Samuel Giles Weis loved wooden boats, slow breakfasts, a celebratory beer after catching his first fish of the season, riding his bike up hills (yes, up the hills), gliding on snow through the woods and telling stories in an overly detailed fashion. Sam died on May 9, 2017, in his home in Anchorage, Alaska, of leukemia. Sam fought cancer courageously and with immense determination for four of his 31 years. Though he would have been entitled to, he never complained. While his struggle and insights because of his disease shaped him and many around him, he was much more than a cancer fighter.
Sam was an individual dearly loved by his family and friends, as well as an inspiration to countless more as he openly shared his experiences with cancer and leading a "carpe the effin' diem" lifestyle. He was a fisherman, conservationist, adventurer and lover of the underdog. Sam spent his career fighting to protect rivers in his home state of Wisconsin, and later in Alaska. Sam was influential in halting the Gogebic Taconite mining proposal in northern Wisconsin, as well as the proposed Chuitna Coal Strip Mine in southcentral Alaska, both of which would have harmed pristine waterways, local indigenous culture and treasured wilderness. Sam showed us how to lead a full and meaningful life: ceaselessly prioritizing what is important and not sweating the small stuff.
Sam is survived by his wife, Jenny; parents, Debi and Jim; sisters, Kate and Sarah; grandparents, Duane and Carolyn Giles, and Jim Weis; dog, Birkebeiner; and many others.
In lieu of flowers, please consider charities listed on this page: www.bit.ly/sgw-celebration.
A celebration of life will be held at 9:30 a.m. at the Majestic Theater in Madison, Wis., on May 22, 2017, and on Facebook Live at that time. Sam requested no one wear black.
Published in Anchorage Daily News on May 18, 2017.