David Lee Sams: 1931-2024


David Lee Says, May 18, 1931, to Feb. 10, 2024.
  • David Lee Says, May 18, 1931, to Feb. 10, 2024.

David Lee Sams was born on May 18, 1931, in Portland, Oregon, to Lee and Marguerite Sams and passed peacefully on Feb. 10, 2024, surrounded by his sons, at Alder Bay Assisted Living in Eureka, California. He lived in Humboldt County for the past 60-plus years, primarily in Ferndale followed by Eureka.

After graduating from University of Oregon in 1953, dad volunteered for the draft; prior to leaving, he married Janice Hollister, a union that would last until Janice's passing in 2022. After spending a year in Korea, dad returned to the University of Oregon and obtained his teaching credential. His first job was at Douglas High School in Winston, Oregon, where he reports "learning a lot." With Janice seeking to leave the area, Dad secured a teaching position in Ferndale, California, and began teaching there in 1961, a career that lasted some 25 years. He taught arts, crafts, geography, mechanical drawing and even some math. He taught night school for seniors in a program that didn't last long. Son, Steve, reports that he didn't give any leniency to his sons while in school — "mechanical drawing was the hardest B+ I ever earned in high school." Dad was very active as a small-town teacher, involved with every graduating class and class advisor to many different years' students; he retired from teaching at Ferndale High School in 1986. He was very involved with the Ferndale Art Festival prior to and when it turned into the Kinetic Sculpture Race, as well as Our Saviors Lutheran Church and various automobile clubs

Upon retirement, dad continued his hobby of collecting those things that caught his fancy; from treadle sewing machines to Columbia River post cards to Roseville Pottery to automobile license plates to cars to automobile accessories — and much more. He always had the neatest and most organized collections. He was a good pinochle partner and trained many a cribbage player.

Preceding dad in death are his wife, Janice, and his son, Patrick. He is survived by Jerry (Carrie, and grandchildren Emily/Jonah, Lucas/Ashley); Phil (Lani, and grandchildren Kelly/Tyler and David/Ariel); and Steve (Elaine, and grandchildren Matthew and Stephanie/Tristan). He is also survived by two great-grandchildren, Jude and Maya.

A memorial service was held March 23, 2024, at Our Saviors Lutheran Church, in Ferndale.

Mom and Dad truly enjoyed living at Alder Bay for the last few years of their lives and we thank this facility for the care and companionship provided. The family would also like to thank Hospice of Humboldt for their compassionate care and support in the final few months of dad's life; he would be proud of any donations made on his behalf to Hospice of Humboldt.

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