Samuel Houston ADAMS
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ADAMS, Samuel Houston (Age 87) When you talk about Sam Adams you can't keep it short because Sam was a larger than life man. Called "Big Sam" by many, he was large in love, passion, teaching, training, sense of humor, in his stories, and in life. Sam went home to be with his Lord on November 13, 2015 at the age of 87. Samuel H. Adams was born to Mary Louise Adams Acuff and Lloyd Thomas Adams July 25, 1928 in Fort Worth, Texas. Sam was one of the original Young Life kids that founder Jim Rayburn led to Christ. It is here the legacy begins. In 1948 Jim Rayburn sent three young Texans up to Whitworth College to start Young Life. The mission of Young Life is to step into the world of kids, earning the privilege of talking to them about the good news of Jesus. During registration he met the love of his life, Colleen. Sam described Colleen as "the belle of the ball". Sam and Colleen were married on June 6, 1950. Four children blessed their life: Deborah Leigh, Samuel David, Stephen Thomas and James Edward. Eleven grandchildren followed after that. They were the light of his life and he delighted in all their activities. The life accomplishments of Sam Adams are quite impressive, driven by a passion that reflected his desire to use his abilities to honor the Lord. He was a student athlete at Whitworth in basketball, baseball, track, and football. He then played for the San Francisco 49ers and the B.C. Lions. Injuries brought Adams back to Whitworth where he worked on a master's degree and became an assistant coach for football and track. He was named head coach of both programs in 1958. Sam and Colleen moved to Pullman in 1965 where Sam was a football coach at WSU. He earned his doctorate in 1969 in Administration, and was hired to teach there that same year. Sam will be remembered by the WSU community as a student's professor, always putting the needs of students first. Sam was known for his investment in his players both on and off the field. One player wrote, "The wins are distant, but Sam's constant friendship and love have carried me through many rough times in life." Sam retired in 2002. During his entire academic career Sam continued to pour out his life in ministry through Young Life Club. In 1969, 125 students attended the very first Young Life Club for Pullman High School. Sam and Colleen were responsible for training hundreds of college students as they opened their living room and their hearts to show students what a relationship with Jesus really looked like, and encouraged them to share that with others. Sam and Colleen's ministry through Young Life spanned nearly 50 years, and it is now carried on all over the world through the people they have invested in. Sam lived his life loving people, investing in people, encouraging people, coming alongside people. His success and abilities were far reaching in athletics and education, but his legacy in relationship and introducing people to the person of Jesus Christ will stand when all else is gone. It was from his lips and through his life that many people first heard the gospel of Jesus Christ proclaimed with language and images that made sense to them. In his weekly Young Life messages his audience encountered the truth: about the majesty of God's creation, about God's irrepressible love for rebellious creatures like you and me, about the depth of God's love most fully expressed in the incarnation of Jesus, about sin, that creates a chasm between us and God, about the price Jesus paid to redeem us, about the resurrection that gives us ultimate hope, and about what fullness of life in Christ can look like. When all the diplomas, awards and newspaper clippings were put in boxes, Sam's body was wearing out, and dementia was taking over, what remained was this: a man with a great sense of humor, full of kindness and love, a man who cherished, loved and adored his wife, children, and grandchildren and a man who deeply loved his Savior. Sam is survived by Colleen, his wife of 65 years, his daughter, Deborah Kilbreath and husband James, his son Samuel D. Adams and wife, Kristen, his son Stephen Adams and wife, Denise, his son, James Adams and wife, Tami, their grandchildren Drew, Ryan, Sam, Steve, Katie, Emma, Cody, Anna, Ellie, Mabel and Abby. A Celebration of Sam's Life will be held at Evangelical Free Church on December 5th at 12pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: the Sam Adam's Young Life Scholarship, Whitworth University 300 W. Hawthorne Road, Spokane, WA 99251 or Evangelical Free Church 4812 Airport Rd, Pullman, WA 99163 Kimball Funeral Home of Pullman has been entrusted with funeral arrangements. Online condolences may be left for the family at

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Published in Spokesman-Review from Nov. 20 to Nov. 21, 2015.
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