Samuel Goldfarb passed away yesterday at the age of 99, just three months shy of his 100th birthday. Mr. Goldfarb’s family was part of the fabric of Larchmont’s local history. The family home was on Arden Blvd., and his family owned the Keystone Market at 212 N. Larchmont Blvd. in the 1930s and 1940s.
After the publication of the book, “Larchmont,” the pictorial history of Larchmont Blvd., Mr. Goldfarb’s son, Ben Goldfarb, a resident of Hancock Park, contacted the Buzz and shared this family photo of his father, uncle and grandfather in the family store. Though Sam Goldfarb moved out of the neighborhood to raise his family, his son Ben told the Buzz about how his father shared his memories of growing up in the neighborhood on frequent visits back to see his parents. Thanks to the Goldfarb family for sharing this remembrance with the Buzz.
Samuel Goldfarb — January 20, 1921 – October 21, 2020
All his life Samuel Goldfarb was fun-loving, boyish, charming, generous, bookish, musical, relentless and very smart. He loved his family more than anything and always strove to be a good husband and father. He took his familial and civic responsibilities very seriously and was a life-long and active Democrat. He attributed his near 100 years of longevity to his abundant consumption of pickled foods and Hebrew National Salami.
Samuel was born in New York City on January 20, 1921 very shortly after his family arrived in the US via Ellis Island. His parents, Nissen and Chava Zelda, and older brother, Avram (who later changed their names to Nathan, Eva and Albert), had emigrated from Brest-Litovsk, Poland the previous year. As soon as Sam was old enough to travel by train to Los Angeles, in March 1921, the family headed west to LA where they had relatives. When they arrived, Uncle Mandel chided them, “You are too late. All the opportunities are gone.”
Sam experienced nearly 100 years in his beloved city and was full of stories about the neighborhoods of old LA, old Hollywood and the development of California in the twentieth century. He loved taking his grandchildren to his old haunts and restaurants, including Bunker Hill–where he and his mob of cousins started out–Angel’s Flight, the Santa Monica Pier, Phillippe’s, Langer’s, Musso and Frank Grill and El Coyote.
Sam graduated from Fairfax High in 1939 and next was enrolled in UCLA for three years, before leaving for the Army in 1942. At induction, like most college boys, he was given aptitude and I.Q. tests, and as a result was not sent to battle right away. First, it was off to Stanford University to study Italian. Next, a few months at UC Berkeley learning artillery geometry and nearly a year at the University of Denver to learn German. Finally, he spent some time in Texas to become a cartographer. While in stationed in Texas, he experienced anti-Semitic taunts from another soldier and ended up in his one and only fist fight with the bigot. He ended his time in the service in France and in Germany, where, as an infantry corporal, he was in battles at the end of the war and was later assigned to the Counterintelligence Corps to find German war criminals. He reminisced about attending a moving and dramatic seder in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Germany, where he was stationed during his service in Germany. He was honorably discharged in 1946 and, due to college credits earned in the military, he graduated from UCLA at that time.
After graduation, Sam became a CPA and joined a good friend from UCLA, Sanford Garfield, in an accounting partnership. Sam enrolled in the Loyola Law School night program and became an attorney in 1956. In 1965 Sam founded the law firm of Goldfarb, Sturman & Averbach, practicing in the field of business and tax. He retired from the partnership in December of 1999.
In the summer of 1952, Sam met Miriam Justman on a blind date—fixed up by Miriam’s principal who was Sam’s cousin. Sam was taken with Miriam; she was intelligent, witty, a schoolteacher, and was also a WWII veteran, having served in the Women’s Army Corps in France. They were married June 21, 1953. Their happy marriage produced daughters Deborah and Nancy and son Benjamin. The family loved vacationing in the National and State Parks of California and at Ludlow’s Lodge in Lake Tahoe during summers and in the desert in winter. Miriam and Sam were close to their extended families and always hosted the Cousins Club Hanukkah Party at their Sherman Oaks home. Much later, Sam and Miriam built a beach house in Oxnard Shores, which became a relaxing hub for the family and friends. Sam and Miriam loved hosting large barbeques for family and friends at the beach.
Sam was a lifelong student of history and politics. He loved reading biographies of great leaders and studying the modern era. He was a liberal Democrat and very accepting of other people regardless of their background, past mistakes or foibles. He was kind and generous to his employees and had the same secretary from 1962 until his retirement.
Sam proudly served as the Chairman of the United Jewish Federation fund campaign for the San Fernando Valley and as a Board member and the Financial Secretary of Adat Ari El, where he was a member from 1966. He and Miriam were supporters of Camp Ramah in Ojai and endowed the Justman-Goldfarb scholarship fund.
In his professional life, Sam served as President of the California Association of Attorney-CPAs, and as board member of the American Association of Attorney CPAs. He was also elected President of the San Fernando Valley Estate Planning Council and served as the Tax Editor for the L.A. County Bar Journal. Sam served as a Judge Pro-Tem in the Superior Courts and also served as a court appointed Family Law Mediator.
Sam was politically active. He was a delegate to the California State Democratic Conventions and to the Democratic National Convention in 2000 and 2008. He was also an elected member of the L.A. County Democratic Central Committee. During the Vietnam War, he was appointed by President Nixon to be a member of the Selective Service Board for the San Fernando Valley.
In retirement Sam became a passionate bridge player and traveled extensively. He and Miriam went on multiple cruises and Sam went on many more after her death in 2001. He saw nearly every country in Europe and many others in the Middle East, Africa, East Asia, and South America. He went to nearly every one of the United States and parts of Canada. He especially loved visiting presidential libraries.
A voracious reader until he became nearly completely blind in 2011, Sam devoured the New Yorker every week, read history and biography, and loved spy novels. Even in blindness, however, Sam stayed active and alert, attending music and current event classes at the Braille Institute, listening to books, and staying involved with his beloved family.
Sam died on October 21, 2020. He is survived by his daughters Deborah Golden (James) and Nancy Goldfarb Pope, his son Benjamin Goldfarb (Melissa Zukerman), and his grandchildren, Alex, Harry (Jennifer Grabler) and Caroline and his great-granddaughter Zoe Gray Golden.
His forever youthful presence will be sadly missed and mourned by all who knew and loved him.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Goldfarb/Justman Camp Ramah Scholarship Fund c/o Adat Ari El Valley Village CA 91607.
Was he a democrat?