January 16, 2019

Sam Berman, social service leader, 93

Samuel Berman, former executive director of Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services in Los Angeles, died in Reseda last month. He was 93. 

Berman grew up in the Bronx, N.Y., served in the Army and was happily married to Norma for 64 years. He earned his bachelor’s degree from City College of New York and his master’s from the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis.

Berman dedicated his career to helping children and families. He directed residential treatment centers in Chicago and St. Louis, and served as assistant director of the Child Welfare League of America in New York. While executive director of Vista Del Mar, a position he held from 1973 to 1987, he received the Koshland Award for outstanding administrator of a social service agency in California. During this time, Berman also served as executive director of the Reiss-David Child Study Center, Home-Safe Child Care and the Julia Ann Singer Center. It was under his leadership that those agencies became affiliates of Vista.

When Berman retired in 1987, the California Senate issued a proclamation saying he had “dedicated a life of singular devotion to the emotional health and well-being of children and their families” and “the State of California is indeed fortunate to have a citizen of the stature of Samuel P. Berman, who is not only willing to give of himself extensively to the community, but who also possesses sufficient confidence, drive, and determination to make a success of his efforts.”

Berman’s family held a private funeral service at Fountain View, a retirement home for active seniors. He is survived by daughter Judy (Alan), son-in-law Haim, grandchildren Lisa, Aaron, and David (Lauren), and nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his wife, Norma, and daughter Diane.

Donations can be made to Vista Del Mar, SOVA or a charity of your choice.