Samuel Edward Washington was born December 18, 1925, in Stockton, AL, to the late John Edward Washington and Emma Thomas Washington. He was the eldest of their three children. His siblings included sister, Marjorie Andrews and brother, Jeffery Washington. He was a devoted member, Sunday School Teacher and Deacon of Bethlehem Baptist Church, where he regularly attended service until health problems limited his participation.
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Sam was drafted into the US Navy where he proudly served during World War II. His decorations included the American Area Campaign Ribbon and the Victory Ribbon. After the war ended, he attended Alabama State University, earning his Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Education and a Minor in English. During his collegiate years, he played in the ASU Marching Band, as well as the Bama State Collegians Big Band, which also included his brother (Jeffery), as the group’s vocalist. While at ASU, he met a young lady named Mildred Robertson, but it wasn’t until they began working together at Vaughn Elementary School that they began dating and were married in 1952. Through this union, two sons, Terrence and Craig, were born.
Sam went on to earn his Master of Science Degree in Education from the University of South Alabama. An avid musician and educator, he shared his talent with and taught many students over his 36 year teaching career, culminating with his retirement in 1987. He was a keen jazz enthusiast who would often be heard practicing and playing melodic jazz riffs on his trumpet. His musical prowess touched his children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and hundreds of students throughout the years. If you grew up in Samuel Washington’s house, or if you were a young family member, there is no doubt that you would learn to play a musical instrument, whether you wanted to or not. By the age of 10, a trumpet, saxophone, drum sticks, or piano would be placed in front of you and he would begin teaching the next class of future musicians. He was the Band Director for the preeminent Douglasville High School Marching Blue Devils and Bay Minette Middle School Band, where he stayed until retirement. In his later years, he periodically played trumpet in the E.B. Coleman Big Band.
Often considered the life of the party, he evoked laughter and put other people at ease with his humor. Known for his kind smile, infectious laughter, and giving heart, Sam would not hesitate to help others. He had a very generous spirit, often lending financial assistance to family, friends, and strangers, in need. He was a member of the Rho Alpha Chapter of Omega Psi Phi and Douglasville Masonic Lodge 945, as well as the Merry Makers Social Club.
Sam lived a full life and transitioned into the afterlife peacefully, at W.F. Green Veterans Home, surrounded by family, friends, and caretakers. He is survived by Mildred, his wife of nearly 67 years; his sons, Terrence and Craig (Charrisa) Washington; brother, Jeffery Washington; two devoted sisters-in-law, Clementine (William) Andrews and Mary Robertson; four grandchildren, Meagan (Darius) Peace, Melissa (Jelani) Newton, Margeaux Washington, and Micah Washington.
He was also blessed with nine Great Grandchildren, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
He will lie in state from 2pm-8pm, August 5, 2019 at Small’s Mortuary. Funeral services will be held Tuesday, August 6, 2019 at 11:00, Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church. Interment will follow in the Alabama State Veterans Memorial Cemetery at 1:30 PM.