Samuel Simpson Virts passed away on November 5, 2017 at the age of 93 at his home in the Sunrise Sonoma, California, Assisted Living Facility.
Sam was born February 6, 1924 in Minneola, Kansas and was raised in Bloom, a tiny unincorporated area, on a wheat farm. He was one of 4 children of Elizabeth Bell Simpson and Edmond Virgil Virts. His sister, Nedra, and brothers F.A. and Jay have preceded him in death. Sam married Mary Elizabeth Austin of Coffeyville, Kansas on December 23, 1944. Mary passed away in 1991. Sam married Teresa Renales, whom he met in Stockton, in 1994 but was widowed again in 2009.
He attended Bloom High School, Dodge City Junior College, Kansas State Teachers College, Northwestern University where he received his bachelors degree, and San Jose State where he received a masters in speech.
He served in the US Navy from 1943 to 1945 on the USS Tulagi, an aircraft carrier and the USS Wilkes-Barre, a light cruiser.
Sam’s various careers took him from Kansas to Colorado, to Indiana, to San Francisco, San Jose and Santa Clara. After Mary’s death, he lived in Stockton and Tempe before moving to Sonoma. His careers covered the gamut from disc jockey and manager of a radio station to assistant administrator at O’Connor Hospital, director at Stanford Hospital, to a training director position at Lockheed/Technicon, the healthcare systems company that created and installed the first computerized hospital information system in the country. He earned the respect of his bosses, peers, employees and the communities he served as demonstrated by the myriad awards he received over his working life and volunteer service. He served as President of the American Red Cross of San Jose and headed the North State (California) Hospital Council. Awards included Red Cross Appreciation, Distinguished Citizen of San Jose and the KX-RX Golden Mike Award. And, he was asked to speak to the retired nurses from the 1959 Nursing Class at O’Connor Hospital for their 45th anniversary.
Sam stayed active, given he was raising 5 children and working full time. He enjoyed riding his bicycle, running with his kids, and, later in life, participated in ballroom and square dancing for many years. Once his running days were over, he joined his local race walking club and received the Golden Gate Race Walker 50 mile award.
He is survived by his children: Thomas Edward (Ted) Virts and his wife Charlene; Ellen Elizabeth Brantley and her husband Ron Vitt; Anne Louise Friend and her husband Bill; Jay Vincent Virts and his wife Nancy; stepdaughters Donna Dobbs and Juanita Wilson; stepson Joey Renales; and several nieces, nephews and grandchildren. His daughter, Maureen Justina Virts, and stepson, Theodore Renales, preceded him in death.
He was devoted to his family and stepchildren and their families, his sweet dog Lovey, and his men’s group. Although dementia eventually took its toll, his inclusiveness, his empathy for others, his gregarious spirit, and his sharp wit was with him til the end.
Samuel Virts will be interred at a private service in Santa Clara.
Friends are cordially invited to his celebration of life on December 21, from noon til 4 pm at the Community Center, 276 E. Napa St., Sonoma, CA. Lunch will be served. Please wear joyous colors! Those who would like to share a story about Sam and how he touched your life will be encouraged to do so at the celebration. Anyone who would like to send stories ahead of time so we can post them on a bulletin board at the event can email them to Ellen Brantley at email@example.com.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that charitable donations be made to:
Hospice by the Bay