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Laurie Casso Alper

1953 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Laurie Casso Alper Obituary
November 25, 1953 - November 27, 2017 For sixty four years and two days, Laurie Casso Alper graced this earth with intellect, wit, perception, and connection, departing peacefully on November 27, 2017. A native Los Angelena, Laurie was born to Floss (née Firstenberg) and Max Alper on November 25, 1953. She joined her only sibling, older brother Joshua, in the Alpers' art- and light-filled home. There, Laurie's refined aesthetic, wry humor, and passion for social justice took root. During her years at Hamilton High, Laurie's love of fashion began to find full expression. With luxuriant curls, piercing hazel eyes, and tall stature, Laurie modeled her own beaded, embroidered, body-hugging creations at concerts and events around Los Angeles. The bias-cut garbage bags and platform roller skates she wore to Fiorucci's opening made the LA Times. Laurie absorbed the secrets of fashion from her muse and tutor, Floss, and mastered its wizardry with a degree in fashion design from LA Trade Tech. She then spent seven years in Amsterdam absorbing European influences, traditional and avant garde. She returned focused on exquisite workmanship, high-quality silks, woolens, and ikats, and a tailored silhouette that upheld women in her own maturing image: smart, physically active, at ease with their bodies, and slyly understated. High-end boutiques in Europe and the US, including Maxfield's and Fred Segal in Los Angeles, carried her clothing line. In 1990, Laurie closed her fashion studio in Venice and made the bold choice to attend college at age 37. Seeking to understand US and global culture through a critical lens of social, economic, and racial justice, Laurie enrolled as a history major at UCLA, graduating Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. Laurie earned a Master's of Social Work from UCLA in 1995, joining El Nido Family Centers in South Los Angeles shortly thereafter. As a case manager, then program analyst, Laurie worked to support low-income teen mothers getting the health care, counseling, and educational assistance they would need to build bright futures for themselves and their children. After twelve years of supporting young families, Laurie left her position at El Nido to focus on her life's third creative phase: a devotion to peace. For Laurie, planetary and personal peace were inseparable, rooted in simplicity of life, contemplative practices, and dialog with neighbors and fellow travelers. A longtime resident of Santa Monica, Laurie lived in and managed a family-owned apartment building. There she cultivated a water-harvesting rain garden, planted a peace pole, resolved disputes between neighbors, flew Tibetan prayer flags, hosted sunbathing courtyard cats, and walked many miles of local errands. Drawing on diverse wisdom sources, eastern and western, Laurie engaged in a global peace community, seeking healing for our human family, sister species, and Earthly home. Curious, empathetic, and precise, Laurie was a fearless listener and communicator, fostering conscious evolution in herself and in her circle through intimate dialog, long walks in the hills, and observance of her beloved Shabbat. Predeceased by both parents, Laurie faced pancreatic cancer surrounded by a devoted team, led by her brother and champion, Joshua. Laurie is survived by Joshua; cherished niece, Grace; five first cousins; and a circle of friends from Bali to Nigeria, Aberdeen to Amsterdam, Paris to Santa Monica. Laurie's mystical cat, Ariel, has been adopted by seven families in her neighborhood. Gifts in Laurie's memory may be made to the Oglala Lakota College Scholarships Fund.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Dec. 2 to Dec. 3, 2017
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