Obituaries


Sol Laufer
Sol Laufer passed away peacefully, with his beloved wife Sadie, by his side, December 7, 2018. Born in Germany, his family was taken and murdered by the Nazis when he was 12 years old. He survived work camps, cold, illness and hunger and after the war, smuggled his way into Israel where he joined the Hagannah (the pre-cursor to the modern Israel Defense Forces.) There, he met his beloved first wife and mother of his three children, Betty. They immigrated to America in 1960. A longtime resident of Norwalk and then Middletown, he maintained his membership at Adath Israel synagogue. Laufer spent his last 20 years in Sarasota where he and Betty had retired.

He was among the founders of Zygo Corporation in Middlefield. Laufer became a world-renowned optical engineer with many awards ranging from NASA to Palo Alto’s Livermore Laboratories. Always a creative problem solver, even in retirement he was frequently called upon by companies the world over to help solve complex optical problems. His colleagues became his loyal friends and remained so throughout his life.

A cruel irony, his vision deteriorated from macular degeneration, but he remained active, exercised daily and used his creativity in glass and clay sculpting to create amazing art. It was his great pleasure to show his work to visiting guests. After the death of Betty, their rabbi at the Chabad Synagogue in Sarasota where they were very active introduced him and Sadie. His grandson Haim chaperoned their first date. Never to be deterred, he convinced Sadie to marry in 2004. He frequently enjoyed intellectual jousting with his friend, Rabbi Steinmetz. With Sadie’s support, even as his vision worsened he fulfilled his life-long dream of becoming bar mitzvah. Sadie continuously researched the latest optical supports to help Sol maintain his independence for as long as possible even after he was humbled last year by a stroke. He took great pleasure traveling, listening to cantors chanting liturgical music, the symphony, the theater and a good joke. His greatest pleasure was often in just taking a ride in the car with Sadie (she drove) and enjoying a sunny Florida day.

In addition to his wife Sadie (Rudman) Laufer, he is survived by his three children; Rachel (Rabbi Andrew) Hechtman of Cheshire CT, Orna (Jim) Swartz of Cheshire CT, Jonah (Pam) Laufer of Acton MA; six beloved grandchildren Zev (Samantha), Haim (Ariel), Aaron (Elena), Adam (Nora), Jacob and Alisa as well as three magnificent great grandchildren, Benjamin, Mia and Sawyer Bear. He was also much beloved by Sadie’s children and grandchildren who adored him as their own. He received special support and love from Sadie’s daughter Lana and her husband Ronni of Sarasota.

There will be a memorial service at Chabad of Sarasota on Beneva Rd in Sarasota, Sunday morning (12/9) at 11:00 am. The funeral will be graveside at the Adath Israel Cemetery, 700 Pine Street, Middletown, CT, Tuesday (12/11) at 11:00 am. Shiva will be observed at Rachel’s home in Cheshire Tuesday and Wednesday and in Sarasota at the Laufer home on Thursday.

Ever the teacher, he would often quote the liturgist: “Al tishkachee l’et ziknah – Do not forget me at the time of my old age”. Indeed, he will be fondly remembered by all.

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