Samuel Wesley Pangburn was born on August 19, 1938 in Oklahoma City, OK to Samuel Lines and Verona Ida (Browning) Pangburn. Sam moved with his family to Alva, OK in 1947 where he attended the Alva Public Schools and graduated with the Class of 1956. He excelled in Goldbug football and basketball, lettering in both sports. While in high school, Sam worked at his family’s restaurant, “Pangburn’s.” With his outgoing personality, he worked the front of the house and waited tables along with his mother.
Sam attended the University of Oklahoma where he was a member of Beta Theta Phi Fraternity. He graduated in 1961 with a BBA and a ROTC Commission in the US Army, serving on active duty between the Korean War and Vietnam War (1961-1963). He was stationed on active duty at Ft. Hood, TX. While at the university, Sam was united in marriage to Carol Massad from Healdton, OK on January 31, 1960. Together, they had three children: Shelley Maurine, Andrea Lee, and Russell Frederick.
After military service, he attended graduate school at George Washington University in Washington D.C. for 2 years, attaining a Masters Degree in Health Care Administration. Upon graduating in 1965, Sam embarked on a successful hospital/health care administration career throughout the United States as well as internationally. These locations took him to Columbia, Missouri as the Assistant Director of the University Medical Center, to San Antonio, TX to become the Associate Administrator of the Methodist Hospital. In 1971, Sam joined the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) of Nashville, Tennessee as the first administrator of West Paces Ferry Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition, he became the group administrator for several hospitals and health centers in central Georgia for HCA.
In late 1982, Sam joined Charter Medical as Vice President and Director of International Health Care Operations in Ridayah, Saudia Arabia. Sam traveled throughout the Middle East as well as Europe, evaluating and directing health care operations, eventually being responsible for three hospitals in Saudia Arabia, Oman, and London, England. During this time, Sam and his wife LaVerne developed and operated the first western owned restaurant in Javea, Alicante, Spain.
In 1986, Sam returned to the United States and continued his career in health care administration with Charter Medical Services. He then joined Summit Health Care based in Burbank, CA, operating and directing hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and clinics throughout southern California. In 1994, he retired from health care and became Principal of a charter high school for troubled juveniles in San Bernardino, CA. He then retired to Palm Springs, CA in 1998 where he resided until 2008.
Sam returned to Alva, OK and married his high school classmate, Betty Jo Bellah, on November 24, 2008. They successfully established Sunflower Associates, a home rental operation, and spent a lot of their time together travelling, going on cruises and enjoying family time together. Upon Betty Jo's passing in 2013, Sam relocated to Grove, OK near Grand Lake. In 2019, he moved to Boise, ID, to be closer to family. Sam was a lifelong learner, known for his intelligence, witty humor, and curious questions. Even in his last years in Boise, ID, he made countless friends whom he spent time with until his passing.
Sam is survived by his three children, Shelly Taylor, Pottsburo, TX; Andrea Koerber, Boise, ID; and Russell (Missy) Pangburn, Laurel, Maryland. Sam's grandchildren are Monica Taylor, Maddy (Ryan) Haines, Sarah Koerber, Mackenzie Koerber (Hunter Griffith), Blake Koerber, Jackie Pangburn, Carolyn Pangburn, and Steven Pangburn. His four great grandchildren are Torree Wingo, James Wingo, Raegn Wingo, and Reece Farmer. Sam's children remained the center of his life and he constantly talked about his love for his large family. Sam was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, John Browning Pangburn.
Memorials in Sam's memory may be made to the First United Methodist Church, Alva, OK or a charity of choice in care of Marshall's Funeral Home, 230 Flynn Street, Alva, OK 73717 (580-327-2311).