14 entries | 1 photo
The Guest Book is expired.
Sam died peacefully at home in Port Angeles at age 100 of age-related causes — or, as he put it: "I got no problems! I'm just too damn old!"
Sam was born in Rezischev, Ukraine, in the Russian Empire of Czar Nicholas to Alex and Leah (Chorney) Chudnovsky (also spelled Chodnowsky, Chadnowsky and other ways in English).
His father immigrated to the U.S. shortly after Sam was born, escaping from anti-Jewish pogroms and intending to send for his wife and son when he raised the money.
But world events intervened — World War I, the Russian Revolution and the Russian Civil War — and Alex could not send money into Russia.
Leah paid a smuggler to sneak them across the border, but they were caught and detained.
However, when a fight broke out at the border station, Leah grabbed Sam and ran out into the forest, where they eventually made their way to Poland, then Antwerp for the voyage to Ellis Island and ultimately Chicago to join Alex.
Sam first attended school at age 9 and sat in the first grade for three years until he learned English from his cousin. Then he quickly advanced to his grade level, graduated from Marshall High School in 1931 and went on to graduate from what later became the University of Illinois Pharmacy School. He practiced pharmacy and became the manager of a Walgreens store in 1940, the same year he married Evelyn Matloff.
Tragedy struck that same year, when Sam's father was accidentally shot by his partner at their pawn business, becoming paraplegic. Overnight, Sam quit his pharmacy job to preserve the family business. He quickly adapted, aided by the fact that he had grown up on Chicago's South Side and knew many of the people in the neighborhood.
Eventually, he acquired his own store and developed a philosophy of giving loans based on the person and not the merchandise. Business boomed after the veterans returned home from World War II, and the Liberty Collateral Company thrived until the ghetto riots of the 1960s touched Chicago. Sam's business was untouched, but his insurance company refused to renew, and Sam and his crew were forced to shut down in 1968.
After a 27-year hiatus, Sam decided to get back into pharmacy, working as an apprentice for a year until he was able to pass the state exam. He worked until 1985, whereupon he and Evelyn moved to Port Angeles, where their daughter Susan had put down roots and started a family.
In Port Angeles, Sam and Evelyn enjoyed spending time with their friends and family, taking walks in nature, attending cultural events and caring for their home. They delivered Meals on Wheels, which appealed to Sam's love of driving.
In 2006, they moved to Park View Villas, where they were warmly received by the other residents and staff. Evelyn died there in 2008, and Sam continued on, experiencing remarkably few health problems until his death.
Sam had been an avid aficionado of the stock market since the 1930s, and the market became both a pastime and job in retirement. He took an investment class and joined an investment club, making many friends in both, and stayed active in the stock market till the very end.
He had lived his own version of the American Dream, but he never forgot about the concerns of poverty, having come from there himself.
Sam is survived by children Charles (Susan), Susan and Edward; grandchildren John, James and Edmund Chadd, and Alex and Jacob Haverfield; five great-grandchildren; brother Maury Chodnowsky, and sister Evelyn Einbund.
He is preceded in death by his parents and by his son-in-law, Bob Boardman.
Honoring Sam's adamant wishes, no memorial will be held.
No flowers, please.
Donations in Sam's name may be sent to the Port Angeles Food Bank.
Memories can be shared at Sam's online guestbook by visiting www.legacy.com/obituaries/peninsuladailynews.
Published in The Peninsula Daily News on July 12, 2013