With great sadness, the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa announces the passing of Sam Brock, our Minister Counselor for Political Affairs, early in the morning on October 24, 2012, at the age of 60. A native of Radford, Sam was a paper carrier for The Roanoke Times as a young boy, and won the Young Columbus writing contest, sponsored by Parade Magazine, which included an all-expenses paid tour of Europe. This was his first trip overseas, and would begin a life filled with travel around the world.
Sam graduated cum laude from the Catholic University of America in 1974, including studies at the Catholic University of Puerto Rico in Ponce, and obtained an M.A. degree with honors from Georgetown University in 1983. Prior to joining the Foreign Service he worked as a contract interpreter for the Department of State and as an administrator for the Government of Spain at the Spanish Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica. Sam joined the State Department in 1983 and served 29 years of distinguished service in Seoul, Praia, Algiers, Cape Verde, Mexico City, Cotonou, Marseille, Kinshasa, and Ottawa, along with tours in Washington at the Organization of American States, as the Director of North American Affairs at the National Security Council from 2002-03, four tours in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, including as interim director of the Office of UN Political Affairs and Director of the Office of UNESCO Affairs. Sam had recently been named ambassador of Eritrea and was awaiting Senate Confirmation.
An enthusiast of all kinds of music, Sam was a talented pianist and organist and performed at numerous concerts both in the United States and abroad. In 2007 he recorded a CD of Negro spirituals with Natalie Carter, a prominent Washington area contralto.
A gifted linguist, he spoke Spanish, French, and Portuguese fluently and also conversed easily in Italian. He won numerous Department of State awards as well as the Ordre du MÃ©rite from the French government and the Cruz de Caballero de la Orden de Isabel la Catolica from the Spanish government. Sam was a devout Catholic and participated actively in church life, often playing the organ and piano at Mass, in parishes all over the world. He was also a member of the Agrupacion Catolica Universitaria.
Sam will be greatly missed by family, friends, and colleagues, and remembered for his keen intelligence, gentlemanly demeanor, remarkable sense of humor, passion for music, devotion of his family, active Roman Catholic faith, and commitment to serving his country.
Sam was preceded in death by his father, Bill Goodykoontz. He is survived by his wife, Odile; daughters, Gabriel, Charlotte, Sophie and Odette; grandchildren, Zahraa, Gabriel, and Leila; his mother, Mary Susan Ripley Goodykoontz of Radford; brothers, Matthew D. Brook, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., Clement J. Brock and wife, Mary Ann, Richmond, Bill Goodykoontz and wife, Susan, Phoenix, Ariz.; a sister, Mary Susanna Gilmore and husband, Ron of Radford. Sam is also survived by 23 nieces and nephews.
A Funeral Mass will be held at St. Jude Catholic Church in Radford, on November 20, 2012 at 2 p.m. Father Jarek Nowacki will officiate.
Following the service, the family invites you to join them in celebrating Sam's life at a reception to be held in the church fellowship hall.
A website has been created in Sam's honor where all are invited to share thoughts, stories, photos or recording of Sam: http://samuelybrock.muchloved.com/
For those wishing to honor Sam, the family welcomes donations in his name to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (http://www.ccfa.org