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Herbert Hyman

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Herbert Hyman Obituary
April 28, 2014 Herbert Hyman Founder of the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Southern California Entrepreneur Herbert Hyman, Los Angeles native and founder of the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, passed away Monday, April 28th at the age of 82, surrounded by loved ones in his home in Camarillo. Herb was a consummate entrepreneur whose great love of business was surpassed only by his dedication to his family and to helping those in need. He approached everything in life with zeal and an extraordinary sense of humor, often being described as a one-of-a-kind character: an instigator who could rarely pass up an opportunity to play a practical joke. He once released live chickens inside UCLA's Powell Library, and another time enlisted friends to help deposit his professor's VW Bug at the top of the library's grand steps. Wishing others a happy birthday always included a very innocently stated, "What did you get me for your birthday?" During his years studying at UCLA, he began an on-campus vending machine business, developed a love of sports, and formed a pivotal lifelong relationship with friend and mentor John Wooden. Later Herb pioneered gourmet coffee in the US by founding The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf with his wife Mona. He conceived the idea during several trips to Sweden with Swedish-born Mona in the early 1960s. He noticed a marked difference between the quality of coffee in Sweden and in the U.S., and decided to try his own hand at importing, roasting, and selling gourmet coffee. The first Coffee Bean store opened in Brentwood, California, and had beautiful oak-wood carpentry, which Herb built himself. Herb and Mona had an ideal partnership: Herb generated the big ideas while Mona provided the financial savvy to--as Herb would say--"prevent us from losing our behinds." By the early 1970s, The Coffee Bean had multiple stores across Los Angeles. The company's growth exploded during the 1990s, having developed unique coffee drinks including the now-ubiquitous original Ice Blended. The family business was sold in the late 90s and Herb retired to enjoy golfing, collecting art, walking his beloved golden retrievers, and supporting his favorite charities. But even in retirement, Herb couldn't keep his entrepreneurial spirit at bay. In 2005, wanting to improve his own short game, he invented a new golf club, Herbie's One Putt Wedge. He received a patent and WGA approval on this unconventional "putting wedge" and marketed it directly to consumers. Grateful for the times when he had received generous support in his life, Herb was intent on giving back to causes he believed in, as well as giving to friends in need. A gifted orator, Herb could be relied upon to speak up for the underdog, which he did at community meetings, schools, industry conferences, and anytime he had the ear of powerful people. Herb was a strong, not-always-easy, yet very beloved father, doting husband, and proud grandfather. In addition to his wife Mona of 48 years, Herb is survived by his five children: Michael, Jeffrey, Susan, Anne-Marie, and Sheri; his six grandchildren; his brother Martin; and his sister Edith. Services will be held at 2pm on Sunday, May 4th, at Conejo Mountain Memorial Park in Camarillo. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to UCLA Unicamp, a summer camp for under-served children, or Casa Pacifica, a center offering support services for abused and neglected children. http://www.unicamp.org/ http://www.casapacifica.org/
Published in the Los Angeles Times on May 2, 2014
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