Samuel Boyd McCullagh, Jr.
April 11, 1946 - May 5, 2021
With deep sadness we announce the passing of Samuel Boyd McCullagh Jr., age 75, on May 5, 2021, at UCSF Medical Center after a long illness.
Sam was born in San Francisco on April 11, 1946 to Loisann Brichetto McCullagh and Samuel Boyd McCullagh, and grew up on the family ranch in Merced County, at the intersection of River Road and McCullagh Road. In the idyllic San Joaquin Valley of the 1950's, Sam grew up with his three brothers, riding horses, driving tractors, and swimming the the Merced River on hot summer days. He attended Our Lady of Miracles grammar school in Gustine and Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose.
He continued his Jesuit education at the University of San Francisco, befriending new students and enjoying lifelong friendships with many. He became a member of Alpha Delta Gamma and was elected "Pledge Father" to the younger aspirants pledging for membership.
Sam completed ROTC in 1968, at the height of the Vietnam war, and trained as a medic in the US Army Reserves. After fulfilling his commitment to our military, Sam enrolled in law school at the University of San Francisco and received his Juris Doctorate law degree in 1973.
Sam had a very successful and varied professional career. He was the Assistant Dean of USF Admissions, and received a special appointment as Assistant to the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, Washington D.C. which included a tour in Vietnam.
Sam began his law career as a trial attorney; first as Deputy District Attorney in the Alameda District Attorney's Office, and then as a plaintiff's attorney in a statewide civil litigation practice based in San Francisco. For the past 23 years, Sam maintained his private practice, Sam McCullagh Estate Planning.
Sam was a resident of his beloved San Francisco all his adult life. He and his wife Cindy also loved their West Marin town of Bolinas, where they escaped to their historic second home on the mesa with sweeping views of Duxbury Reef.
He was a member of the University Club where he was an active squash player and conceived and produced Friday the 13th Black Cat luncheons, providing a forum for public affairs discourse, poetry and music. He was also a member of the Bolinas Rod and Boat Club, considered the heartbeat and soul of Bolinas. Sam was a beloved pillar of the club sitting on the Board and Executive Council. He created the "Marine Moment", a biographical event to learn about fellow members' lives and professional stories and draw membership closer. Members quote that they will miss Sam and his ability to assist the entire community with such balance, compassion and encouragement.
The ultimate renaissance man, Sam traveled all over the world, maintained a lifelong love of learning and personal growth, enjoyed meeting people from all walks of life, and was a friend and mentor to many. Sam had a strong commitment to sobriety and the Twelve Step Program. He was an active member of The Other Bar, a program of recovery for attorneys, judges, and their friends suffering from addiction. For 19 years Sam gave of himself by helping other members of the legal profession seek and maintain sobriety. He also worked to bring recovery to the needy and homeless community in the Tenderloin of San Francisco. He was a man of deep compassion with a huge heart. Sam had a spirituality other people could feel and touch and appreciate. Sam was gentle, wise and a gift to all who knew him. When Sam loved you, you knew you were loved.
He is survived by his wife, Cynthia Testa McCullagh, daughter Alicia McCullagh Goodyear (Adam), granddaughters Lila and Violet Goodyear, brothers George McCullagh (Nanci), Stephen McCullagh (Pam), John Filippini, and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Loisann and Sam.
Published by San Francisco Chronicle from May 7 to May 9, 2021.