Lena Sami, age 94, of Maitland, passed away on Tuesday, March 15, 2016, at Florida Hospital—Altamonte Springs. Mrs. Sami was born in New York City on Jan. 24, 1922, to the late Albert and Mollie Abolafia Benmayor. She was married to her beloved husband, Rouben, who survives her, for nearly 69 years. They began their lives together in New York City on Sept. 6, 1946, and were virtually inseparable their entire marriage; sharing home, work and a deep love for one another.

In 1970, Lena and Rouben relocated to the Orlando area from Daytona Beach. Mrs. Sami was a woman of many talents and interests. An avid bowler into her mid-80s, she was a Life Member of Hadassah and received the Woman of the Year for her dedication to Temple Israel and its Sisterhood. She was also a member of ORT and the ADL. Above all, though, she was a devoted wife and mother to her husband and children.

Mrs. Sami’s devotion to Rouben was so great, that in the summer of 2014, she was able to establish recognition for him as one of 330 Monuments Men. In October 2015, Mrs. Sami saw her efforts come to fruition as he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for his service in helping restore and return thousands of books, artwork, and torahs stolen by the Nazis to their countries of origin.

In addition to her husband, Lena is survived by her son, Steven, of Maitland; and daughter, Renee, of Maitland; and a great-grandson. She was predeceased by her sister, Eleanor Raff and granddaughter, Liza Michelle Nestle.

A funeral service, with Rabbi Joshua Neely officiating, was held at the Yank Frank Pavilion at Temple Israel Cemetery. In memory of Lena B. Sami, the family requests contributions to the Alzheimer’s Association, 378 Center Ponte Circle, Suite 1280, Altamonte Springs 32701.

Arrangements entrusted to Beth Shalom Memorial Chapel. 640 Lee Road, Orlando 32810.


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