1940-2021 Virginia Ernst Kazor, whose passion for preservation was matched only by her dedication to friends and family, died peacefully at her Los Angeles home on Wednesday, September 8th. Born in Detroit to Frederic and Marjorie Ernst, she graduated from Marymount High School and the University of Southern California. Torn between two interests, she studied architecture, but graduated with a BA in art history. Upon graduation, she was thrilled to get a job for the new Los Angeles County Museum of Art in the Modern Art Department, led by Maurice Tuchman. She specialized in the work of Edward Kienholz, which resulted in her being cast in plaster of paris for the model of the Socialite in Kienholz’s walk-in artwork “Barney’s Beanery”. Ginny spent 40 years in the Los Angeles City Department of Cultural Affairs. From 1970 to 1978 she was the curator of the Municipal Art Gallery in Barnsdall Park. In 1978 she became the Historic Site Curator for Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House in Hollywood. Her contributions have included directing the renovation and restoration of this famous Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece from the 1920s. Her greatest achievement was the complete redesign of the furniture in the living room and the very elaborate “T” -shaped living room carpet, which was specially made to spread out in adjoining rooms. In 2002 she received the FLWBC’s highest honor, the Wright Spirit Award, for her work in maintaining the Hollyhock House. In 2019 Hollyhock House was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. From 1991 to 2010 she was also the curator of Simon Rodias Watts Towers, the internationally known Cultural Heritage Monument in Los Angeles. Ginny has also served on the Board of Directors of the Architectural Foundation of Los Angeles, Taliesin Fellows, the Southern California Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians, and the Neighborhood Conservation Committee of the Los Angeles Conservancy. She was a founding member of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy in the 1980s, helping set up the organization and coordinating national meetings. She also lectured on Frank Lloyd Wright’s work at the UCLA Extension (1987-1994). Centennial houses in the district). The Wilton Historic District came about when the city tried to remove the curve on 2nd Street and widen the street into a thoroughfare as wide as the Pasadena Freeway. The creation of the Wilton Historic District dried up all federal funding for the project, saving the neighborhood and five homes from the 1910s through 1920s. Ginny founded and was very active in the Ridgewood Wilton Neighborhood Association. She never stopped volunteering and was still on the board at the time of her death. She was married to her first husband, Gene Kazor, in 1970, who died in 1994. She was one of five children, three of whom died before her: Margaret Mowrer Norton, Patricia Lynch, and Fred Ernst. Ginny leaves behind her second husband, Tom Koester, a filmmaker whom she married in 2003, and her youngest brother, William Ernst. She was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1995, but refused to put the brakes on it. She died as a result of her Parkinson’s disease. Ginny is sorely missed by family, friends, neighbors, and art lovers.
Published by Los Angeles Times on September 19, 2021.