For the last few months of his life, Jerrelene, his wife of 63 years, and other family and friends had the privilege of caring for him.
He was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the last of eight children of Robin and Annie Williamson, all of whom preceded him in death.
After high school in Cleveland, Sam came to Spokane, Washington, to go to work for his uncle, Emerson Cole Williamson, known as The Floor Doctor.
Sam would use the knowledge and skills learned at his uncle’s side to create his own successful business, Williamson Janitorial Service, specializing in floor refinishing and building maintenance.
Sam’s clients were many, including Savage House Pizza, the SRO and Garland movie theaters, the Jewish synagogue, Andrews Equipment, Equitable Savings, Washington Mutual Bank, and Power City Electric.
Each of his five children had the opportunity to be involved in the business, giving them invaluable lessons in hard work, management and customer service.
For several years, Sam was maintenance manager at Playfair Race Track and later was a maintenance supervisor at Community Colleges of Spokane before retiring.
Sam always had multiple jobs, but he always had time for his wife and children, and for a host of other young people on Spokane’s East Side that he gave a first job to or cheered on at track and field events at Ferris High School.
And he wrapped his arms and his heart around those left without a father.
Since his passing, Sam’s family has been comforted and uplifted by messages that called him a “friend,” “mentor,” “father figure,” and “a blessing to me”.
Sam’s children have so many memories of the dad who always stepped up to the plate.
They remember him working until the early morning hours and then having dinner on the table every evening when their mom came home on her dinner break from Safeway.
They still call on his advice about standing tall in times of adversity and discrimination, and they’ve passed that wisdom on to their own children.
He supported their every dream and endeavor, took pride in their achievements, and comforted them in their disappointments.
Sam was never demonstrative about his faith, but he lived it by example.
He and Jerrelene raised their children in the church.
One of Sam’s lessons was that despite everything, he believed in the dignity of all people and treated everyone with respect.
His charm, easy wit and teasing personality, even in the last days, were memorable.
Sam is with us still in our hearts and our minds, and he will never be forgotten.
We grieve his loss but celebrate his life.
Survivors include his wife, Jerrelene (Hill) Williamson, of Spokane; children Annette (Edward) Lilly, of Chester, PA, Jennifer (Larry) Roseman, of Spokane, James (Joyce) Williamson, of Denver, CO, Sam M. Williamson Jr., of Rathdrum, Idaho, and Julie (Juan) Serquinia, of Los Angeles, CA; 16 grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and a host of other family members and friends.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the National Federation for the Blind, 200 East Wells Street, at Jernigan Place, Baltimore, MD, 21230-4998, or to the charity of your choice.
Services will be held Saturday, November 16, 2013, at 3 p.m. at Hazen & Jaeger Valley Colonial Chapel, 1306 N Pines Rd, Spokane Valley, WA, with reception following.
Private interment at Pines Cemetery.