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Senator Samuel L. Greenberg: Former Resident of the Woodlands

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By: Sharon Aron Baron

I’ve written over the years about the many important people that have decided to make their homes in the Woodlands. Many of them were wealthy business owners that spent their winters here enjoying the sun and playing golf before eventually deciding to retire here for good.

One notable resident was former New York State Senator Samuel L. Greenberg. I found out about Greenberg, because an article caught my eye in one of the old Tamarac newspapers that I found while in the historical society’s office in Tamarac, which talked about Greenberg moving to the Woodlands in 1971.

“Newest permanent resident in the Woodlands is New York State Senator Samuel L. Greenberg of Brooklyn, N.Y., who has just retired after three decades of service from the New York State Senate. Senator Greenberg, who served under three New York governors, will make his home in Section Seven of the Woodlands.

Although the Senator looks at least a decade younger than this 73 years, he attributes his good health to playing golf on both the Woodlands course (winter) and New City, Rockland County (summer).

His wife, Tessie is also an ardent golfer.”

Greenberg spent 30 years as a State Senator in New York representing Brooklyn. He was born on November 12, 1898 in New York City. According to his biography on Wikipedia, he graduated from Public School No. 149 in 1911; from Boys High School in 1914; from Columbia College; and from New York University School of Law in 1919 During World War I he served in the U.S. Navy.

He married his wife Esther and their only child was Gloria Mae (Greenberg) St. Lifer.

"Flatbush Boys Club elects new officers. Left to right: Arthur R. Gaines, corresponding secretary; Senator Samuel L. Greenberg, retiring president congratulates Arthur C. Ebinger, the new president; Dr. Talbot H. LeBlanc, first president, and Ripley L. Sadler, recording secretary ..."  From the

“Flatbush Boys Club elects new officers. Senator Samuel L. Greenberg is second from the left. From the Brooklyn Public Library.

One of the bills he introduced into the New York State Legislature in 1954 was to include nervous and mental disorders in the Medical Practices Act, the passage of which would mean that only licensed physicians would be able to practice psychoanalysis in that state, according to the book Shrink: A Cultural History of Psychoanalysis in America by Lawrence R. Samuel.  Can you imagine what it was like before this was passed?  Any quack could hang up a shingle and perform psychoanalysis prior to this.  What a great achievement.

I wasn’t able to find out much about his life in the Woodlands, except I’m sure that he was very involved because he was the recipient of the Woodlands Community Leadership Award at the Division of the Jewish Federation/United Jewish Appeal Cocktail Party back in 1987. He was 89 years old at the time.

The Jewish Floridian 1987

The Jewish Floridian 1987

The article said that Greenberg’s record of volunteer service goes back to his early days in New York City, where he was a prominent leader in the United Jewish Appeal and Federation of Jewish Philanthropies. He was a past president of Brooklyn’s Temple Beth Emeth and the Flatbush Boys Club. Since coming to South Florida, he was the general campaign chair for the 1976-1977 UJA drive and was honored as Federation’s “Man of the Year” in 1979. In addition to his work with the board of directors, he played an active role in the Woodlands Division campaign.

After Graduating from Columbia College and New York University Law School, he practiced law with his brothers Irwin and Emmanuel. In his capacity as Sate Senator of New York, a position he held for 30 years, he chaired the Senate Finance and served on various committees, working closely on social welfare and other agency legislature. Sam is the grandfather of two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Sadly, his wife Ester died before he did – in January 1987. I was able to find her obituary in the New York Times which said:

“Esther Greenberg, the wife of former State Senator Samuel L. Greenberg, died Wednesday at Florida Medical Center in Lauderdale Lakes. She was 87 years old and lived in Tamarac, Fla.

Mrs. Greenberg, for many years a Brooklyn resident, was responsible in the late 60’s for the passage of a bill in the State Senate that required most new cars to have a windshield wiper on rear windows. The bill, sponsored by her husband and for which she lobbied for more than a year, grew out an experience the couple had driving in a snowstorm.

In addition to her husband, she is survived by a daughter, Gloria Mae St. Lifer, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.”

Samuel L. Greenberg died on April 24, 1992. I cannot find his obituary, although I’ve looked very thoroughly online.  If you have any information.  Please post it here.  As always, please use your full name in the comments.

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2 Responses to Senator Samuel L. Greenberg: Former Resident of the Woodlands

  1. Doug Frens Reply

    May 9, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    Love the history articles, some day a book needs to written to chronicle those that made this neighborhood what it is today!

  2. Michael De Lemma Reply

    May 15, 2015 at 12:56 am

    I think many of these people who lived here at one time and enjoyed the Woodlands and helped maintain it back then, would be very sad if they saw how it is now. The canal and water ways have no working fountains, The perimeter of Rock Island is a mess, missing border hedges, trash and unkept shrubs, the missing palm trees along the canal on White Oak, the decaying wall by Commercial and 64th Ave, the view of the back of the club from 44th St. of the weed filled tennis courts, the corner of Rock Island and Commercial with its cyclone fence and thinning hedges along Commercial, etc. They would turn in their graves if they saw it now, sorry to say, but the truth.

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