1912 ~ 2014
Esther Rosenblatt Landa died December 28th in Rancho Mirage, California, three days after her 102nd birthday. In true Esther fashion, she was ever witty and sharp as a tack until the end.
Esther was born December 25th, 1912 at the Salt Lake City home of her parents', Simon and Sylvia Rosenblatt. Raised in a family with a strong belief in public education, she attended Uintah, Roosevelt Junior High and graduated from East High School. Her three children followed in her footsteps and graduated from East as well. At 16, Esther ventured away from home and attended Mills College in Oakland, California and later she went on to receive Honorary Degrees from the University of Utah and Westminster College.
After college she held many different jobs, in many different arenas all across the country. She lived and worked in New York and Washington, D.C., but eventually came back to Utah. Among her most admirable qualities was her unparalleled involvement in women and children's issues. Even in her late 80s, she formed a PAC to support Democratic women candidates in Utah, "Esther's List." She truly could raise awareness and interest for good causes like no other woman.
Along with her many accomplishments, she was a master of logistics. It was often quipped that she could find a way for anyone in the family, at any time, or anywhere to help another family member, no matter how distant, catch a ride back to college or home. She loved being with all of her children's friends. She was at her happiest when sitting around the kitchen table, hearing the latest "gossip", but always the diplomat, she was very careful never to spread any herself. Her awards, accolades, and titles are too numerous to list, and although she is probably best known publicly as a great feminist, inspiring Jewish leader, and devoted mentor, she most enjoyed being Grandma, Nanny and Great Grandma, spending her mornings with a hot cup of tea and her crossword puzzle. As she approached the century mark, her fulsome emails to friends, family, and newspaper editors were part of her day, and highlights of theirs.
During World War II, Esther met Airman Jerry Landa in Washington, D.C. while she worked at the Office of War Information. They married in 1943. Mr. Landa died from complications of Parkinson's in 1971, but before that, in 1946, together they were founding members of the Mount Sinai Poker Club, a group of lifelong friends who met every other Saturday night for dinner and cards. Both were avid golfers and tennis players, and Esther passionately enjoyed all sports (at least all of those that are competitive), watching college football and college and pro basketball until her last days. Remarkably, even as a Centenarian, she participated in the family "NCAA March Madness" bracket pool, and much to the chagrin of her grandchildren, won quite often.
Esther's family would like to thank her dedicated and loving caregivers, Dorothy Mills, Florabelle Lubanga, Mia Kruger, Susan Antero and Piedade Odell.
She is survived by daughter Terry (Raymond) Vismantas; sister, Barbara Burnett; daughter-in-law Theresa (Terry); grandsons, David Landa, Christopher Landa, Jason Vismantas, Simon Vismantas; granddaughter, Whitney Landa Maiaroto (Thomas); great-grandson, Asher and an extended family of cousins, nieces and nephews, both grand and great.
Esther was preceded in death by daughter, Carol Landa; son, Howard Landa; and brother Bernard Rosenblatt.
A private graveside service will be held Friday. A celebration of her life, here in Salt Lake City, will be this spring.
Donations would be welcomed to the National Council of Jewish Women, Utah Section, or the Jerome Joseph Landa Lectureship in the Department of Neurology at the University of Utah.