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Funeral arrangements set for Zorthian

By Gene Maddaus, Staff Writer

PASADENA -- Funeral arrangements have been scheduled for artist Jirayr Zorthian, as his family prepares for an influx of well-wishers for one last big party in Zorthian's honor.

The memorial will be held at noon Sunday at the Zorthian Ranch at the top of Fair Oaks Avenue in Altadena.

A smaller group of family and close friends will be on hand Saturday as Zorthian is buried at Mountain View Cemetery.

Zorthian died on Tuesday of congestive heart failure at the age of 92.

Richard Davies, a retired Jet Propulsion Laboratory researcher and Zorthian's friend of 58 years, will give the eulogy during what is expected to be a rather secular service.

The family has already rented a shuttle for the Sunday memorial, so visitors can park at the bottom of the hill and ride up to the ranch.

People also will be allowed to walk up the winding, one-lane road, "something my father would never allow,' said daughter Alice Zorthian.

Zorthian, nicknamed "Jerry,' cultivated a legion of friends in the local arts community, along with scientists, scholars and bohemians.

Davies said he told the family there would have to be a very public memorial.

"Jirayr was an outsized public personality, and (I said) somehow or other they should incorporate that in,' Davies said.

The family is still sorting out the details of how Zorthian's death will affect life at the ranch. It is unclear if the annual Primavera parties, which celebrated springtime, Zorthian's birthday, his wife Dabney's birthday, and their anniversary, will continue.

Zorthian does not appear to have left any detailed instructions about his funeral.

"He preferred not to think about death,' Davies said. "That aspect of how you arrange things and do things to get your life together so things will work out for your family he didn't want to talk about that.'

Gene Maddaus can be reached at (626) 578-6300, Ext. 4444, or by e-mail at