Devor family reunion in Toronto, 1983

Thanks to the prodigious efforts of Toronto accountant Louis Devor, 180 members of a clan that variously spelled its surname as Devor, Devore, Dwor and D’wor, met in Toronto in the summer of 1983, reported Frank Rasky in a story in the Canadian Jewish News of August 4, 1983.

Participants, who ranged in age from one to eighty-three, came from Vancouver, Cape Town, Jerusalem, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Winnipeg and many other places.

They attended Erev Shabbat services at Holy Blossom, did a guided bus tour of the city, had a family reunion dinner, and a day-long brunch and gathering at Louis Devor’s home on Rosemary Lane.

A highlight was the videotaped interviews that Louis Devor played of many family members. Another was the 90-page family-tree book that Devor had researched, written, illustrated and published, documenting the five branches of the clan.

The narrative described the growth of the Devor dynasty over six generations, as headed by the patriarchal figure, Israel Dov Devor, a brewer in Latvia.

It offered many reminiscences about John Devor, the oldest of ten children in the Toronto branch, who operated Van Kirk Chocloate Chipits Co. before selling it and moving to Israel.

Another family member described in the book was Benny Louis, a well-known pianist and band leader.

A 1908 photo show Louis Devor’s grandfather, Aaron, a shoemaker and his wife Chada and some of their children.

An accountant, Louis Devor said it took him one year to amass the memorabilia and organize the reunion, a feat he said he could never have accomplished without his office computer and three computer programs. The work involved 1,000 letters, 150 phone calls, 100 hours of videotaping and more than 1,000 hours of research.

“It wasn’t work, it was a labour of love,” he said. “It was personally satisfying to me. I wanted to prove we are part of the total picture and not like mushrooms that come out of the ground from nowhere.” ♦

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