Arthur H. Nissman—May 11, 1938-November 28, 2021

The Canyon ChronicleBy The Canyon Chronicle

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Arthur H. Nissman—May 11, 1938-November 28, 2021
Arthur Nissman, longtime Topanga resident, passed away peacefully on November 28, at age 83. An only child, Arthur was born was born to Max L. and Mina Nissman in Brooklyn, NY. Graduating from Stuyvesant High School at age 16, he attended Dartmouth College. After college, he entered the world of advertising in New York City, becoming an account executive with Doyle Dane Bernbach. In 1966, he moved to L.A. to join the Carson/Roberts ad agency as an account executive for Mattel. When C/R merged with Ogilvy & Mather in 1971, he continued with O&M, and in 1974, “hung up his suit” and moved over to the creative department, writing campaigns for myriad clients including Korean Airlines. Subsequently, Arthur and two partners formed Poindexter Osaki Nissman (PON), where he served as the co-creative and marketing director for the agency’s portfolio, including the LA Zoo. Ten years later, PON was sold, and Arthur joined Arcs Commercial Mortgage in Calabasas where his unorthodox approach in the traditionally staid field of financial advertising “put us on the map,” in the words of the firm’s former CEO Howard Levine. In 2010, he retired from the corporate world, and became more active in the civic and cultural life of his Topanga village community, where he had lived since 1975. In 1977, Arthur met advertising copywriter Susan Petrulas, who became his wife, and their long and happy union produced two wonderful children, Zoe and Max. In Arthur’s world there were no strangers, only friends he had not yet met. As a transplanted New Yorker, moving to sprawling L.A. of the mid-’60s, he brought his local “village” ethos with him—the butcher, baker, barber, barista, the best deli and sushi—he knew them all, and in Topanga he truly found his left coast “village” for life. He loved the Canyon for its neighborliness, natural beauty, the community’s independent “can-do” spirit, its rugged features, dramatic mountains, its wild creatures, its shared commitment to defend and protect the environment for all. He was interested in everything and everyone, devoting his boundless energy to so much of what made Topanga a community: Co-op pre-school volunteer, building the community ball field, dishing up the food at the Cowboy Breakfast he established for the annual Topanga Days Memorial Day Fair, serving on many non-profit boards, the Topanga Community Center, the Topanga Symphony, Arson Watch, active with CERT, T-CEP Disaster Radio Team, volunteering at the Topanga Friends of the Library bookstore, serving on the Malibu Jewish Center & Synagogue Board and helping bring a Havara and Hebrew & Heritage classes to Topanga in the 1980s, and volunteering over decades for his favorite charity, Los Angeles Bassett Hound Rescue. Arthur loved to travel, throughout California camping in the High Sierras with his family, frequenting the Central Coast, adventuring off beaten paths wherever he was, not to mention annual family trips to New York, and in later years, globetrotting off to the Bahamas, Sicily, Greece, and South Africa, where he fell in love with warthogs. A wizard in the kitchen, he gifted friends and colleagues with his handmade “Arturo’s Topanga Kitchen” label of jams, sauerkraut, pickles, peppers, and sauces. He was a mensch of the highest order, and will be deeply missed by his wife, Susan, their children, Zoe and Max, his son Peter Lindenauer from a prior marriage, cousins Harry and Leigh Witchel, and his many friends and neighbors in the Topanga community. In lieu of flowers, his family suggests a donation in his memory to the Topanga Community Center (TCC), topangacommunitycenter.org; bassethoundrescue.org; or the Santa Monica Mountains Fund, samofund.org.
The Canyon Chronicle

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