicago as a corporate vice president of Hart Schaffner & Marx. In every community in which he lived, he served as president of numerous civic and retail organizations.

Stan retired after this and he and Pat moved back to Virginia Beach to be with their growing family and to travel the world. In retirement, Stan remained active in retailing through the SBA, assisting minority small business owners with their careers. At the age of 90 he became a writer and wrote his autobiography and many short stories.

Stan was a man of much wisdom, a wonderful sense of humor, a teller of great stories, and a giver of warm hugs.

Stan’s life was celebrated in a private memorial service officiated by Rabbi Marc Kraus of Temple Emanuel.

Stan will be laid to rest with his beloved Pat at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.

Memorial donations may be made to Beth Sholom Home, the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia, or the Air Warriors Courage Foundation.