Samuel McCullagh
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.
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29 Entries
Sam was a great and and dear friend through his life. I can never forget the friends I made at Bellarmine and they Bar.
Ed Kelley
Friend
August 2, 2021
Meg Starr
May 22, 2021
Sam was one of the leaders of Alpha Delta Gamma Fraternity at U. of San Francisco. In his last semester at USF, he was the Pledgemaster for the Fall 1968 class of pledges. Pledgemaster is the hardest job in the fraternity because it takes so much time. He was mellow, yet dynamic; he had a persona as a mature grown-up while still in college. He even got married around the time he graduated. Over the years, I kept in contact with him even tough I was two years younger. The bond of fraternity was important to him. On behalf of all members of ADG Fraternity, we honor Cindy and Alicia.

Stephen La Plante,
ADG Class of 1967; USF Class of 1970


Stephen La Plante
Classmate
May 19, 2021
After re-reading my words of 14.05, I think they were too " dry "---too matter-of -fact. I don't want to leave that impression. Sam was a special Guy---one-of-a-kind---I'll miss you Sam---missing you already---of all my many cousins and relatives, I have the feeling that I'll miss you the most. Cousin Paul
Paul Brichetto
Significant_other
May 14, 2021
Shellie Garrett
May 14, 2021
You could not have a better friend in this world than Sam McCullagh
Steve Agid
Friend
May 14, 2021
My Bro had shown me the light and shepherded me through difficult times and joyful times. He was my beacon.
Jamie Watson
Brother
May 14, 2021
Dyan Sam, I'll never forget you visiting me in Lausanne, after your " spiritual " stay in Poona---we had a lot in common. Cousin Paul
Paul Brichetto
Significant_other
May 14, 2021
Friday breakfasts at Dominican College were always a little richer when Sam was present, as were the Men’s weekends at Tahoe. Sam, you will be missed.
David Edward
David Edward
Friend
May 12, 2021
I heard that Sam passed away on Mother's Day from a friend of mine, and I was and still am so heartbroken that Sam is no longer here with us. I haven't seen Sam in a while, last time was in Mill Valley where he saw me and greeted me with his cheerful self and kind words of greetings. I worked for Sam as his secretary back in the 80s at a personal injury lawfirm, and Sam was and always will be the nicest boss, kindest person, I have ever worked for. Such a gentleman, intelligent, cheerful and giving. I will never forget one Christmas when he drove to my house and brought my son and I a huge Christmas tree, I was a single Mom, and that was his present to us for the Holidays, such a gift of kindness. I am heartbroken that Sam is gone, even though I haven't seen him since that day, I remember that day like it was yesterday, he told me that I was the best secretary he ever had, I certainly hope so, because I loved working for him. He always walked into the office smiling, elegantly dressed and ready to be the best lawyer for his clients and the best to everyone.. My condolences to you Cindy, I met you at the office, I send you my heartfelt love and prayers. Be well Cindy, stay strong, I send you my love and prayers for your loss. I met Alicia also when she was at the office, condolences to you and your family.. Sam will always be missed. Farewell Sam McCullagh, thank you for being part of our lives.
Brenda
Brenda Renner
Coworker
May 11, 2021
Alexandra Newman
May 11, 2021
May 11

Sam, my dear friend, rest in sweet peace.

George
George D.
Friend
May 11, 2021
I am heartbroken that Sam is gone. He befriended me in 1970 when we entered law school at USF and I cherished every encounter since. I say "he befriended me" because that is the kind of man he was. He reached out to people and brought them into his life. Goodbye friend.
Edmond McGil
Friend
May 10, 2021
Sam was such a kind & generous member of many diverse communities, and I have a treasured memory of us at a picnic, strolling along the beach discussing our common issues & laughing a lot. Sam also guided me (he actually cornered me) into doing service in a group we belonged to, and we shared duties at several groups we mutually belonged to. San was a real stand up guy (except maybe when he couldn't so well, another issue we shared).
We will all deeply miss Sam, and our hearts go out to Cindy, who has been such a strong and loving partner for so long. I hope she'll continue to be strong and we'll all try to keep Sam's spirit alive. Thanks, Sam, for the memories. ❤
Rich S.
Friend
May 10, 2021
He was a fine man and very well spoken. Very sorry to lose him.
May 10, 2021
Sam's kindness, generosity, wisdom, vision and caring have filled us with love and made the world a better place. Your life has left a tremendous mark; you will sorely be missed, my friend.
Don Fry
Family
May 10, 2021
I can’t add anything to what’s already been said, other than I will miss Sam very much and will always have loving thoughts of him.
Ron La Rosa
Friend
May 10, 2021
Sam was a mentor to me. I started as a plaintiff lawyer in 1982 in SF with Sam sitting in the office next to me. I was constantly going into his office, asking him all sorts of questions and seeking his wisdom. He gave freely of his time which I greatly appreciated. I stayed as a co-worker with Sam until January, 1993 when I established my own solo practice in SF as a plaintiff personal injury lawyer. Sam graciously called upon me in my new office [one of the very few people who did so], continuing to offer his help and assistance whenever I needed it. Sam called me when he started his second career as an estate lawyer in which I knew he was destined to be successful. Sam was a nice man, caring, gracious, honest and always, always finding a way to cast a smile about the office, cheering everyone onward. I will miss him. We lost one of the good ones. Take care, Sam, until we meet again. Say hello to The Old Man for me. Joe Appel
Joe Appel
Coworker
May 10, 2021
Bruce and Wendy
May 10, 2021
George, condolences on the death of your brother. I can't read his life story without concluding that Sam had a full and interesting life. I am sure you will miss him. Remember him with smiles and think of all the things you have done together. That will lighten the sorrow of loosing him.

Best personal regards, Ken and Sarah Petrilla
Ken Petrilla
Friend
May 10, 2021
Mike Chorske
May 9, 2021
wise, compassionate, a lover of life, and a good friend
John T Andrews
Friend
May 9, 2021
One cannot read Sam's story without concluding that his was a purposeful life. Can any of us hope for more?
Dan Boyle
Classmate
May 9, 2021
Goodnight my Sweet Prince
Cindy Testa McCullagh
Spouse
May 9, 2021
Goodnight my Sweet Prince
Cindy Testa McCullagh
Spouse
May 9, 2021
Goodnight my Sweet Prince
Cindy Testa McCullagh
Spouse
May 9, 2021
Goodnight my sweet Prince
Cindy McCullagh
Spouse
May 9, 2021
I remember our walks at Bishop Ranch, talking about deeply spiritual things while sharing each other‘s poetry about life‘s wisdom.
Klaus Lange
Friend
May 8, 2021
Sam helped and touched the heart of so many. He will be sorely missed

He was a problem solver who never took no for an answer. Sam, we loved and will miss you always.
Philip OKeefe
Friend
May 8, 2021
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