Serge Obolensky (1890 - 1978)

A photo of Serge Obolensky
Serge Obolensky
1890 - 1978
October 3, 1890
September 1978
Last Known Residence
New York, New York County, New York 10022
Serge Obolensky was born on October 3, 1890. He died in September 1978 at 87 years old. We know that Serge Obolensky had been residing in New York, New York County, New York 10022.
Updated: September 28, 2017
Prince Sergei Platonovich Obolensky Neledinsky-Meletzky (Tsarskoye Selo, Russia, November 3, 1890 – Grosse Pointe, Wayne County, Michigan, USA, September 29, 1978) — known as Serge Obolensky — was a Russian-American aristocrat, U.S. Army paratrooper, socialite and publicist. He served as vice chairman of the board of directors of the Hilton Hotels Corporation. Early life Obolensky's parents were Prince Platon Sergeyevich Obolensky-Neledinsky-Meletzky (1850–1913)[2] and Maria Konstantinovna Naryshkina (1861–1929). He had a younger brother, Vladimir (1896–1968),[4] who died unmarried and childless. He was an enthusiastic polo player and played for his University Team 1914 in Oxford. Career Obolensky was a soldier in two World Wars and in the Russian Civil War and fled his native country after battling Bolsheviks as a guerrilla fighter. He was a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. paratroopers and a member of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), forerunner of the CIA, and made his first five jumps in 1943 at the age of 53. After his second marriage, he settled in the U.S., working with his new brother-in-law, the real estate entrepreneur Vincent Astor. He also started a business, Parfums Chevalier Garde, with fellow emigre, Aleksandre Tarsaidze (1901–1978). Tarsaidze was president until 1940 when they were cut off from their French suppliers during World War II. When Obolensky was president of the Sherry-Netherland Hotel, Tarsaidze became his assistant. Tarsaidze later wrote a novel about the parents of Obolensky's first wife, Alexander II and Catherine Dolgorukov. In 1949, he started his own public relations firm in New York City, Serge Obolensky Associates, Inc., handling accounts like Piper-Heidsieck champagne. "Serge", a friend once remarked, "could be successful selling umbrellas in the middle of the Sahara." One of his friends was Silas Seadler, the head of advertising for Mewtro-Goldwyn-Mayer. In 1958, Obolensky was made Vice Chairman of the Board of Hilton Hotels Corporation.[6] In the same year, he released his autobiography, One Man In His Time. The Memoirs of Serge Obolensky. He maintained a substantial art collection. Personal life On October 6, 1916, he married Princess Catherine Alexandrovna Yurievskaya (1878–1959) at Yalta. Catherine was the youngest daughter of Russian Emperor Alexander II's (1818–1881) and his second wife, Catherine Dolgorukov (1847–1922), and was the widow of Prince Alexander Vladimirovich Baryatinsky (1870–1910), with whom she had two children. They divorced in 1924 without any issue. On July 24, 1924, he married Ava Alice Muriel Astor (1902–1956) in London, Middlesex. Ava was the daughter of John Jacob Astor IV (1864–1912) and his first wife Ava Lowle Willing (1868–1958). Before divorcing in 1932, Obolensky had two children with Ava: Prince Ivan Sergeyevich Obolensky (born 1925), who married (1) Claire Elizabeth McGinnis (b. 1929) div. 1956, (2) Garrick C. Stephenson (1927–2007), and (3) Mary Elizabeth Morris (1934–2006). Princess Sylvia Sergeievna Knyaginya Obolensky (1931–1997), who married Jean-Louis Ganshof van der Meersch (1924–1982) in New York City on November 1, 1950, they divorced in 1957 without issue. She then married Prince Azamat Kadir Giray (1924–2001) at East Hampton, New York on August 11, 1957. He was the son of Kadir Giray, Prince of Crimea (1892–1953)[16] and Vaguide Sheret-Luk, and had issue before divorcing in 1963. Through his father, the Prince was a direct male line descendant of Genghis Khan and Börte through Jochi and the Khans of Crimea. On June 3, 1971, he married for the third and final time to Marilyn Fraser-Wall (1929–2007) of Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan, with whom he did not have children. Obolensky died in 1978, and is buried in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Southfield, Michigan. Honors[edit] The "Serge Obolensky Room", at the back of the 1st floor at the Soldiers', Sailors', Marines', Coast Guard and Airmen's Club in Manhattan, memorializes his services as a soldier. Portraits and memorabilia festoon the walls. References[edit] Notes ^ Jump up to: a b "Died". Time. October 16, 1978. Retrieved 2008-08-11. Serge Obolensky, 87, Russian prince who became a publicist and international socialite; in Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich. Scion of a wealthy White Russian family and husband of Czar Alexander II's daughter, the Oxford-educated Obolensky fled his native country after battling Bolsheviks as a guerrilla fighter. The tall, mustachioed aristocrat subsequently divorced Princess Catherine, married the daughter of American Financier John Jacob Astor, settled in the U.S. and worked with his brother-in-law, the real estate entrepreneur Vincent Astor. During World War II, Obolensky at 53 became the U.S. Army's oldest paratrooper and earned the rank of colonel. He started his own public relations firm in New York in 1949, handling accounts like Piper-Heidsieck champagne. "Serge," a friend once remarked, "could be successful selling umbrellas in the middle of the Sahara."
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Serge Obolensky died in September 1978 at 87 years of age. He was born on October 3, 1890. There is no information about Serge's immediate family. We know that Serge Obolensky had been residing in New York, New York County, New York 10022.

1890 - 1978 World Events

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In 1890, in the year that Serge Obolensky was born, on June 1st, the U.S. Census Bureau started tabulating census returns with punch cards. Herman Hollerith's "tabulating machine" used punch cards to more quickly compute census information, taking the time to get census results from 8 years in 1880 to 6 years for the 1890 census. Hollerith's company eventually became IBM.

In 1902, at the age of just 12 years old, Serge was alive when the modern air conditioner was invented by Willis H. Carrier. The company that he worked for needed to find a way to control humidity and by solving this problem, Carrier created a system that could be used for cooling the rooms of a house. The Sun Belt thanks him!

In 1912, by the time he was 22 years old, the RMS Titanic sank in April. The RMS Titanic was a British built and run passenger liner that was billed as "unsinkable." On its maiden voyage from Southampton England to New York City, carrying about 2,224 passengers and crew - from the wealthiest people in the world to poor emigrants from Europe, the Titanic hit an iceberg. Five of her watertight compartments failed but she was designed to survive only 4 being flooded. She began to sink. There were only enough lifeboats for about half of the passengers so over 1,000 remained behind while "women and children first" were loaded. Over 1500 died, making it the largest maritime disaster in modern history.

In 1939, by the time he was 49 years old, on the 1st of September, Nazi Germany invaded Poland. On September 17th, the Soviet Union invaded Poland as well. Poland expected help from France and the United Kingdom, since they had a pact with both. But no help came. By October 6th, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany held full control of the previously Polish lands. Eventually, the invasion of Poland lead to World War II.

In 1978, in the year of Serge Obolensky's passing, on July 25th, Louise Brown, the first "test-tube baby", was born at Oldham Hospital in London. Louise was conceived through IVF (in vitro fertilization), a controversial and experimental procedure at the time.

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