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Sammy Davis Jr., Geneva Knauls and Paul Knauls at The Cotton Club
Lisa Loving Of The Skanner News
Published: 22 December 2014

Sammy Davis, Jr., Geneva Knauls and Paul Knauls Sr., at The Cotton Club in Portland. Photo from Boise Voices Oral History Project

One of the most beloved women in Northeast Portland, Geneva Knauls of Geneva’s Shear Perfection, has died.

A businesswoman for decades and a supporter of many, many grassroots projects and organizations, Mrs. Knauls died Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014 at 9:22 p.m., just days before her birthday on Christmas Eve.

According to the family, the celebration of life services for Geneva Knauls will be private. "We appreciate your cards, letters, thoughts, prayer, and endless support," they said in a statement. They suggest that instead of flowers people can send condolences to Self Enhancement, Inc., at 3920 N. Kirby Ave., Portland, OR 97227.

Strikingly beautiful and poised, at the time of her death Mrs. Knauls had been married for 49 years to her business partner Paul Knauls Sr., known unofficially as “the Mayor of Northeast Portland” – in a sense making her the “First Lady.”

A graduate of Vancouver High School who also attended Portland Community College, Mrs. Knauls received her professional training at Moler Barber College, graduating in 1962.

Mrs. Knauls spent 29 years working at the storied Cask and Maxey’s Barber Shop before joining with her husband to buy the building where Geneva’s Shear Perfection continues to operate today; in recent years she had retired from Geneva’s after 36 years in business.

Mrs. Knauls ‘ long career in business also included, together with her husband, owning and operating The Cotton Club on North Vancouver Avenue; Paul’s, and Geneva’s Restaurant and Lounge.

She enjoyed skiing, playing bridge and walking marathons, as well as supporting The American Cancer Society and The Sister Circle.

Mrs. Knauls had served as a member of the New Hope Baptist Church; the Urban League of Portland; the Ebony and Rose Ski Club; Bubbling Brown Sugar; Alpha Chi Pi Omega Sorority, Alpha Mu Beta Chapter;

Over the years Geneva received honors and awards including the Business Excellence Award, King Neighborhood Business Award, The Best of Portland (for Geneva’s Shear Perfection), and the Delta Sigma Theta Women of Excellence Award. 

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