• Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sam James


Lt. Col. James Hagood “Sammy” Sams, U. S. Air Force (Ret.), 89, of Savannah, Georgia, and formerly of Warner Robins, Georgia, widower of Emily Jane Woosley Sams, died Sunday afternoon, March 17, 2013, at Savannah Rehabilitation and Nursing Center and under the care of Odyssey Hospice.

Born in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, he was a son of the late The Reverend William Bee Sams and the late Bertha Hutson Sams. “Hagood”, as he was called by his family, attended elementary school in Mt. Pleasant and three years of high school in Charleston, South Carolina before graduating from General William Moultrie High School in Mt. Pleasant. He received a scholarship to attend The Citadel in Charleston where he studied engineering. With the outbreak of World War II, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and entered Aviation Cadet Training before graduating and receiving his commission as 2nd Lieutenant on May 23, 1944. During WWII, he flew over 20 missions in Germany as a B-26 Marauder Pilot. After the war he returned home and was released from active duty. In April 1947, he went to work for Eastern Air Lines as a Reservations and Operations Agent where he would meet his future bride, Emily Jane Woosley. Having remained active in the Air Force Reserves, he volunteered for recall during the Korean Conflict. He spent some months overseas before returning home and taking a number of duty assignments all over the country prior to his final military retirement on September 1, 1969. Sammy, as he was known by his friends, enjoyed bowling and golf, especially golf. He was a life member of The Retired Officers Association, later MOAA, and a member of the Air Force Association, the Officer’s Club, the Pine Oaks Golf Club at Robins Air Force base, and the Waterford Golf Club. Among his awards and decorations were the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, World War II Victory Medal, European Campaign medal with two Battle Stars, and the Army of Occupation Medal (Germany).

Surviving are two sons, Gerald Woosley Sams and his partner, Cynthia Barnard, of Corte Madera, California, and James H. “Jim” Sams, Jr. and his wife, Linda, of Savannah, Georgia; nieces, Cynthia Powell and her husband, Sinky, Diane Wise, Julia Sams-Holleman and her husband, Michael, and nephews,  Lt. Gen. John B. Sams, USAF (Ret.) and his wife, Suzanne, William L. Sams and his wife, Sara, B.B. Sams, Jr. and his wife, Barbara, Alan B. Sams and his wife, Diane, Bill Sams, Thomas Legare and his wife, Marcia, and William E. Legare..

The family will receive friends from 5 until 7 o’clock Wednesday at Gamble Funeral Service - 410 Stephenson Avenue, Savannah, and from 1 until 2 o’clock Thursday afternoon in the Robins Air Force Base chapel – 655 Ninth Street.

The funeral service will be held at 2 o’clock Thursday afternoon in the Robins Air Force Base chapel conducted by Chaplain Kenneth E. Harp. Interment, with full military honors, will be in Magnolia Park Cemetery in Warner Robins.

Remembrances: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – Post Office Box 1000, Memphis, Tennessee 38148-0142.

Please share your thoughts about Lt. Col. Sams and his life at www.gamblefuneralservice.com.

Gamble Funeral Service, Savannah, is in charge of the arrangements.

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