Widow of Gersh agency founder helped found MOCA

Longtime Los Angeles philanthropist and arts supporter Beatrice Gersh, whose late husband Phil founded the Gersh Agency, died of natural causes Sunday in Los Angeles. She was 87.

Services will be held at 3 p.m. Tuesday at Hillside Memorial Park & Mortuary, 6001 Centinela Blvd., Los Angeles.

Beatrice Gersh was part of a group that helped found the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and she and her husband remained notable supporter of the museum.

Born Beatrice Aberle in Los Angeles, she attended Stanford and USC and taught history at USC before marrying Phil Gersh.

Phil Gersh founded the Gersh Agency in 1949, and the couple became some of the first collectors of modern art in Los Angeles, serving on the L.A. County Museum of Art’s Modern and Contemporary Art Council for many years. She was also a founder of the Los Angeles Music Center and a member of the Music Center’s Blue Ribbon group.

In 1989, MOCA presented “Selections from the Beatrice and Phillip Gersh Collection,” an exhibition of pieces given to the museum by the couple and selections from the Gershs’ private collection. Phil Gersh died at age 92 in 2004.

Beatrice Gersh is survived by brothers Charles and Leon; sons David and Bob, co-presidents of the Gersh agency, and grandchildren Steven, who is a Gersh agent; Laura, a Gersh staffer; Jessica; Bill, a TV production staffer, and Annie.

Donations may be made to the Museum of Contemporary Art.

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