April 7, 1924 - November 24, 2013 Vernie Gusack Ourieff died peacefully in the loving arms of her family on Sunday, November 24, 2013 following a long illness. Warm and perceptive, Vernie had an enormous capacity to connect deeply with others. Our home, and her heart, were open to many, many friends and people in need; as she often said, "there is always room for one more." Vernie had a wonderful sense of humor, and she faced her illness with courage and determination. Raised in Washington D.C., the youngest of five, Vernie was an actress in New York before marrying Arthur. She was a graduate of Northwestern University. After her three children were grown, she wrote several plays, winning accolades for her scripts and being invited to several prestigious writers' workshops. She was a finalist in the Eugene O'Neill playwrights competition and was playwright-in-residence at the Yaddo and DJerrasi Foundations. Vernie loved to travel and she and Arthur explored the world together throughout their marriage. She especially loved the mountains and the High Sierras held a special place in her heart. Vernie leaves Arthur, her cherished husband of 66 years. They had an inspirational marriage that he describes as "a lifelong romance." She loved being a mother and grandmother and she leaves her three children, Bruce (and Connie) from Nipomo, CA; Martha Diamond (and David) from San Diego, CA; and Sally Zetter (and Bruce) from Boston, MA. She also leaves nine wonderful grandchildren: Rachel, Arielle and Jared Ourieff, Jeff, Henry and Ben Diamond, and Olivia, Gabe and Willis Zetter, many beloved nieces and nephews, and many dear friends. Vernie lived with love, vibrancy, compassion, and grace. She was greatly loved and will be greatly missed. There will be a celebration of Vernie's life on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 1:30 pm. Please contact Martha at firstname.lastname@example.org or 858-774-0182 for more information. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to support movement disorder research at UCLA. Please make checks payable to: UC Regents and mail to Attention: Dr. Jeffrey Bronstein, UCLA Department of Neurology, 710 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles, 90025.
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Published in the Los Angeles Times on Dec. 15, 2013