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Sam Misiura


1977 - 2019
Sam Misiura Obituary
(News story) Sam Misiura, known as a creative and agile chef - he worked in kitchens from age 16 including more than a decade at the Toledo Zoo - who measured success in diner satisfaction, died Monday in University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center in Ann Arbor. He was 42.

He suffered aortic dissection, symptoms of which came on suddenly, his wife, Lia Colapietro, said.

Mr. Misiura received wide attention in October, 2018. While driving over the Veterans' Glass City Skyway, he pulled over his vehicle when he saw a man on the outside ledge of the bridge. He walked up and tried to talk the man off the ledge. When the man refused, Mr. Misiura grabbed him and pulled him to safety.

"I don't think he thought there was anything else to do except give this person another shot," Mr. Misiura's wife said. "I don't think he saw it as a choice. He just acted."

John Colapietro, his father-in-law, said: "He just did it selflessly."

Mr. Misiura most recently was a sales representative for Sirna and Sons of Ravenna, Ohio, a wholesale produce business. He remained in the orbit of restaurants.

"He still loved walking into kitchens and having conversations with chefs," his wife said. "What drew him to that - he certainly had that passion for service."

He had been executive chef about three years for Toledo Country Club, his wife said.

"The chefing hours were getting to be a bit much for a guy who wanted to see his family," his wife said.

The Perrysburg Township resident came to northwest Ohio in about 2000, after he and his wife met, and he worked in restaurants. He started at the zoo as a kitchen supervisor.

"After a few years, I became sous chef and finally executive chef at age 30," he told Blade food editor Mary Bilyeu in 2014.

With the exception of birthday cakes for Louie the elephant - peanut-butter frosted polenta with fruit for the pachyderm's 11th - Mr. Misiura created people food for the wedding receptions, corporate retreats, and business meetings held at the zoo.

He also worked on the annual zoo fund-raiser that features tasting samples from area chefs. His offering in 2013 was a rosemary and fennel-rubbed porchetta and pork belly with chili paste and garlic.

"He loved being creative, in exploring all the ingredients of the world," his wife said.

He aimed for flavor and eye appeal, a dish that "looks amazing. It's so nice to see something with color," he told Ms. Bilyeu, adding, "Good eating should never be a trend, never be a fad."

Making people happy, "that really pleased him," his wife said.

He grew up in an adventurous food family, his wife said. According to family lore, he came to restaurant work after his mother told him that, at 16 years old, it was time to get a job.

The hustle-bustle of the kitchen captured him, "the mischief and the feeling of being on a team," his wife said. "He loved the back of the house. The family back there he had was special to him."

Off duty, he patrolled estate sales in search of another knife for his chef's collection, but invariably came away with more.

"Everyone will have a story about some ill-fitting sweater he gifted them," his wife said. He liked books and riding his bicycle.

"He was very inquistive," his father-in-law said. "He knew a lot about a lot of different subjects."

Samuel Vernon Misiura was born July 15, 1977, in Clarks Summit, Pa. He was a 1995 graduate of Abington High School. He attended Keystone College and the Culinary Institute of America.

Surviving are his wife, Lia Colapietro, whom he married July 5, 2003; sons Ewan and Eli; mother, Cathie Eastburn; sister, Beth Eastburn, and grandmother, Mary Cummings.

A celebration of life is scheduled for 3-6 p.m. Oct. 25 at Thompson Stone Hall at Otsego Park.

This is a news story by Mark Zaborney. Contact him at [email protected]">[email protected]">[email protected]">[email protected] or 419-724-6182.
Published in The Blade on Oct. 6, 2019
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