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Monday, April 9, 1990 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Albert Oziel, Furniture-Chain Founder

During the Depression when he was 14, Albert L. Oziel dropped out of Garfield High School to help support seven brothers and sisters when his immigrant father died.

But what Oziel lacked in formal education, he made up for in enthusiasm and optimism, eventually helping to found the Funes and Oziel furniture chain, develop real-estate holdings and establish a finance business after he ``retired.''

Oziel, an avid golfer whose home adjoined Bellevue's Glendale Country Club, died recently in a Seattle hospital of cancer. He was 74.

The second of eight children of Sephardic Jewish immigrants from Turkey, Oziel was a native of Seattle, who attended Washington School and Garfield before he was forced to make it on his own.

For a couple of years beginning in 1940, Oziel worked as a letter carrier in the Broadway District, but his talent lay in sales, not in ensuring that the mail would go through.

In the mid-'40s, Oziel joined with an uncle, the late Jack Funes, in opening their first furniture store at 2045 Westlake Ave. The store appeared in a scene in the motion picture ``The Parallax View,'' filmed partly in Seattle in 1973.

Oziel innovated mass-marketing and advertising techniques to promote the furniture business.

The furniture chain eventually included about a dozen stores, with the business partnership expanding to include local and Arizona real estate and two Arizona shopping centers.

Oziel retired briefly in 1979 but couldn't stand the inactivity.

``He got very bored,'' his wife, Lesa, said. ``He said, `I've got to do something. I just can't play golf every day and do nothing.' ''

So, Oziel began Oziel Enterprises, a Bellevue finance business, in which he was active until his death.

Oziel was a Mason, member of Ionic Lodge No. 90, and of the Shrine. He also was a member of the Sephardic Bikur Holim Congregation of Seattle, the Seattle Sephardic Brotherhood, B'nai B'rith and the Glendale Country Club.

Besides his wife, he is survived by three sons, Dr. Jerome Oziel of Sherman Oaks, Calif., and Marvin and Jay Oziel, Redmond, and a daughter, Donna Brownstein, Portland; two brothers, Jack Oziel, Bellevue, and David Oziel, Seattle; three sisters, Rae Kremen, Seattle; Frances Sichel, Bellevue, and Sue Schachter, Norwich, Conn., and four grandchildren.

Services were held in the Seattle Jewish Chapel, with burial in the Sephardic Jewish Cemetery.

The family suggests remembrances to the American Cancer Society or to the Sephardic Bikur Holim Congregation, 6500 52nd Ave. S., Seattle 98118.

Copyright (c) 1990 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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