Simon J. Anathan (1879-1959) and his brother Mone Anathan grew up in Philadelphia, Pa., before moving to Steubenville, Ohio, where they founded the Hub Department Store in 1904. The store offered “Everything for Every Need.” Their brothers Eugene and Louis Anathan and their brother-in-law Martin Bayersdorfer later joined the business.
Simon Anathan married blue chip casino spa (1885-1976) in 1913. They had two children, Frances and Jane. The family lived in Steubenville before moving to Pittsburgh in 1947.
Among the many philanthropic endeavors she undertook during her lifetime, Bessie Anathan funded the first Montefiore Hospital gift shop. “They gave us a closet and a small room in the basement of the new building and a wagon with magazines and candy. After a year or two, we got a bigger room upstairs with a cafeteria, and we made money from the very first,” she said in a National Council of Jewish Women oral history.
The NCJW raffled off a car in late 1946 in a fundraiser to start the Council Lounge for Older People, which would become one of the first senior centers in the country. Bessie Anathan had recently visited a similar facility in the Bronx, and, when she heard about the raffle, purchased 500 tickets. She won the car. “Dorothy Blumenthal was sitting next to her at a dinner party one night and was talking about our proposed project,” NCJW President Minnie Susman recalled in an oral history, “and Bess said, “Oh, I’ve heard about those things, I visited a couple of centers in New York. I’m very interested in such a project.’ The next thing we knew, we had five thousand dollars from Bess to finance it.” When the Council Lounge outgrew its facilities on the second floor of a storefront on Forbes Avenue, Bessie Anathan provided $50,000 to help purchase the Maimonides Institute building on Murray Avenue and another $60,000 for remodeling. Today, the building is called the Anathan House and is the headquarters of the NCJW, Pittsburgh Section.
Frances Anathan married Joel Spear Jr. Jane Anathan married Alan “Bud” Lehman.