Floss Firstenberg Alper
1921 - 2017
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1921 - 2017
Our wild and wonderful Floss Firstenberg Alper passed away peacefully at home on June 5, 2017, in the presence of loving family and friends. She was 95.

Floss, a.k.a. Florence, a.k.a. Flossie, arrived on Planet Earth on October 14, 1921 in Brooklyn, NY to Jacob and Rose Firstenberg, and older sister Caroline.

Both parents had a strong aesthetic sense; Rose owned a dress shop and Jack traveled annually to Europe on shopping trips for his advertising novelties business. Artistic sensibilities came naturally to Floss and would be an ever-evolving passion. Starting at NYU at the age of 16, she studied design and merchandising, and worked at Lord & Taylor, a high-end department store in Manhattan. From early on, Floss showed an equally ardent streak when it came to social justice, attending protests against Southern universities that refused to play NYU's racially mixed football team.

After college, Floss lived the "high life" in 1940's Manhattan, working as a secretary to Howard Dietz, a famous songwriter of the day, as a leg model showing hosiery at the Plaza Hotel, and as the beauty editor of Cue Magazine. She saw Frankie Sinatra and Billie Holliday perform live, and attended the original Broadway shows of Death of Salesman and A Streetcar Named Desire. She roomed with her friend Felice and they absorbed New Yorker magazine, which Floss read continually for 80 years. She also met her future husband, Max Alper, on a blind date.

Floss and Max married and moved to southern California in 1949. Floss identified fully as a displaced and dissatisfied New Yorker for the first several decades but eventually came to love her adopted home. Max and Floss shared an equal passion for art and politics. They actively supported the civil rights movement, artists, ending the war in Vietnam, a progressive state in Israel and many other causes and individuals.

Over the years, Floss exhibited her various talents as she managed the Watts Jazz Quintet, of which Horace Tapscott, the renowned West Coast pianist, was a member; designed dresses; learned from daughter Laurie to make elaborate batik fabrics; and managed family-owned commercial and residential property.

Floss was an amazing listener, a trusted confidante, the focus of many people's erotic dreams, an oft-invited dinner guest and irreverent as hell. Max and Floss built a beautiful house and garden, filled it with Max's and other artists' work, threw many a wonderful party and/or fundraiser, and welcomed the world into their home. Said a friend, "The world just got a lot less interesting without Floss."

Floss' beloved Maxele passed away in 1999, after 50 years of marriage. Floss is survived by son Joshua, daughter Laurie and granddaughter Grace. An unabashed lover of sparkles, from glitter to diamonds, Floss has burst into a million everlasting sparkles herself, watching over us. We love you Flossie. You are sorely missed.

Donations may be made in Floss' name to Southern Poverty Law Center or Doctors Without Borders.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in New York Times from Sep. 29 to Sep. 30, 2017.
Please consider a donation, as requested by the family.
Memories & Condolences
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7 entries
October 7, 2017
A lovely send-off for Floss. I will be very happy to make a donation to my favorite charity SPLC in her name. Love to Lauri, Joshua and Grace.
September 30, 2017
To her family. My deepest. Condolence to you. In this time of pain. And sorrow.may our god of love bring you comfort and peace. Mathews 5:4
September 30, 2017
My deepest condolences! Floss will never be forgotten! Psalm 112:6
September 30, 2017
Sincerest condolences for your loss. May precious memories of your dear loved one, and encouraging words such as those found at Psalm 20:1,2 be of comfort to your family in this difficult time.
September 30, 2017
Grief can be so hard, but our special memories help us cope. Remembering you and your loved one today and always.
September 30, 2017
My family sends our sincere condolences for your loss. May happy memories of your loved one and the words of Isaiah 57:15 provide you with much comfort.
Green Family
September 30, 2017
To the Alper Family: My heartfelt sympathies go out to the family and friends during this difficult time. I hope that the promise in 1 Thessalonians 4:14 can bring comfort. Knowing that there's a hope for the ones we have lost in death can be so reassuring.
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