Holocaust Survivor and Jeffrey Mann Jewelers Matriarch Rena Mann Dies

IndependentsDec 05, 2022

Holocaust Survivor and Jeffrey Mann Jewelers Matriarch Rena Mann Dies

Mann, who opened the Ohio jewelry store with her husband and son in 1984, was 95.

Rena Mann, one of the co-founders of Jeffrey Mann Fine Jewelers in Toledo, Ohio, died last month at age 95.
Sylvania, Ohio—Renata “Rena” Mann, a Holocaust survivor who went on to live an amazing life, died Nov. 25 following a brief illness.

She was 95.

Rena was born on April 4, 1927, in Berlin, Germany, to the late Leon and Gertruda Wollstein.

She spent four years of her young life in concentration camps. Russian soldiers liberated the last camp she was in on the final day of the war.

Having lost both her parents and with nowhere else to go, Rena moved to Katowice, Poland—where her family had settled before the war started—and was reunited with her stepfather.

She eventually left Poland for London and lived there for several years before making her way to New York City via the RMS Queen Elizabeth.

It was in New York that she met her future husband, Alex Mann, on a blind date.

They married on June 25, 1953, and in 1958 relocated for Alex’s job to Toledo, Ohio, where they had two children, Gigi and Jeffrey Mann.

Alex worked in sales for Toledo Appliances Inc. for years before the couple realized their dream of owning their own business, opening Jeffrey Mann Fine Jewelers in 1984 alongside their son, then a manager and top sales associate at local chain Keidan’s Jewelers. 

“My dad had a lot of confidence in me and my abilities, so the idea to open our own jewelry store was made,” Jeff said.

Alex ran the business, while Rena handled administration and Jeff took care of sales.

Rena retired a decade later, while Alex and Jeff continued to work together until Alex’s passing in February 2003. Gigi joined the family business as director of new business development along the way. 

Rena is remembered as an eternal optimist who was tender, compassionate, and quick-witted.

She loved people, animals, and traveling, particularly her annual trips to Las Vegas, where she was perfectly content sitting in front of a slot machine with a bag of quarters.

Rena is survived by her daughter, Gigi (Gary) Lewis; her son, Jeffrey (Corrine) Mann; five grandchildren, Jason (Amanda) Lewis, Scott (Alyssa) Lewis, and Alexandria, Annsley, and Abigail Mann; and three great-grandchildren, Braydon, Colton, and Gianna Lewis.

Services were held Nov. 27 at Temple Shomer Emunim in Sylvania, Ohio.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Temple Shomer Emunim, the Toledo Humane Society, or Ebeid Hospice in Sylvania.
Michelle Graffis the editor-in-chief at National Jeweler, directing the publication’s coverage both online and in print.

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