Formerly of the Gateway Towers at Gateway Center, died on June 22, 2014, just a few weeks short of his 96th birthday. He was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, and graduated from Boston University with a degree in music. He served in the Army during WWII from March 1942 through January 1946. With only a few short weeks to practice the violin after returning from almost four years overseas, he auditioned for The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and spent 47 years as a member of the 1st violin section, happy to be working with such talented musicians and esteemed colleagues. He had the great good fortune to work with all of the symphony's well-known conductors from Fritz Reiner to Lorin Maazel, as well as most of the world-famous soloists of classical music during the last half of the 20th century. The pops concerts afforded him the opportunity to also work with the greats of jazz, pop, and comedy: Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Danny Kaye, and Jack Benny to name a few. He was also honored to be invited by Fred Rogers, along with three other members of the symphony, to play a Haydn string quartet for "King Friday" on a broadcast of "Mr. Rogers Neighborhood." In addition to the regular symphony season, he spent many happy summers in Boston playing with Arthur Fiedler and The Boston Pops, including the July 4th concerts which were televised nation wide. Furthermore, he, along with some other members of the Pittsburgh Symphony, also spent a number of summers playing in The Chautauqua Symphony, part of the well-known cultural, educational, and recreational institute in Chautauqua Lake, New York. Although he loved his chosen profession, the great love of his life was his family and friends. Sadly, he was predeceased by his wife of 40 years and the mother of his two daughters, Shirley Dreyfus Elkind, who died in 1985. His second wife, Judith Dalin Lee Elkind, also sadly predeceased him in 2004 after 15 years of marriage. In 2012, he moved from Pittsburgh to be closer to his family. He is survived by his daughters, Barbara Elkind McKenna of Rockaway Township, New Jersey and Janet Elkind Finfrock of Portland, Maine; as well as his two beloved granddaughters, Lauren and Leslie McKenna. Everyone who knew him saw a remarkable man, a talented musician, a kind and humble friend, and a generous and loving husband, father, and grandfather. He was cremated and in a private ceremony will be laid to rest next to his first wife, Shirley, in Sharon Memorial Park in Sharon, Massachusetts. Because of his hope that children will continue to be inspired by the gift of classical music, and because of his concern for the continual dwindling of funding for the arts, a gift in honor of Samuel H. Elkind may be made to The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Development Department, 600 Penn Avenue, Pgh., PA 15222. These contributions will be earmarked for free school time concerts for elementary and middle school children in the city of Pittsburgh and for educational programs in music.
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Published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from July 26 to July 27, 2014