Sam J. Sablack of Martinsburg, W.Va., and a longtime resident of Eastlake, died Aug. 19, 2012, while on vacation with his family in Lakeside, at the age of 77.
On his last day, he spent time laughing with his children and grandchildren and family friends and enjoyed an evening with his daughter listening to the Lakeside Symphony Orchestra. He passed away peacefully that night after enduring a long history of heart disease.
Sam was born Sept. 13, 1934, in Midland, Pa., to Anthony and Catherine Sablack, the third child in a family of eight.
He graduated from East Liverpool High School in 1952, and became a U.S. Navy navigator on combat planes during the Korean War. After the war, he attended Ohio University and the University of Maryland, earning a B.A. in business administration.
Sam met his wife, Phyllis, when both were young adults working in Washington, D.C. They were married July 3, 1963, and had two children, Melissa and Michael. They relocated to Eastlake in 1969, where they lived for many years. Sam and Phyllis were divorced in 1985, but continued to have a friendly relationship for all the years following.
Sam worked in various sales positions throughout his life from steel to computers, where his outgoing and friendly personality was a huge asset. His first priority was living life to the fullest and his many interests included travel, classical music and military history. He loved pointing out all the places he had been in an atlas. Sam was famously gregarious and a warm and funny character. He made an impression on everyone he met and always took the time to joke with people he ran into. A free spirit, after his retirement he moved to India, where he had friends and lived there quite happily for a few years until his longing for family brought him back to the U.S.
Sam is survived by his two children, Melissa Sablack Gonzalez (husband, Michael) of Willoughby and Michael Sablack (wife, Nikki) of Twinsburg; grandchildren, Miles and Danny Gonzalez and Jake Sablack; siblings, Helen Sablack of Silver Spring, Md., George Sablack of Fort Worth, Texas, Lillian Sablack of Martinsburg, W.Va., Mary Martha ""Marti"" Coghlan of Fredericksburg, Va., Millie Johnson of Las Vegas, Nev., and Antonette ""Toni"" Sablack of Prague, Czech Republic; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his younger brother, David.
A memorial service is planned for 1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012, at Trinity Cathedral, 2230 Euclid Ave., Cleveland.
Friends and family are invited to gather at the home of Mike and Nikki Sablack after the service at 10373 Sandalwood Lane, Twinsburg OH 44087.
Consistent with his giving nature, Sam donated his body to the gift registry at West Virginia University. Ultimately, his remains will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Martinsburg VA Medical Center Library. Checks should be made to the VA Medical Center and mailed to VA Medical Center, Voluntary Service, 510 Butler Ave., Martinsburg, WV 25405, noting that it is for the library in memory of Sam J. Sablack.
Thank you to the many people who knew and loved Sam. Although his warm presence is dearly missed, his family takes great comfort that he lived his life so well and spent his last hours with the people he loved best.
Published in www.News-Herald.com from Aug. 22 to Aug. 23, 2012.