Mrs. Sam Israel – Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame
Merryl Silverstein Israel Aron, or simply Mrs. Sam Israel, ruled the New Orleans women’s golf world from 1934-65, winning 10 city golf championships, eight state titles and three Gulf Coast crowns. During that period, she also reached the semifinals of the Southern Championship twice and the Western Championship once. She also qualified six times for the United States Amateur Championship.
Amazingly, 31 years separated her city titles – she won her first in 1934 and then her last in 1965 before retiring from competitive golf.
Her success on the links afforded her the opportunity to play alongside golfing legends such as Ben Hogan, Bobby Jones, Byron Nelson and Sam Snead, entertainment kingpins like Bing Crosby and Bob Hope, and Babe Didrikson Zaharias, the legendary women’s golfer.
“I got to know people of all ages playing golf,” she said in an oral history for her family. “It was the most gratifying life to be able to play amateur golf, not to be pressed to turn professional. That never occurred to me.”
Mrs. Aron and her husbands were deeply involved in philanthropy. Among the recipients of their generosity were Touro Infirmary and Tulane University.
The Merryl and Sam Israel Jr. Environmental Sciences Building stands on Tulane University’s Uptown campus. Mrs. Aron received the Judah P. Touro Award and was named to Tulane’s William Preston Johnson Honor Roll of Donors.
She died on December 5, 2015 at the age of 102.