Sam Koltun

In 1905, following the death of his wife Bessie, Russian-born musician Israel Koltun admitted his four children into the Home: Meyer (10), Sam (8), Sadie (5), and Sol (3). By 1914, Israel reclaimed all of his children in New Orleans.

While in the Home, Sam and Meyer held leadership positions in the Golden City Brotherhood. In 1911, when Sam served as president, he also won the prize that B’nai B’rith awarded each year to the Home’s “best all-around” boy. Proud of his achievement, Sam kept the engraved gold watch fob and years later made it into a locket for his wife, the former Ida Slipakoff, which she wore as a necklace.

Sam graduated first in his class at Newman School in 1913, the same year as his older brother Meyer. Although his excellent grades earned him a scholarship to Tulane University, he turned it down to take a job as a stock boy at Fellman’s Department Store because he needed to earn a living. He later attended night school at Soule Business College. 

Samuel Koltun, 1913

Sam Koltun, Isidore Newman School senior class photo, 1913.

Meyer Koltun, 1913

Meyer Koltun, Isidore Newman School senior class photo, 1913. Meyer later attended Loyola University, served as a captain in the U.S. infantry, and worked as a public accountant for more than 50 years. 

Looking back on his life, Sam was grateful for his Newman education and for musical training with the Home band, which won him assignment as an Army band sergeant during the First World War. He later held positions with Louisiana’s Division of Employment Security, from which he retired after 26 years’ service. Sam Koltun died in New Orleans in 1989 at age 95.

In His Own Words

In 1983, Sam Koltun participated in the Jewish Children’s Home Alumni Project. Read his recollections and correspondence with JCRS Executive Director Viola Weiss here.