January 4, 1943 - November 26, 2016 Russell Friedman, Executive Director of the Grief Recovery Institute and well-known former Los Angeles restaurateur, passed away at his home in Studio City, surrounded by the love of his family and friends. Upon his diagnosis of lung cancer, he shared the news on Face book with his typical positive attitude and humor: "It seems that my 'use by date' will be much sooner than I anticipated or hoped." Born in Port Chester, New York, Russell graduated from Rollins College in Florida, and typical of his inquisitive nature, he then took a tramp steamer to the Basque Country to play Jai Alai. Continuing his adventures at various jobs in New York City, he then moved to London and discovered his passion for the restaurant business. Russell gained prominence in the 1970's as the charismatic, red headed owner of many distinctive restaurants, including the popular Lost on Larrabee, The Taming of the Stew and the Budapest Hungarian. In keeping with his innovative nature, he opened Rascals, the first gay bar in West Hollywood with windows open to the street. He later became the well-loved manager of Genghis Cohen. He then discovered, by chance, his life's work when he met Grief Recovery Institute founder John W. James, eventually becoming a partner. Together, they co-authored several best selling books including When Children Grieve, The Grief Recovery Handbook for Pet Loss, Moving On, Moving Beyond Loss and the first major revision of The Grief Recovery Handbook. Translated into twenty-two languages, these books continue to be a major source of help for grievers around the world. Recognized as a leading authority on grief and loss, Russell became the go-to Grief Recovery expert on CNN, appearing in the aftermath of national tragedies, most notably in the wake of 9/11. Russell was a member of "Yarmy's Army," a group consisting largely of famous comics and comedy writers who had formed in order to support Alice's first husband Dick Yarmy as he fought cancer. He treasured his weekly golf game and played many of the great courses of the world. Russell also developed an interest in agility dog training, achieving numerous Master Agility Championships with his adored red Vizla Baxter. Russell leaves behind his wife of 28 years Alice Borden Yarmy, his daughter Kelly Logan, stepdaughter Claudia Yarmy and his beloved granddaughter Zoey Yarmy. He is also survived by his twin sisters Marjorie Goldberg and Patricia Teague, his brother Kenneth Friedman and their families, his goddaughter Gabi Kuhn and his brother-in-law Stephen Borsuk. A memorial is being planned for early January. Information will be posted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Russell Friedman's message of being complete with one's relationships, living or passed, defined him. His caring, his wisdom and his endless commitment to healing broken hearts, enriched countless lives around the world. All who knew him will forever cherish the gift that he was. We love you. Goodbye.
Published in Los Angeles Times from Dec. 2 to Dec. 4, 2016.