James Joseph Sampson
ONEONTA — James Joseph Sampson, 99 1/2, of Oneonta, passed away suddenly Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, at the A.O. Memorial Hospital, Oneonta.
He was born June 19, 1914, in Everett, Mass., the son of the late John F. and Bertha M. (Randall) Sampson.
Jim and his wife, Nancy, met at a dance at Bridgewater State. Part of Jim’s charm was his polish on the dance floor, and he and Nancy danced every other dance together for the rest of the night. On Aug. 13, 1942, Jim and Nancy married in Wollaston, Mass., and danced together through 68 wonderful years of marriage until Nancy’s death on Nov. 14, 2010.
Jim proudly served his country as a staff sergeant in the United State Army Air Corps, where he taught celestial navigation during World War II.
In 1938, Jim received his Bachelor of Science degree from the State Teachers College at Salem, Mass. He received his Masters of Education degree from State Teachers College at Bridgewater in Bridgewater, Mass., in 1946. After teaching in Harlem and elsewhere, he received his PhD from Teachers College at Columbia University in New York City.
In 1951, Jim and Nancy moved with their family to Oneonta, where Jim became a member of the Education Department at State University College at Oneonta (SUCO). Early in his career at SUCO he was instrumental in developing the Catskill Area School Study Council and was also involved with the Saturday Seminars program from its inception.
In March 1958, an opportunity arose to join a team of eight SUNY professors going to Indonesia to work for the Ford Foundation and the Indonesian government on improving teacher education. Jim and Nancy took the bold step of moving their family to Indonesia for two years.
In 1966, another opportunity arose for the family to live in Brazil for 5 1/2 years while Jim took an assignment with the U.S. Agency for International Development, again focusing on teacher training.