Sam Avalos, Jr., age 55, a lifelong resident of Colorado Springs passed away on Sunday, April 26, 2009 at his home in Colorado Springs. He was a teacher and counselor in Colorado Springs School District 11. Samuel Adolph Avalos was born on November 24, 1953 in Newark, New Jersey to Samuel A. and Diane (Internicola) Avalos, Sr. He attended Edison and Lincoln Schools, North Middle School and was a 1971 graduate of Wasson High School. Samâ€™s family was very proud of his city-wide wrestling championship, his state wrestling championship and attaining fourth in the nation, in high school wrestling. He received his undergraduate degree from CU at Boulder, his masters from Colorado College, and his counseling degree from Adams State University. He married Christine Lynn Jones Smith on March 26, 2006 in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was a teacher and counselor at Emerson Jr. High School, Irving Middle School and Palmer High School. He was best known for founding the Latino Club at Irving Middle School, establishing the Folkloric Ballet program at Palmer High School, and hosted district wide annual trips to the LaRaza Conferences. He especially enjoyed his ski trips with the Special Ed students from Palmer High School. Sam suffered a tragic automobile accident in 1973 that left him a quadriplegic. He fought back both physically and emotionally to excel beyond all expectations. He loved traveling, ATVs, mono-skiing, hand cycling, hunting, fishing and bowlingâ€¦ but his greatest love were the students that he loved to teach and counsel. Sammy is survived by his wife, Christine; his father, Samuel A. Avalos, Sr.; his stepson, Michael (fiancÃ©e, Melanie Gibbins) Smith; all of Colorado Springs; his brother, Nicholas (companion, Shelly Zucker) Avalos of Boulder; and his sister, Diane (Dick) Davis of Seoul, Korea. Also surviving are his granddaughter, Autumn Krista Smith and his niece, Elizabeth Davis. He was preceded in death by his mother, Diane Avalos, in 2002. A Celebration of Samâ€™s life will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 2, 2009 at the Shrine of Remembrance â€œAmerica the Beautifulâ€ Chapel of Roses. A reception will follow at the familyâ€™s home. Cremation is planned. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, 2141 Rosecrans Avenue, Suite 7000, El Segundo, California 90245 or to the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation, 10 West Broadway, Suite 700, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101. Sam will be dearly missed by his beloved family, his thousands of students, friends and colleagues whose lives he touched and greatly enriched. Blessed be his memory.
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Published in The Gazette on Apr. 28, 2009