MIDLAND Wilburn "Sam" Delain Hollis, 86, of Midland, Texas, passed away on Tuesday, June 3, 2014, after a long and courageous battle with cancer.
He was born to James Clifton and Mattie Loudell Hollis on June 6, 1927, in the cotton farming community of Clauene, Texas. No one can remember why they called him "Sam", but the name stuck.
He graduated from Levelland High School and then joined the Navy in 1944. After the war ended, he attended Texas Tech University; graduating in 1949 with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Education.
He married Billie Jean Abel on June 4, 1948, in Lubbock, Texas. They moved back to Levelland, where Sam enjoyed teaching his high school "kids". They were blessed with two daughters, Lynn Ann, in 1952 and Kelly Sue in 1955. The family moved to Andrews, Texas, in 1957, where Sam continued teaching at Andrews High School. In 1959, he opened Sam Hollis Studio. He took pictures, sold cameras, record albums and '45's. In 1968, he opened Sam Hollis Photography in Midland, Texas, and commuted until Lynn graduated in 1970, when they moved to Midland permanently. If you lived in Andrews or Midland between 1959 and 2014, chances are that you posed in front of his camera at least once. For some, he documented three generations of their families. He enjoyed photography and grew a successful business. His true passion was "people". He often remarked that the years he spent teaching were the most rewarding, satisfying times of his life. Sam never met a stranger and would talk for hours with anyone willing to converse. He had true compassion for people of every race or ethnicity and believed that women were "just as good" as men. Sam had a great sense of humor and loved sharing jokes. He was generous to a fault.
Sam is preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Wayne.
He is survived by his brother, Ronnie; wife, Billie; daughters, Lynn and Kelly; and grandson, Will.
Honorary Pallbearers are Ronnie Hollis, Sid Norton, Don Dickson, Jon Thompson, Joe Abel, Christy Lacy, Kathy Renick-Bell, Roddy Hamilton, and Dock Sewell.
A visitation will be held on Sunday, June 8, 2014, from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm at Ellis Funeral Home in Midland, TX. Services will be held at 1:00 pm on Monday, June 9, 2014, at St. Luke's United Methodist Church with a private burial at Resthaven Memorial Park in Midland, TX.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Hospice of Midland.
Services are entrusted with Ellis Funeral Home. Online condolences may be offered at www.ellisfunerals.com.