Photo courtesy of Soller-Baker Funeral Homes, Inc. - West Lafayette Chapel - West Lafayette

Samuel Noel Postlethwait

Apr 16, 1918 - Jan 15, 2019 (Age 100)

Guest Book

Not sure what to say?

Where to start..I owe you ( and Dr. Daniels) my deepest gratitude for giving me my academic start at the University. Not only that, but you may have saved my life although neither of us knew it at the time. I truly enjoyed the magnificent and elegant slide shows at Lilly Hall that you presented from time to time. You'll be in my thoughts forever.

As a post-doc teaching intern with Sam 1976-77, I learned a great deal about teaching from him. His audio-tutorial system was such a departure from the lectures I always got that it made a great impact on my teaching. My career was different because of his sharing and enthusiasm that year.
Sam was truly an unique person. I always appreciated what I learned from him.
Douglas Ruby "Dapper Doug"

Blessed by Sams faith, friendship & wisdom

Sam & Saras lives were the epitome of lives that were lead by God, loving Him in such a way to lead others to have faith to follow Him as well. They taught me these things. God bless them & all those who had the pleasure & privilege to know them.

I'm so glad I got to meet Sam for the first time last summer. My father was a post-doctoral student for Sam in the mid 70s and spoke often of his kindness. He provided my father odd jobs so he could make a little extra money to support his young family during his time at Purdue. On a recent visit to West Lafayette, we were able to locate him so my father could say thank you and introduce the rest of his family. Thoughts and prayers from the Brown family.

One icy morning a few years ago, I saw a van pull up to the front of the shop. As I looked out, I saw Sam waving so I stepped out to chat. He handed me a list of family and friends who he wanted to send flowers to. He did this often and we enjoyed each opportunity to visit with him. He will be missed. His impact and love for the Purdue and West Lafayette community is a great legacy.

Sam never treated one person better than another. He would brighten a room by his mere presence. I was privileged to have taken care of him at University Place he would always ask me if I was staying out of trouble. I would usually reply I was trying but it wasn't looking good. He would tell me well that another reason I need to go to church to pray for you. We would both laugh and thank him. My day was always better with a hug and kiss from Sam. Enjoy heaven Sam God has prepared a place for...

When I think of Sam and Sara, I remember what an impact they had on the Elmwood College Class while I was a student at Purdue. My faith in God grew by leaps and bounds under their direction. I have been blessed to send my daughters to Elmwood to experience the Christ-like love from these two amazing Christians. I know they are in the presence of Jesus - a well deserved position in Heaven.

Lunch at UP with Sam. From left Dave Leva, Sally Leva, Tom Turpin, Sam, Christine Turpin, Richard Schoenbohm and Sue

I will forever hold a special place in my heart for Sam. As a new graduate student at Purdue who needed support, Sam took a chance on me and thus, I was one of his many TAs in Botany class. I see others have mentioned his great talent for remembering every student's name in every class he taught- something that is amazing to see and experience. And everyone called him Sam (students as well) as I recall. He didn't need a title, everyone respected and liked him instantly. I was lucky...

One of the all time best teachers and human beings. I met him in Botany and Plant Pathology in a 600 student lecture in 1961. He took one lab section of 20-25 kids each and had us introduce ourselves. From then on he knew our names. I had never met anyone with a photographic memory and it was unnerving to students to be called out in lecture by name for sleeping or otherwise not paying attention. It happened once in each class and never again. I did some work at University place about 5...


Samuel's Obituary

Samuel Noel Postlethwait, 100, passed away early in the morning on January 15.  Sam was born April 16, 1918 in Willeyville, WV.  His parents were Mary Etta Mason Postlethwait and Albert Franklin Postlethwait.  Sam was married to Sara Madeline Cover on March 22, 1941.  Sara passed on June 2, 2010.Sam grew up on a 180 acre farm near New Martinsville, WV.  He met Sara at Fairmont State Teachers College in 1937 and they married 4 years later.  Their interdependence and love for each other was indeed special for all of the 69 years of marriage.  He joined the Navy in ‘42 and served for over 3 years during WWII.  After his service in the military Sam used the GI bill to earn a masters degree at West Virginia University and later a PhD at the University of Iowa.  In 1949 he came to Purdue and had a “perfect fit” in the School of Agriculture.  One of his proudest professional achievements while at Purdue was the development of a teaching system focused on the learner.  He called this model the Audio-tutorial system.  He attributes much of the design of this system to his excellent students who “owned” its development.   Sam retired from Purdue in 1984. It should be noted that Sam continued to teach informally all those that were fortunate enough to know him and have time with him. Sam and Sara moved to University Place (UP) in West Lafayette in 2004.  Together they enjoyed, and fully valued, their neighbors at UP and the wonderful loving culture of this remarkable living facility.  During this time at UP Sam was often in the Celery Bog which is adjacent. He has over 30000 pictures of the park taken over the years while walking with his Tuesday morning “walkers” and close friends.  This was a very important aspect of the last several years.Sam and Sara were members of the Elmwood Avenue Church of Christ from their arrival in Lafayette almost 70 years ago.  The church was the center of their lives.  Their love and appreciation of the church and the members of the church was boundless; the source of so much richness in their lives and provided “a sense of values that gave us so much comfort in all circumstances”.Sam valued highly Kiwanis Lafayette and West Lafayette and its members.  The mission “We build: Changing the World, One Child and One Community at a Time” was near to Sam’s heart.  Time at the Kiwanis lunches was time well spent in his view; special occasions to be with good people doing good things.  Sam is survived by sons John (Nita) and Bob (Kathi), four granddaughters and eleven great grandchildren.

A Memorial service will be held at Elmwood Avenue Church of Christ at a date to be determined.

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