F. Sherwood, 93; longtime benefactor of Music Center

Times Staff Writer

Frank Sherwood, a retired accountant turned philanthropist who donated more than $7 million to the Los Angeles Music Center over four decades, died Sunday, a day after he turned 93.

Sherwood, who also served on the center's board of directors, died of complications from old age at his downtown Los Angeles home, the Music Center announced.

Having witnessed the birth of the complex in 1964, Sherwood wanted to support its growth so future generations could enjoy theater as much as he had, he told Performing Arts magazine in 1998.

The source of his wealth was a career in accounting with Deluxe Check Printers, which he joined in 1942. By buying stock in the company and investing wisely, Sherwood was able to pursue philanthropy after retiring in 1969, according to the Music Center.

In addition to providing annual support for the center, his contributions helped build the complex's physical structure, construct Walt Disney Concert Hall and renovate the Ahmanson Theatre.

He was also a longtime supporter and board member of Shakespeare Festival/LA. Sherwood contributed $400,000 toward the purchase of a building downtown to house the theater troupe, The Times reported in 2000.

With members of the Los Angeles chapter of the American Theatre Organ Society, Sherwood also helped bring a 1924 Wurlitzer organ to the San Gabriel Civic Auditorium in 1972.

Born Dec. 2, 1913, in Bird Island, Minn., Sherwood became hooked on theater after seeing his first stage production when he was 7.

Throughout high school and at the University of Minnesota, he worked backstage on theatrical shows.

During World War II, he served in the Army and was awarded a Bronze Star.

In 1957, Sherwood came to Los Angeles as an accounting supervisor for Deluxe. After retiring, he moved from Chatsworth to Echo Park and, finally, to downtown, where he could walk to the theater.

His longtime companion, Elbert Burnette, survives him.

Services will be held at noon Monday at Forest Lawn Memorial-Park, 1712 S. Glendale Ave., Glendale.


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