Samuel Vance died November 27, 2017 at his home in Oakland, MS with his family by his side. Born in Orange, CA during WWII, named Sammy Ray by his oldest sister, Samuel Ray Vance was born to Grace Osborn and Samuel Robert Vance and grew to be a very strong and caring young man. He was the third of four children, the oldest son, and he loved to play football in high school. He was the fullback and was nicknamed “Bull Dozer.” During his college years, he liked to surf at Newport Beach and Doheny. Then Uncle Sam knocked on the door and said, “Here I am.” Sam went to the Army. After being stationed in Louisiana and Georgia, he went to Fort Campbell, KY. While there, he visited the small town of Portland, TN with a buddy, and there he met his soul mate, Flora, who became his wife for over fifty years. His mom and dear Aunt Vestar warned him when he left for service, “Don’t get involved with any floozy, especially from the South!”
When he was discharged in May 1967, Sam, Flora, and their four month old son, Robert, flew to Los Angeles and moved back to Orange, CA. He worked in the retail industry and advanced through management positions. During the next ten years, he had two more sons, Tom and Bryan. His three sons were the pleasure of his life. He coached little league baseball for all three sons, and never missed a football practice or game for his sons. He was the best cheerleader any son could ever want. In the mid 90’s, Sam had a massive heart attack, and was plagued with a weak heart for the rest of his life. He stayed strong, even with a crippled heart. He and Flora moved to Tucson where Sam designed and supervised the building of their retirement home. He thoroughly enjoyed the desert, and started gourmet cooking. In ‘99, they moved to Boston. There he supervised the restoration of a Victorian house built in 1894. He enjoyed the neighborhood and neighbors, but didn’t adjust to the long winters with gray skies. After 5 years, they moved back to Tucson, where Sam maintained his membership in the Fountain of Life Lutheran Church. When Flora wanted to restore an old southern house, he was excited about another life adventure. They visited the Herron House in Oakland, MS and he knew that would be the house. After moving to MS, he was impressed with the hospitable and gracious people in MS. He loved his grandchildren very much, and was always shopping for things he thought they would enjoy. He loved his siblings and nieces, nephews and cousins, as well as Flora’s siblings, nieces and nephews. Sam thoroughly enjoyed life. His entertaining and joking sense of humor contributed to many wonderful and funny memories and stories with great friends and family. Sam was a giving and loving person who will be missed by anyone who knew him.
Funeral services will take place at 2:00 PM Thursday, November 30, 2017 in the Henry Chapel of Seven Oaks Funeral Home in Water Valley, MS with Rev. Clay Baker and Rev. Catherine Camp officiating. Visitation will be from 11:00 AM until service time. Sam’s body will be returned to Orange, CA for burial in Fairhaven Cemetery. Shannon Funeral Home will be in charge of arrangements and burial in Orange, CA.
Sam is survived by his wife, Flora Vance of Oakland, MS; three sons, Robert (Daphne) Vance of Tustin, CA, Tom Vance of Casper, WY, and Bryan Vance of Santa Ana, CA; a brother, Bill Vance of Phoenix, AZ; and seven grandchildren, Marinna (Alex) Albaradei, Sam Vance, Savannah Vance, Sierra Vance, Silas Vance, Steven Vance, and Samantha Vance.