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Manuel & Helen Maleh Denn

Joe Denn Family     Herman Denn Family     Sidney Denn Family     Denn Brothers Sporting Goods

Denn Family Interview December 1989     Part 1     Part 2

Photos and articles courtesy of Meyer Denn


Manuel and Helen Denn
By Helen Denn

Manuel Denn, a native of Bay City, was born in Wharton, Texas, on September 12, 1927. He was the youngest son of Joe and Bertha Denn and had two brothers, Herman and Sidney, and one sister, Ethel Lee. Manuel attended Jefferson Davis Elementary School and Bay City High School, and was graduated in the class of 1944.

As a young child, Manuel worked after school and on weekends at his family's grocery store. Joe Denn's Grocery Store was located at 1820 Seventh Street. Manuel recalled that soda was selling for five cents a bottle and bananas could be purchased for ten cents a dozen in those days.

Manuel's parents arrived in America from Europe in 1919. His father, Joe, was born in Poland, and his mother, Bertha, was born in Hungary. They originally arrived in New York and resolved to move to Wharton, where Bertha Denn had relatives. In a short while, Joe decided that there would be more opportunity for him in Bay City, and moved his family thirty miles south to Bay City.

After high school graduation, Manuel joined the Army in February of 1945. He was first stationed at Mineral Wells, Texas, for basic training at Camp Wolters and then dispatched to duty in the Pacific Theater. Once overseas, he was stationed in Leyte, Philippine Islands, and then joined the 77th Division on Cebu Island. When World War II ended, he was sent to Hokkiado, Japan, with the Army of Occupation, as a Corporal. He was honorably discharged in 1946.

Upon returning to Bay City, Manuel worked for his father in the grocery business for seven months and then decided that a change in careers would be more beneficial to him. He and his brother Herman formed Bay City Surplus located at 1904 Seventh, where Bay City Bank & Trust now stands. In 1947, they were joined by their brother Sidney, to form the present Denn Brothers Sporting Goods, located at 1911 Seventh Street. To better serve their community, Denn Brothers opened Denn's Silk Screening in 1983, located in the 1800 block of Seventh Street.

In 1950, Manuel married Helen Maleh. They had one daughter, Debbie. In 1973, Debbie married Edward Berliner, who practiced law in Austin, and they had two children, Austin Joe and Marshall Mathew. Manuel and Helen had one son, Avrom, who married Cindy Rosenberg in 1983, and lived in New Orleans, Louisiana.

In the early 1960's, the wives of the three Denn brothers opened their first store, Nichols Street Furniture, selling antiques and accessory items. Well aware of the city's growth, in 1965 they purchased The House of Bargains, located at 1900 Thirteenth Street, a market place for clothing, antiques, and housewares. Twelve years later, they decided to sell new furniture and opened Denn's Furniture and Gifts at 1824 Seventh Street.

The Denn family actively participated when the Jewish community built the Beth David Center, located at 3521 Seventh Street. The Denn family were leaders in the plan to build a Synagogue in Wharton as well, and became an integral part of the Shearith Israel Congregation.

Both Manuel and Helen Denn were active community members. Manuel was a member of the Masonic Lodge #865 A.F.& A.M., the Scottish Rite, the Bay City American Legion Post 11, Blessing American Legion Post 649, V. F. W., Bay City Post 2438, and a charter member of the Optimist Club in Bay City. He is one of the past Board of Directors for his congregation in Wharton, and has served as President of Beth David Center.

Helen is a member of the Shearith Israel Sisterhood, the Eastern Star, the American Legion Auxiliary, Past President of the V. F. W. Auxiliary, Past President of Epsilon Sigma Alpha Sorority, Delta Alpha Chapter, the Fraternal Order of the Eagles 3232, and life member of Hadassah.

The Denn family has resided in Bay City for sixty-five years.

Historic Matagorda County, Volume II, pages 128, 1984




Edward Charles and Debbie Delaine Denn Berliner

Manuel Denn

Manuel Denn passed away December 21, 1995. Mr. Denn was born in Wharton, Texas on September 12, 1926, was a member of Shearith Israel Synagogue in Wharton, Texas, and many other organizations including Beth David Center of Bay City, Texas, B'Nai Brith, Life Member of Hadassah Associates, Bay City Masonic Lodge #865, Scottish Rite and Arabian Shrine Temple. He was a veteran of World War II and veterans' organizations including Jewish War Veterans, V. F. W. Post #2438 in Bay City, Texas, American Legion Post #11 in Bay City, Texas and American Legion Post #649 in Blessing, Texas.

Survivors include wife, Helen Denn; children, Debbie Berliner and husband, Edward; Avrom Denn and wife, Cindy; grandchildren, Austin Berliner, Marshall Berliner, Drew Berliner, Aaron Denn, Stephanie Denn; brothers, Sidney Denn and wife, Gertie; Herman Denn; nieces, nephews, friends and other relatives.

Funeral services are scheduled for 2 p. m. Friday, December 22, 1995, at Shearith Israel Synagogue in Wharton, Texas, Rabbi Ted Sanders officiating. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Hadassah or a charity of choice.

Arrangements are with Levy Funeral Directors of Bellaire, Texas.

Daily Tribune, December 22, 1995

Denn was a Bay City business leader

BAY CITY--The residents of Matagorda County are mourning the loss of long-time business leader Manuel Denn, 69.

Denn, who passed away Dec. 21, was considered a leader in the business community as well as a distinguished community leader among his peers. During his lifetime, Denn helped to establish and manage Denn Bros. Store here along with his two brothers, Sidney and Herman.

"Denn Bros. has been one of the cornerstones of the Bay City business community," said Richard Knapik, Chamber of Commerce director. "It's a sad day when one of them dies."

Denn not only helped to make Bay City's business community thrive but he also found time to make civic contributions. He was a member of several service organizations including the Masonic Lodge No. 865 and Scottish Rite and Arabian Shrine Temple. As a veteran of World War II, Denn became active in various veterans organizations also. He belonged to the Jewish War Veterans, V. F. W. Post No. 2438, American Legion Post No. 11 both of Bay City and the American Legion Post No. 649 in Blessing.

Denn was a member of Shearith Israel Synagogue in Wharton, the Beth David Center in Bay City, B'Nai Brith and life member of Hadassah Associates.

Denn, who was born in Wharton on Sept. 12, 1926, has been a lifelong resident of Bay City and is survived by his wife, Helen and two children, Debbie Berliner and husband Edward, Avrom Denn and wife Cindy and other relatives.

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that contributions be made to Hadassah or a charity of the contributor's choice.

Daily Tribune, December, 1995


Helen Denn

Funeral services for Helen Denn, 72, will be held 1 p. m. today, Aug. 31 at Congregation Shearith Israel in Wharton. Rabbi Jack Segal will officiate.

Mrs. Denn passed away Aug. 29, 1997.

She was a member of the Congregations Beth Yeshurun of Houston, Shearith Israel in Wharton, The Sisterhood, Hadassah, Lions of Bay City, Eastern Star, American Legion Post 11 and owner of Denn's Clothing.

She was preceded in death by her husband Manuel.

Mrs. Denn is survived by children, Debbie and Edward Berliner, Avrom and Cindy Denn; and by grandchildren Austin, Marshall and Drew Berliner, Aaron and Stephanie Denn.

Memorials may be made to Hadassah or charity of choice.

Arrangements are by Levy Funeral Directors, 4525 Bissonett in Bellaire, telephone (713) 660-6633.

Daily Tribune, August 31, 1997


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Oct. 9, 2013
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