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Hy Ourieff

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Hy Ourieff Obituary
April 2, 1913 - October 18, 2015 Hy Ourieff passed away on the Sunday afternoon of October 18 having led a full and remarkable life for 102 years, 6 months and 16 days. He had been a commercial artist, a talented musician, a successful businessman and a collector of replica miniature cars and early silent films. Loved by all who knew him, Hy was generous and loyal, had an incredible sense of humor and loved life that was lived to the fullest. Hy was born in Boston, Massachusetts to Lillian and Samuel Ourieff, immigrants who had fled oppression and hopelessness in Russia. He was the youngest of nine children born over a span of 20 years and arrived in Los Angeles in 1923 when his parents decided that greater opportunity lay in California. Industrious from an early age, he began working at the age of 10. Throughout the 1920's and into the early depression years of the 1930's he sold newspapers on the sidewalk in front of Thomas Cadillac in downtown Los Angeles. Often he stood in the pouring rain and promised himself that one day he too would own one of those fine Cadillacs just like the rich men to whom he sold his newspapers.. He would give whatever money he earned to his mother to help support his family, keeping a few cents in his pocket to pay for drum lessons. In the 1930's, Hy became a commercial artist and a successful professional musician. He studied at the Chouinard Art Institute with great California artists and teachers such as Millard Sheets and Phil Dike all the while performing as a drummer in some of the great Big Bands of the era. He played with the Paul Whiteman Orchestra and was also a studio musician under the leadership of Charlie Previn at Universal Pictures. His work at Universal included music scoring sessions for films as well as on-screen appearances with the orchestra in such films as "Saboteur" and "Suspicion" directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Hy was a founding member of Local 47 of the American Federation of Musicians and remained a proud member until his death. Hy's career as a commercial artist was cut short by the outbreak of World War II. He was drafted into the Army and served at the army air base in Harvard, Nebraska. After completing basic training, he played in the base band and formed dance bands and jazz groups to entertain and inspire the troops before they were sent overseas. Hy met his future wife and the love of his life Rose Marcus when he was 17 and she was 15 years of age. They lived next door to each other and began a courtship that went on for 9 years, finally marrying in 1939 and going the distance for 75 years until Rose's death just last year. It was when Hy left the Army after World War II and returned to Los Angeles that he decided to pack up his drums and start a business. He founded and was president of the Art Sales Company which grew to become the largest wholesaler of sewing notions and manufacturer of laces and fabric trimmings on the West Coast, retiring in the early 1980's to spend his remaining years travelling and enjoying his life with Rose. Hy was the last remaining survivor of his immediate family. He was preceded in death by his mother and father, his 5 brothers and his 3 sisters. He is survived by his daughter Benedicta and son-in-law Geoffry W. Oblath, his favorite niece Madeline (Morry) Richman, his nephew Dr. Arthur Ourieff and many grand-nieces and grand-nephews. He leaves behind his loyal and much loved caregivers, Maria Kennedy and her son Emmanuel Palattao, and his beloved cat Tuxe. We will not see the likes of him again. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Hy's memory to Shelter Hope Pet Shop of Thousand Oaks (www.shelterhopepetshop.org), the Lange Foundation of Los Angeles (www.langefoundation.com) or any local 'no kill' animal shelter.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Oct. 25, 2015
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