1st Lt. Samuel Smith
1 Lt. Samuel Smith, United States Air Force, 26, went to be with his Lord at 8:38 a.m. March 2, 2013, in his home, surrounded by his family, after a seven-month battle with Burkitt’s lymphoma. His faith never waivered, his courage never faltered and he inspired all those who cared for him.
Sam was born Aug. 15, 1986, in Lima. He was a 2005 home-school graduate and enjoyed many subjects, but his favorite pastime was drawing airplanes. He enjoyed reading, basketball, fishing and bird watching. He helped with the family landscaping business and earned his private pilot’s license at age 18 at the Allen County Airport. He dreamed of flying for his life’s work. Sam attended OSU-Lima and Air Force ROTC, before being appointed to the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado. He graduated from the Academy in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in military history. Sam participated in cadet Bible studies, air assault training and internships in England, Wyoming and New Mexico, and served as a squadron physical training officer and a glider instructional pilot. He attended undergraduate pilot training at Columbus Air Force Base, Columbus, Miss., and basic helicopter flight school at Fort Rucker in Alabama. Sam was a member of the 23rd Flying Training Squadron, flying the TH-1H Huey II. He wanted to serve his country and fellow airmen as a search and rescue pilot. Cancer shortened his life but could not dim the love he felt for his country nor his loyalty to his Air Force friends.
Sam accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior as a preschooler and lived a faithful Christian life. He was a member of Cable Road Alliance Church and participated in AWANA, Bible quizzing, church softball and chili cook-offs. His favorite author was C.S. Lewis and he enjoyed the music of Rich Mullins and Antonin Dvorak. Sam’s quiet testimony and servant attitude spoke to many people. He faced death with no fear because of his relationship with Christ.
Sam is survived by his parents, Jay and Ruth Smith, of Cridersville; sister, Rebekah (Kevin) Deitering and their children, Ezra, Joe, Tessa, Evie and Tommy, all of Archidona, Ecuador; sister, Sarah (Zac) Leland and their daughter, Emma, all of Lima; brother, Jason (Elizabeth) Smith and their son, William, all of Columbus; brother, Joshua (Kate) Smith and their child, Hadassah, all of Lima; and brother, Daniel Smith, of Lima; maternal grandparents, George and Betty Faul, of Dallas, Ore.; and three aunts, four uncles and 11 cousins.
A private family service will take place in Willow Branch Cemetery, Waynesfield, with military rites by the Air Force Honor Guard. Friends, extended family and the community are invited to a memorial service at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at Cable Road Alliance Church.
Sam’s family extends heartfelt thanks to the Air Force community, Hope Lodge of Cleveland and the staff of the Cleveland Clinic for their kindness and care.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Hope Lodge of Cleveland or The Masters Mission of Robbinsville, N.C.
Condolences may be expressed at chiles-lamanfh.com.
Chiles-Laman Funeral & Cremation Service are in charge of arrangements.