Samuel D. Natal, 74, of Cherry Hill, a longtime Superior Court judge in Camden County, died Sunday, Nov. 24, in Newark, N.J., of congestive heart failure while on a business trip.
Judge Natal was appointed to Superior Court in 1984 and served in the Family, Civil, and Criminal Divisions. He retired in 2015 but served as a recall judge to fill vacancies on the bench.
Judge Natal was born on April 1, 1945, in Camden to Reba A. Natal, a secretary, and her husband, Edward, a certified public accountant. He was raised in Camden until his family moved in 1959 to Delaware Township, soon to be renamed Cherry Hill. He graduated from Cherry Hill High School in 1963.
In 1967, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Rutgers University. He earned his juris doctorate from the Villanova University School of Law in 1970.
While in college, he met his future wife, Bonnie, on Yom Kippur at Congregation Beth El, she recalled.
“If you meet someone on the holiest day of the year, it was meant to be,” she said.
They married in 1969 at the synagogue, then in Cherry Hill.
From 1970 to 1984, Judge Natal worked in private practice and also briefly as an assistant prosecutor, which was then a part-time job in Camden County.
After being appointed to Superior Court, he was assigned to the Family Division and in 1986 was named presiding judge.
He later completed rotations in the Civil and Criminal Divisions and finally settled in the Criminal Division. From 1997 to 2011 he served as the acting presiding judge of the Criminal Division.
Judge Natal loved sailing and was a past commodore of the Cooper River Yacht Club.
He also enjoyed model railroads and had a set that filled the basement, his wife said.
“It was something he could do with his hands. It was creative. It took a lot of the stress away from his job,” she said.
Judge Natal traveled to Alaska, Europe, and Australia, and sailed chartered boats.
He is survived by his wife; daughters Keira Shein and Allison Koslow; four grandchildren; and a sister.