Master Sergeant
Leroy William Samms


Master Sergeant Leroy William Samms

Leroy William Samms was called Home to be with his Lord early in the morning of June 1, 2006, from his home in Carlotta, CA. Roy was born August 5, 1928, in San Francisco to Herold and Alva Samms. While still a toddler they moved to Eastern WA for several years before buying a farm in Custer; WA, in 1939, where Roy helped with chores and raising five younger siblings. At the young age of 14 he left home and found work on a dairy for $1 a day with board and room. As a strong young man he could always find a job to support himself. At 15 he was driving forklift at the Ogden Arsenal in Ogden, Utah. Turning 16 in 1944, Roy joined the Merchant Marines and soon found himself on a tanker delivering the first P-61s [Black Widow Night Fighters] and airplane gasoline to the islands in the South Pacific. Following World War II he worked for the Forest Service in Montana until joining the army at 18. While in the first Cavalry in Tokyo, Japan, because of his stature and good looks he was selected by Col. Kenworthy, of. the 8th Army International Tribunal for the Far East, to be a guard in the courtroom for the Japanese War Crimes Trials, one of the highlights of his military career.
Two years later, awaiting discharge at Ft Lewis, WA, he met Mary Le Higby, a shy red-headed Junior Red Cross Hostess, at a Service club dance and stole her heart. They were married March 25, 1950, in Centralia, WA, making their first home in Portland, OR, where Roy was. studying aeronautics at Multnomah College.

He then transferred from the Army Reserve to the Air Force Reserve. Ronald William was born January 19, 1951 and a few months later Roy's reserve unit was recalled to active duty and deployed to Ashiya, Japan. He returned to McChord A.F.B., WA, where Peggy [Margaret Louise] was born July 26, 1953. Roy re-enlisted and soon was on his way back to Ashiya. This time Mary Le and the children were able to join him for an enjoyable four years. From Southern Japan they relocated to Kinross [Kincheloe] A.F.B., Sault Sainte Marie, MI, on the Canadian border, for six years, where he managed the base bowling lanes in addition to his military duties. Finally his request for Beale A.F.B., Marysville, CA was approved to be closer to family. Expecting to retire there he bought a house but was surprised with orders for Vietnam, serving at Can Tho and Cam Rahn Bay in the 457th Tactical Airlift Squadron. Roy's next assignment was Dyess A.F.B., Abilene, TX, where he retired Nov. 31, 1969, as Master Sergeant with 22 years service, 16 medals, and 2 Air Force Commendation Awards.

Returning to Marysville, he began civilian life working at a furniture store and then RV sales for 7 years, leaving to go to Yuba College and when his. GI Bill ran out, worked there as a Custodian. In 1986 Roy and Mary Le moved to Carlotta, CA, to be near Peggy, Doug, and the grandchildren. He enjoyed working at Fortuna High School taking care of the boys' and girls' gyms where athletes, students, and faculty treated him with love and respect. An added bonus while there was enjoying his grandchildren's activities. His retirement years included RV trips and fishing from Cabo San Lucas, Baja, to Alaska with Eel River Good Sam friends, and sight-seeing, visiting friends and relatives all around the U.S. Roy bowled in two senior leagues until Nov. 2005.

Other activities
over the years, besides being a die-hard Raiders fan, included hunting, golf, shooting black powder with The Brushy Creek Rangers and Civil War Historical Society, VFW Post 2563 [life member], and A.F. Sergeants Assoc. [life member], and Classified School Employees Assoc. Roy's life exemplified the words integrity, faithfulness, and patience, honoring country, family, and friends. He was a charter member of Bible Baptist Church; Marysville, and 20 year member of Calvary Chapel Fortuna.
Besides his parents, he was predeceased by son; Ron, brother Donald and sister Mary. He is survived by his loving wife of 56 years, Mary Le, daughter Peggy and Doug Smith, granddaughter Donna and Jim Colby and children, grandsons John and Lynette Smith and children, Bob Smith and fiancee Frieda Dross, Kevin Smith and great-granddaughters Ginny Smith and fiancÚ Tim Bones, and Lacy Smith and fiancÚ Dustin Sylvies. Roy was blessed with many great-grandchildren and two great-great grandsons who all loved and respected him. He is also survived by his brother Bob and Maryann Samms of WA, sisters Patricia Bradford and Dorothy Hamilton of AR, many cousins, nieces and nephews who will dearly miss him.

There was a memorial service Saturday June 10th, at 11:00 at Calvary Chapel, Fortuna, with Pastor Craig Hall officiating, followed by a gathering in the Fellowship Hall. He was interred in the Samms family plot in. Fair Oaks Cemetery, Fair Oaks, CA.

Instead of flowers memorial contributions in Roy's name may be sent to the Eureka Rescue Mission, 408 7th St., Eureka, CA, 95501 or Hospice of Humboldt, 2010 Myrtle Ave., Eureka, CA 95501, or charity of choice.

The family wishes to thank Dr. Jack Irvine and staff; Dr. David Ploss and staff; Fortuna Home Health; Hospice of Humboldt, especially Nancy, Carol and Shelly; Pastor Craig and Tami Hall; dear friends at St. Joseph Hospital; and all who so faithfully ministered and prayed for Roy and family.


13 Jan 2009 03:38 PM