George "Sammy" Sams
George Preston (“Sammy”) Sams was born on September 3, 1937 in Dallas, Texas, the eldest child of George Horace Sams and Ella Lorene (Stevens) Sams.
Raised in Garland when it was a small town, he grew up playing baseball, in little league coached by his dad “Papa George” and involved in many sports throughout his life. He played football at Garland High School in the class of 1956, rode bulls in the Mesquite Rodeo, and boxed in Golden Glove bouts. In his later years he became an avid golfer, and spent many happy hours on the golf course with friends.
As a youth he spent spare time and summers working for his father’s landscaping business, digging trees, planting trees and shrubs in housing additions throughout Garland and Dallas.
He was a musician from an early age, performing “Father Alone” at the age of 6 on the stand up steel guitar at church.
He was gregarious and friendly to everyone, and was voted Most Popular in his high school yearbook.
He studied music at North Texas State University, and played bass guitar and bass viol in locations throughout the U.S. and Europe with the NTSU Lab Band, the USO show, the Eastfield College Jazz Ensemble, the Boston Pops, the Straight Ahead Jazz Quintet, the Big Beats, the Lightcrust Doughboys, Pat Boone, Jerry Van Dyke, Tiny Tim and many others.
Restless and eager to embrace life, he got his father’s permission at age 17 to join the U.S. Navy where he spent two years in the far East, aboard the U.S.S. Princeton, an aircraft carrier, where he was assigned as an air controlman.
Upon returning home, and between music gigs, he worked as a bank bookkeeper, an independent oil driller, a stock broker, a legal assistant, and was an arbitrator for the Better Business Bureau.
He passed away peacefully after a long bout with multiple health problems on February 18, 2019.
He was preceded in death by his parents and by his brother Chris Alan Sams. He is survived by his wife, Celia M. Sams, his brother Larry Lon Sams, his sister E. Mitzi Haley, and four children: Craig Wallace, Starlett L. Sams, George Preston Sams, Jr., and Kathryn Sams Condry, seven grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and many in-laws, nieces, and nephews, all who live in the north Texas area.
Sammy loved being around people, and always had a funny story or joke to tell, often becoming the life of the party, even after he became frail from health problems in later life.
He will be greatly missed.