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Herman Platt, 95; Major Fundraiser for University of Judaism, Local Groups

From a Times Staff Writer

Herman Platt, who served as president of Sinai Temple from 1962 to 1964 and was a founder of and major fundraiser for the University of Judaism in Los Angeles, where he and his wife endowed the Marjorie and Herman Platt Art Gallery, has died. He was 95.

Platt died Sunday in Los Angeles of natural causes.

Last year, Mount Sinai Memorial Park, where Platt had chaired the management committee for 25 years, named its chapel and administrative buildings for him. Platt was a key supporter of and fundraiser for Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the United Jewish Fund, the Jewish Home for the Aging, the City of Hope and the UCLA Foundation.

Born in Los Angeles, Platt followed his late father, Ben, into Jewish leadership and business. The elder Platt served as president of Sinai Temple from 1930 to 1951.

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In 1931, after graduating from UCLA, Platt joined Platt Music Corp., a chain of 31 sheet music and musical instrument stores started by his Russian immigrant father in 1905.

Hard-hit by the Depression, the company lost its stores. Only a concession with May Co. (now Robinsons-May) remained. Through department stores, the father and son began selling such appliances as washers and refrigerators as well as pianos.

When World War II limited their supply of goods, they adapted again, refurbishing baby grand pianos with mirrors and marketing them as “mirrapianos.” Platt served in the Army and at war’s end helped his father expand into consumer electronics, beginning with radios and televisions.

Platt succeeded his father as company president in 1956 and remained until 1984, when he became executive committee chairman. Platt Music Corp. closed three years later.

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Platt is survived by his wife of 59 years, Marjorie; one son, Kenneth; four daughters, Barbara Platt, Susan Baggley, Nancy Platt Jacoby and Cynthia Platt Flagg; 16 grandchildren; and 19 great-grandchildren. Another son, Stephen, died in 2001.

Funeral services are scheduled at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Mount Sinai Memorial Park.

The family has asked that any memorial donations be sent to Operation USA, Tsunami Victims, 8320 Melrose Ave., Suite 200, Los Angeles, CA 90069.


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