Samuel I. Landis & Constance Rosenfeld Landis
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Samuel I. Landis, 89, and Constance Rosenfeld Landis, 88, both of Highland Park, passed away on Thursday, March 28. Connie died at the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, and Sam died about six hours later at the Francis E. Parker Memorial Home in Piscataway, where he was a resident. Connie spent the last three years at the adjacent Parker at Stonegate Residence, where she and Sam were able to be together. They would have been married 67 years this April.
Born Samuel Irving Berkowitz, in New Brunswick, the youngest child of Anna Anders and Harry Landis, both born in Russia, Sam was predeceased by his parents and his brother Morris B. Landis, Frieda Gerome and his twin brother, Alex Landis. He grew up in New Brunswick and Highland Park, graduated New Brunswick High School in 1941 and enrolled in New York University before enlisting in the U.S. Army in October 1942. He served as a Surgical Technician Fifth Grade with the 98th Portable Surgical Hospital in the Ryuku Islands of the Western Pacific and saw active duty in the Saipan and Okinawa campaigns. He was awarded a Bronze Star for his protection of an anesthetized serviceman during battle. Upon Sam's return, the immediate family changed their names to Landis, which approximated their original Russian family name. Sam enrolled in night school at Rutgers University, where he graduated in 1953.
Constance Rosenfeld Landis was also born in New Brunswick, the eldest child of Amanda Lehrer and Morris Rosenfeld. Amanda was born in New York and Morris emigrated from Romania in 1902, at the age of three. Connie's younger brother, Arnold Rosenfeld, died suddenly of polio in 1946. Connie graduated New Brunswick High School and enrolled in the University of Connecticut, where she graduated in 1945.
Connie and Sam met in the seventh grade, where Sam launched a persistent, long-term courtship, culminating in their marriage on April 13, 1946, following Sam's Army discharge. Sam's courtship campaign made Okinawa and Saipan seem like a walk in the park. They relished a lifetime of world travel and friendship together, including a farm they owned in Downsville, NY, where took delight in horseback riding and hosting friends and family.
Sam embarked early on his entrepreneurial career, beginning with an ice-cream bicycle, which he drove as a teenager. As an adult, he held several positions in his father-in-law's department stores, Roselles and Nathans, before purchasing the W.E. Mount & Sons Ford dealership in the mid-1950s. He moved the business, Landis Ford, to North Brunswick, where it operated for 25 years.
Sam forged a remarkable parallel career as a prominent community leader and a dedicated supporter of a host of Central Jersey nonprofits. These most prominently included: United Jewish Appeal, Chamber of Commerce, New Jersey Easter Seal Society, Anti-Defamation League and New Brunswick Tomorrow. He is a founder of the Easter Seals Raritan Valley Workshop and was director of the Middlesex County College Foundation. Connie was a lifelong member of Hadassah.
Sam and Connie are survived by their children: Andrea Landis Solomon of Chelsea, MA; Scott Landis and his wife Nina Maurer of South Berwick, ME; Margery Landis of Brunswick, ME; and by their dear family friend and companion, Vester Small of New Brunswick. Sam and Connie were blessed with three grandchildren and one great-grandchild: Dina Solomon of Bedford, NH; Amanda Solomon of Manchester, NH; Noah Landis of South Berwick, ME; and Linden Chafin of Bedford, NH. They will also be deeply missed by many nieces, nephews, cousins and countless friends.
Funeral services were held at the Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple in New Brunswick on Friday, March 29, where Sam and Connie were life-long members. Donations in their memory would be gratefully accepted by: Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple, Easter Seals Raritan Valley Workshop, both of New Brunswick, or the Middlesex County Community College Foundation.
Published in Home News Tribune from Mar. 29 to Mar. 31, 2013