Lake City - Grady Darrell "Sam" Markham, 76, passed away July 20, 2013, at the Haven Hospice Care Center in Lake City, Florida. He was born on May 3, 1937, in Lake City, FL, where he lived all of his life. Sam was a loving and devoted husband, son, father, grandfather, and friend.

Sam was graduated from Columbia High School in 1955, and then he attended the University of Florida and graduated in 1959 with a BS in Education. During his four years at UF, he was active in the ROTC. After college graduation, he served as a commissioned officer in the US Army. In the mid-1960s, when he returned to Lake City, he taught math at the Lake City Junior High School. In his early years of teaching, he taught adult education (math) courses. He later went on to receive his Masters Degree in School Administration with a Certification in Mathematics.

He served on the Columbia County School Board from 1972 to 1976. During this time, he co-owned and managed the Magnolia Barbeque with his father. Because of his love for education and for the students of Columbia County, he ran unsuccessfully for Superintendent of Schools in 1976. Though he did not win the election, he stayed active in education, returning to the classroom until 1980. In 1980, Sam was appointed Principal of Five Points Elementary, a position he held for 24 years. In 2004, he was elected Superintendent of Schools and served until 2008. Sam was a great leader and a wonderful and compassionate educator who always placed the needs of the students, teachers, and staff first. He made sure his students never went without, often quietly giving them lunch money, shoes, eyeglasses, warm clothing, or money for the electricity in their home.

Sam Markham was an avid bass fisherman and won numerous tournaments over the course of three decades. He was an avid Florida Gator football fan, and he loved spending time with his family and friends at the games, both home and away. He loved spending time in his mountain home in Franklin, NC. He spent many hours cross-stitching and won awards at the Columbia County Fair for his artwork. In the last five years, he took up whittling as a hobby and created handcrafted carved walking sticks. Sam was a member of the Lake City Lions Club and the Elks Club.

Sam was preceded in death by his parents, Grady Deen Markham and Estelle Kent Markham. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Carroll Markham; his daughter, Belinda Markham Wood (Chuck) of Ocala, FL; his son, Samuel D. Markham (Merry-Jennifer) of Gainesville, FL; four grandchildren, Hannah and Erica Wood of Ocala, FL, and Madeline and Oliver Markham of Gainesville, FL; cousins Harlan Markham, Harry "Sonny" Watkins, Jr, and Robbie Douberley (Leland), all of Lake City; and his close friend David Monroe, of Lake City, FL.

Visitation will be from 5:00 to 8:00 pm on Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at Dees-Parrish Family Funeral Home - 458 South Marion Ave, Lake City, FL. Funeral services will be at 2:00 pm on Thursday, July 25, 2013, at Hopeful Baptist Church - 289 SE Hopeful Drive, Lake City, FL. Internment will follow at Hopeful Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Haven Hospice of Lake City - 6037 West US Hwy 90, Lake City, FL 32055.

Arrangements are under the direction of the DEES-PARRISH FAMILY FUNERAL HOME, 458 South Marion Ave., Lake City, FL 32025. Please sign the on-line family guest book and leave notes of condolence for the family at

Funeral Home

Dees-Parrish Family Funeral Home
458 S Marion Ave. Lake City, FL 32025

Published in Gainesville Sun from July 23 to July 24, 2013