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.
In June 1982, Jim retired from SUCO as Chairman of the Education Department. Following his retirement he worked with Nancy in her business, Oneonta Travel Agency, and they enjoyed many years of leading tour groups all around the world and theater weekends to New York City.
Jim’s lifelong passion for golf began when he worked summers as a caddy on Cape Cod. He was a member of the Oneonta Country Club for more than 50 years and was named an honorary lifetime member. He won country club championships in Oneonta, Indonesia and Brazil and golfed on famous courses worldwide. A highlight of each golf season was playing in the Oneonta Country Club member-guest tournament for 25 years (until age 90) with his son, Jimmy. Jim continued to golf until the age of 94 and was known for his fairway accuracy and short game around the green.
In retirement, Jim and Nancy split their time between Stuart, Fla., and Oneonta until returning to Oneonta in the fall of 2010. As a resident of The Plains at Parish Homestead, Jim especially enjoyed playing bridge and participating in Wii bowling. He was also an avid reader and sports fan.
The family would like to extend their gratitude to the staff at The Plains for their wonderful support and the warm community they provide. They would also like to thank Maria McAdams, LPN, for her devoted friendship and care during Jim’s years at The Plains.
Jim is survived by his four children, Susan Livingston of Otego and her husband, Royce also of Otego, Dawn (John) Knutson of Schenectady, Jimmy (James) A. (Madeline) Sampson of Fairmont, W.Va., and Letty (Ronald) Shaw of Oneonta; 10 grandchildren, Kelly (Larry) Brown, Sarah Livingston, James Livingston, Lia Miller Spicer (Johnnie Spicer), Larissa Miller, Valerie Miller, Jonathan Sampson, Joel Sampson, Jason Sampson, and Leann Kerr (Steven) ; three great-grandchildren, Ryley Brown, Noah Spicer and Noemi Spicer; one sister-in-law, Helen (Adams) Hatch; as well as several nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by a grandson, James Joseph (JJ) Sampson II; and by his brother, Walter Sampson; and sister, Frances Sampson Mortimer.
Jim lived a full, independent and active life until the day of his passing. His family feels blessed to have had him in their lives for so many years.
The family wishes to continue Jim’s practice of charitable giving. In lieu of flowers, please support the charity or organization of one’s choice.
There will be no calling hours.
A Service to Celebrate the Life of James Joseph Sampson will be at 10 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014, at the First Presbyterian Church, 296 Main St., Oneonta, with the Rev. Mark Montfort officiating. Following the service, the family is hosting a luncheon in Jim’s honor in the Traditions Dining Room at The Plains at Parish Homestead at noon. Those wishing to attend are kindly asked to RSVP by calling The Plains at 267-4013 by Tuesday evening, Jan. 21.
To light a candle or send an online condolence please visit www.bookhoutfuneralhome.com.
Funeral arrangements are by the Bookhout Funeral Home of Oneonta.