Captain Jon Patrick Sams “Sams I Am”, 87, Village of Fox Crossing, passed away unexpectedly on Monday, February 22, 2021.
Jon was born in Denver, CO on March 26, 1933, a son of the late Louis Vergil and Josephine Lydia (Lantz) Sams. He spent his early childhood in Salina and Chapman, KS. He attended high school in Kansas City, MO graduating in 1951 from Central High School. He went on to attend KCMO College, Kansas State College and ultimately graduated from the University of Missouri in 1955 with a BS in Forestry and Marketing.
Jon was a proud veteran of the United States Air Force. He served in the US as well as Libya, North Africa as a jet fighter pilot and helicopter pilot from 1955 – 1960. Jon also had the distinction of flying Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) to and from his ranch before he was President. Following his honorable discharge, Jon returned to the University of Missouri earning a master’s degree in sales and marketing which led to a career with major building materials and supplies companies.
Jon met his future wife, Linda Rankin Callander of Columbus, OH in Washington, DC and they were married on February 18, 1967. Together, they raised four sons: Chris, Patrick, Benjamin Scott and John Allan. The family lived and worked in Chicago, Lake Geneva, WI and later Neenah, WI.
Together with his wife, Jon formed L.J. Industries, Inc. and manufactured and marketed products to motorcycle and auto customers. In 1982, they bought the Deck the Walls franchise in the Fox River Mall in Appleton, WI. They specialized in custom framing and sales and were proud to have “the whole family” involved. They retired from business in 2001.
In retirement, Jon was active as a volunteer with S.C.O.R.E. as small business counsel. He was a teacher naturalist at the Bubolz Nature Preserve in Appleton and a reading and math tutor for the Appleton Area School District. He and Linda were longtime members of St. Thomas Episcopal Church where they taught Jr. & Sr. High Sunday School as well as participating in other missions of the church. Jon was an amazing father, brother, uncle, grandpa, and friend. He will be sadly missed.
Jon enjoyed fishing, golf and socializing. The family enjoyed summers in Park Rapids, MN, their family cabin on Long Lake. They were pleased to be active in both their community and their church for many years.
Jon is survived by his sons: Patrick (Pam) of New Braunfels, TX, Benjamin Scott (Tiffany) of Menasha and John Allan (Donna) of Delafield, WI. He also leaves his grandchildren: Gage, Chloe, Caitlin, Matthew, Nick and Brady as well as his good friend, Gloria Brickham.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Linda, his sister, Sally Tomlinson and his son, Christopher.
Memorial visitation for Jon will be Thursday, March 4, 2021 from 10 to 11 AM at ST. THOMAS EPISCOPAL CHURCH (226 Washington Street, Menasha, WI 54952). A funeral service will start at 11 AM with Fr. Ralph Osborne officiating. Military honors will follow with inurnment taking place in the church columbarium.
For those wishing, flowers are appreciated. If you prefer to make a donation, memorials are appreciated to the American Heart Association or the National Wildlife Federation.
The family respectfully requests that masks be worn and that social distancing guidelines be followed. For those joining us via live stream, please visit the church’s website at StThomasWI.com.