Thursday, July 30, 2015
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Betzler
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Food and refreshments will be served.
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
When reflecting on the life of Sam Dickason, words such as hardworking, vibrant, and charismatic come to mind, however, all who knew him would agree that he put the life into the world around him. His strength, courage, and determination were truly inspiring, and even when engaged in the fight for his life he never let challenges get the best of him. It was easy to see that Sam was all about family, and there was nothing that brought him greater joy than witnessing his family tree blossom to include the children and grandchildren he adored. A longtime resident in the Kalamazoo area, he was the sort of person whom everyone seemed to know. Although life will never be the same without Sam here, his timeless legacy will be carried on by those who follow him.
As the year 1940 dawned, the eyes of the world were focused overseas as WWII covered more and more of Europe. We had struggles of our own here as the 1930s had been blanketed by the Great Depression. Although things were headed in the right direction, there was a lot of ground that still needed to be covered to make a full recovery. It was just as this decade was dawning that his parents were eagerly anticipating the birth of their new baby as the heat of the summer sun held the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, firmly in its grip in 1940. The big day finally arrived when the baby boy they named Sam drew his first breath on August 6th. He was the older of two boys in his family as he was a few years older than his brother, Tom. Sam’s mother, Anna Mae Dickason worked as a chemist and found employment out in Los Angeles during the war when he was around the age of four. It was there she met and married Jonmore Dickason, Sam’s adoptive father, and where Sam spent the remainder of his formative years. It comes as no surprise to those who knew Sam as an adult that he could be quite a handful as a kid. He and his brother were known to steal chocolate from his mother during wartime, although he has also been described as “the good older brother.” Perhaps it is because Sam had several aunts and uncles (two of whom were nuns as well as an uncle who was a priest) that Sam’s Catholic faith was so strongly influenced He was a student at local schools including Arcadia High School where he was a lineman on the football team. Sadly, their team never won a game. Because he spoke German, Sam was a member of the German club, and he was also a smart kid who was on the debate team. While growing up, he had dreams of being an astronomer or meteorologist and therefore absolutely loved the Weather Channel. Sam then attended Johns Hopkins for his undergrad and was focused on being pre-med at that time because his mother had always wanted him to be a doctor. He later focused on dentistry, however, and he graduated from Loyola Dental School in 1966.
Life was forever changed for Sam when he met the woman of his dreams. Her name was Kathy, and they met because she was dating his best friend and roommate while he was dating her best friend and roommate. They had their first date at the Brookfield Zoo where they fed the bears marshmallows, which he took right out of Kathy’s younger sisters’ hands. Sam and Kathy soon began dating, and over the year and a half that followed they got to know one another well. Sam knew she was the one he wanted to marry, although he had to ask Kathy to be his wife three times before she knew he was serious! Of course, she accepted his proposal. Deeply in love, they were married on Saturday, September 12, 1964, at Holy Trinity Church in Chicago. The newlyweds spent the night in a hotel, attended mass the following morning, and then hurried home to watch the Bears game! They had limited means - in fact - it has been said that neither Sam nor Kathy had a pot to piss in! A little over a year later, they welcomed their first child, Tom into their heart and home. While vacationing and visiting his uncle in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Sam fell in love with the area. They soon moved there, and the family grew to include three additional children, Sue, Barb and Patsy (Trish). In 1972 Sam and his wife purchased the house that he would call home for the rest of his life. To support his family, Sam worked in private practice for a few years before finding his niche at the State Hospital. He was never much into the business side of things, but he enjoyed being able to focus on patient care that he considered to be his ministry and his calling in many ways.
Although he found great fulfillment in his work, there was nothing that Sam treasured more than being with his family. He was there for all of his kids’ sports and activities, and he liked to embarrass them, too. The Dickason home was an active one, and both Sam and Kathy were very involved with their kids. They played tons of games like Pictionary and various card games as well. Sam enjoyed cooking spaghetti and was the one to man the grill, and he also loved to make peanut butter fudge and nut bread for the holidays using his mother’s recipe. Sam loved the holidays and spent months getting everything ready, and there were numerous family traditions that were passed down from his parents. Birthdays and anniversaries were special, too, and he never forgot one of them since he was so sentimental in nature. Sam loved watching planes, and a typical date night was to go to the airport to watch planes, although Kathy preferred to be on the planes!
In 1993, Sam was diagnosed with cancer. He faced it head on, was not afraid, and life continued on. They got a time share in St. Marten in 1999 where Sam loved having fufu drinks with the umbrellas, eating good food, and watching airplanes. He loved sunbathing and jewelry shopping. Actually, everyone always teased him about his Mr. T Starter Kit! They celebrated their 50th anniversary last year at Myrtle Beach with his entire family.
Colorful, fun-loving, and spirited, Sam Dickason was a blessing to everyone he met. He was courageous no matter what, and he did everything with his own flair and sense of humor. Sam loved traveling, good food, and playing black jack and the slots, but what he treasured most was being with his loved ones. He will never be forgotten.
Sam Dickason died on July 26, 2015. Sam’s family includes his wife, Kathy Dickason; 3 children: Tom Dickason, Sue Dickason (Durham Lewis), and Trish Dickason; “adopted-daughter”, Mary Spade and 3 grandchildren: Taylor, Thomas, and Kendall. Sam was preceded in death by his daughter, Barbara Dickason, and his brother, Thomas Dickason. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and refreshments on Thursday from 5:00 – 8:00 PM at the Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler-Kalamazoo, 6080 Stadium Drive; 375-2900 where a time of sharing will begin at 7:30 PM. Mass of Christian Burial will be held Friday 11:30 AM at St. Catherine of Siena Church followed by a luncheon in the church hall. Please visit Sam’s personal web page at www.lifestorynet.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial donations may be made to Peace House (after school program for underserved children) or Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.