PULLER, Samuel Dawson, Jr., Tucson, Arizona and Durango, Colorado resident Samuel Dawson Puller Jr. died Saturday, January 12, 2013 in Durango. He was 65. Sam was born to Ruth Ann (Wiberg) and Samuel Dawson Puller Sr., on April 13, 1947, in Panama City, Republic of Panama. He maintained and treasured his boyhood friendships from Panama throughout his life. The Puller family moved to the United States when Sam was in eighth grade. He graduated from New Trier East High School in Winnetka, Ill., and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree from Arizona State University in Tempe. Although Sam was challenged with cerebral palsy from birth, he was disciplined, accomplished and independent, always insisting on pulling his own weight. He kept very high standards for himself and accomplished much in his life. Mr. Puller worked as a civilian accountant in the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center, AMARC, at Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona for 39 years. He retired in 2011. "He took great pride in his service to the U.S. military," his family said. "For Sam, this was an extended family where he developed lifelong friends, who cherished his strength, optimism and sense of humor, including political jokes." He was a member of the Ott Family YMCA in Tucson, Arizona for more than 40 years, another important extended family of his. He swam every day of his life, unless it was lightning!, he walked and lifted weights as well, saying if he did not exercise he would not be able to walk....In Durango, he swam regularly at the Durango Rec Center, and when in the river current pool, would laugh out loud that he was able to run! "He was a good, kind, generous human being," He lived his life honestly and directly. Sam was an inspiration to all who knew him, and will be remembered by all for his "get-through-anything' attitude and his infectious and cheerful laugh. Mr. Puller is survived by his sisters, Ann Slauter of Tucson, Arizona and Mary Puller of Durango, Colorado; one niece, Amy Slauter Staley of Denver, Colorado and one nephew, Tylor Jon Slauter of Golden, Colorado. A Memorial Service will be held Monday, February 11, 2013 at Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, Arizona. For further details, please call 520-668-8234. Memorial contributions may be made to the Samuel Dawson Puller Jr. Fund, Ott Family YMCA, 401 S. Prudence Road, Tucson, AZ 85710. Arrangements by HOOD MORTUARY.
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Published in the Arizona Daily Star on Jan. 25, 2013