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Samuel H. Laitman, 80

March 13, 2014

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Samuel H. "Sandy" Laitman, 80, of Hopper Road died Thursday, March 13, 2014, at his home.

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., son of Edwin M. and Berdie Herzlinger Laitman, he attended Poly Prep Country Day School, graduating in 1951. He graduated from Williams College in 1955, earning a degree in political science. He later continued his education, earning a master of business administration from New York University and credentials as a certified public accountant, then both bachelor's and master's degrees in law at NYU Law School.

An Air Force veteran, he served as a navigator-bombardier with the Strategic Air Command, until returning to New York in 1958.

Mr. Laitman specialized in the field of trusts and estates, becoming a respected expert on the preparation of fiduciary income tax returns, authoring several articles and giving many lectures throughout the country. He worked at the New York law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges for 34 years, rising to become a partner and chair of its trusts and estates department.

After retiring from his legal practice in 1999, he moved from Stamford, Conn., to Williamstown to the home his wife named "Treetops."

Throughout his long legal career, Mr. Laitman served as trustee of many personal and charitable trusts, including on the board of trustees of the Low Heywood Thomas School in Stamford. He also served on the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York Deferred Giving and Legal Committees.

He continued his life of public service in Williamstown, supporting many local causes and serving on the boards of the Williamstown Theatre Festival and the Williamstown Art Conservation Center. He opened his home, hosting dozens of fundraising events and, through charitable trusts he helped to establish, supported many small underfunded organizations.

In 2012, he was awarded an honorary degree from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts for his generous philanthropy and community spirit. This doctorate of laws allowed him to joke that he finally had more letters after his name than in it. In 2014, he was awarded a second honorary degree, a doctorate of humane letters from Southern Vermont College in Bennington.

His wife of 39 years, Marilyn Lynn Laitman, predeceased him by 17 years.

He leaves his son, Andrew Laitman of Maple Shade, N.J.; two daughters, daughter, Catherine Laitman Burke and her husband, William, of San Rafael, Calif., and Elizabeth Laitman Hughes and her husband, Michael, of Silver Spring, Md.; and three grandsons, Paul and Eric Burke and Nathaniel Hughes.

FUNERAL NOTICE — The family is planning a private burial service for Mr. Laitman, with a public memorial service later in Williamstown.


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