August 20, 2013
Anne Samson, philanthropist, 66
Anne Samson (née Katz) was born in 1947 in a displaced persons camp in Salzburg, Austria. Her parents, Emil and Eva Katz, were Holocaust survivors from Hungary who lost most of their family members in Auschwitz, where Eva was a slave laborer. In 1949, Anne and her parents immigrated to Los Angeles, where her brothers Ernest and Sammy were born. Anne grew up in the Bnei Akiva youth movement and attended Camp Moshava every summer, where she met the love of her life, Lee Samson. The couple married in 1966 and spent the months following the Six-Day War volunteering in Israel.
After completing college and working as a legal secretary, supporting Lee in his communal responsibilities as he developed the West Coast Region of NCSY, Anne dedicated herself to raising her children: Dani, Aliza and Tali. Anne was always a devoted mother, daughter and sister, putting family responsibilities above all else.
Anne had a beautiful voice and loved harmonizing with her husband and children around the Shabbat table. She enjoyed the arts, and worked with Lee in designing and building a beautiful home that was always open to guests and philanthropic organizations, including the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Kiryat Shmona Hesder Yeshiva, Young Israel of North Beverly Hills and countless others.
A very modest and selfless individual, Anne never sought the limelight, but together with Lee she worked quietly behind the scenes in supporting the many synagogues, communal organizations and politicians that reflected their love of Israel and the Jewish people. With Lee’s parents and siblings moving to Israel, as well as two of their children and 10 grandchildren, Anne and Lee were regular visitors and established a beautiful home in Jerusalem. They nurtured friendships with President Shimon Peres, Mayor Nir Barkat and members of the Knesset.
Adherence to Jewish tradition and observance was something that was very dear to Anne and Lee, with all of their children and 17 grandchildren continuing in their traditional ways. Anne loved the Jewish holidays and her holiday gatherings of friends and family included her superb cooking and hospitality.
Anne was devoted to her husband, children, grandchildren, extended family and friends. She never said a harsh word about anyone, and was always there to help everyone in need. After a day spent playing with her visiting grandchildren on the beach, and a romantic dinner with her husband, Anne and Lee were involved in a catastrophic car accident that ultimately claimed her life. May her memory be a blessing for her family and all who knew and loved her.