He was born January 20, 1941 in Oklahoma City to Nove Despose Counts and Virgil Irene Suffal.
He enlisted in the Air Force at the young age of 17 and served 22 years, including tours in Vietnam and Thailand, retiring as a Master Sergeant.
After retiring from the Air Force he settled in Spokane and became a postal carrier for 23 years, working out of the Hays Park Station and eventually retiring from the Hillyard Station.
Sam embraced life early, having three children of his own then separating to marry Donna Collopy, his wife of 45 years.
Combining families gave him nine children at the age of 23.
As well as his two careers, he often took on part time jobs to help pay the bills for such a large family.
You would think that his heart was full enough but he also became a foster parent.
Eventually he and his wife Donna adopted Tony as their own child.
Sam also actively helped raise several grandchildren and welcomed anyone that needed a place to stay.
Sam was well known for many years as an avid bowler, recreational golfer and competitive softball player.
He was most proud of the teams that were comprised entirely of family members.
These teams span nearly 30 years in this area.
He actually bowled a 298 in a tournament.
He was very proud to have a season as the only player on the team that didn’t have a single strikeout.
He also had a hole-in-one at Downriver Golf Course on the infamous uphill par 3.
Perhaps his favorite athletic story was how he helped coach his grandsons’ baseball teams.
Sam is preceded in death by his parents, his older brother John, his best friend and brother Gary (golfing buddy) and two of his children: Samantha Counts and John Counts.
Sam Counts is survived by his wife, Donna Counts; eight children: Mary (Rick) Miller, Christine (Lee) Parten, Joanne Petty, Kathy Counts, Michael (Gaea) Counts, Susan (Jeff) Belote, Edward Counts and Anthony Counts; sixteen grandchildren; twelve great-grandchildren: siblings include: Joyce Blair, Robert (Karen) Faison and Dennis (Cindy) Faison and numerous nieces and nephews.
A Memorial Service will be held 11:00 AM, Thursday, December 6, at Peaceful Valley Church, 201 Allen Road, Elk, WA.
Burial with military honors will be at Elk Cemetery #2, Madison Street in Camden, WA.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests that memorial contributions be made to either the Alzheimers Foundation, 901 W. 5 Ave., Ste.
256, Spokane, WA 99204; the Leukemia Foundation, 530 Dexter Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98109 or to S.C.O.P.E.S, 826 N. Mullan, Spokane Valley, WA 99206.
Please visit Sam’s online tribute and leave a condolence at www.hennesseyfuneralhomes.com.
Our family would like to give a heartfelt “thank you” to each and every one of you who reached out to help us during this difficult time.