Mr. Lee O Sampson, of Compton, California, born in February of 1937 in Memphis, Tennessee, to the late Annie Bell Sampson and John L Sampson, passed away at age 82 on March 17, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. In Compton, California, he attended Lincoln Elementary School, Willowbrook Jr. High School, and was in the first graduating class of Centennial HIgh School in 1955. Lee was a hometown hero and excelled in basketball and track but most notably football. As a Mighty Apache of Compton Centennial High School he was player of the year in 1953 and established many records, He continued his education at Compton Junior College, and while there his team were victors of the 1955 Jr.Rose Bowl played in Pasadena, California which was controversial because the integrated Compton team almost didn't play due to the protests of the all-white Jones Jr. College of Mississippi. Lee served in the United States Army and stationed at Verdun, France and played basketball during his tour of duty.
After receiving an honorable discharge from the Army, he enrolled in New Mexico University as a student athlete. He was captain of the football team but one of his greatest achievement was marrying a smart and beautiful NMSU cheerleader, Janet Morgan of Chicago, IL. A true love story! Lee was drafted to the Canadian Football League and played with the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger Cats from 1964 to 1965. Thereafter, he returned to the Compton area where he was heavily involved in community organizations that focused on rebuilding Watts after the riots. He co-founded AVIM, a minority owned aerospace parts supplier, as well as Hickory Pine Pre-School where scores of children began their road to excellence via hands-on, quality child development program. The same year he joined the California Board of Realtors and began a lifelong career in real estate. He continued to be very involved in his community and served as an elder at First Christian Church in Compton, as a local football coach, Boys Scouts pack leader, and mentor of many young people in Watts, Compton, and Lynwood. He was also a committee member of Lynwood Personnel Commission and Lynwood Planning Commission.
Later in life he explored his creative side and his hobbies included photography, gardening, writing and painting. He self-published, "Dreams Come True" which he described as an African American version of "American Graffiti". He was a self-taught artist and many of his artwork and photos have been exhibited in local galleries.
Lee was married to Janet Sampson and was preceded in death by his brother, Lee Floyd Sampson. Lee is survived by his son, Kevin Sampson and daughter-in-law, Semra Seifu; daughter, Audrey Sampson; brothers, Carl Sampson and Darrington Sampson; sisters, Barbara (Frank) Banks, Peggy (Chester) Jackson, Evalena Easter, and Bridget (Jesse) Goines; and grandsons, Solomon, Samuel, and Wabi and a host of cousins, nieces and nephews.
Friends and family can pay their respects during his wake on Thursday, March 28 from noon to 6:30 p.m. at Robert L Adams Mortuary Inc., 501 E Palmer St, Compton. A viewing will be held on Friday, March 29 at 9:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. followed by a celebration of life, officiated by Pastor, Dr. S. L. Garvey, at 10:30 a.m. at First Christian Church which is housed at the Compton Seventh Day Adventist Church.