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1987-2009 JSam Communications
unless otherwise noted

 

 

Family Tributes

from the immediate family of
Dr. A. Dain Samples

John Wayne Samples,
Indianapolis, Indiana
Dain's brother

My Dad tells a story of when he was preparing to speak a few years ago. A preacher friend of his looked at his notes and said, "Are you afraid?"
My dad says, "Yes, I am."
His friend said,
"If I had to speak from notes like that I'd be afraid, too."
So...
(there is laughter as he holds up two pages of scribbles) 
please bear with me.

I also tried to make this short, then I decided... NOT! (laughter)

Dain, many years ago, was an actor. I loved that about him. I tried to emulate that, and in recent years as I have tried to do it some more, I began to realize the difference between Dain and I is that
he was an acTOR, and I was acTING. There is a difference.

Dain has played his final role, and today I am playing my hardest role.

[I think Dain would appreciate this service today, because he always loved playing to a packed house.]

Speaking of acting, there were three movies... As I'm sorting through this... As I got the news... I spent a long time in a car driving back here from Nebraska on Wednesday so I had a lot of time to do a lot of sorting. For some reason three movies just kept coming back. They were the first three movies my brother ever took me to see after he got his drivers license. In fact, as I think about it, it may be the only three movies he took me to see. Two of them make sense and the third one I wasn't so sure about:

Romeo & Juliet. Dain loved Shakespeare, and he was a romantic. And he loved Romeo & Juliet.

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. It was the first time since we were just children that I saw Dain cry. And the first time as a 13 or 14 year old adolescent I considered that perhaps it's okay for teenagers to cry. And every tear that comes out today makes me think of Dain telling me it's okay to do that.

The third one was a little more difficult. Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid. (laughter) And I'm thinking, "Why is this significant? Why is this haunting me here today?" I got to the point where I remembered how hard he laughed at the cliff scene. Jumping over the cliff... (laughter) You've seen the movie.
[He had] a wonderful laugh.

And then this morning, as I'm leaving Cincinnati, the raindrops were falling all over the windshield, and I thought, "That's the significance. Raindrops keep falling on our heads."

I never went to Dain for much advice. We had a wonderful relationship, but I just never went to anybody for much advice. But Dain gave me two pieces of advice as I was growing up and I'm not sure why I remember them. I'm pretty sure he's not the only one that ever gave me these pieces of advice, but he's the only one I remember doing it because he was very specific and pointed. I'm not going to tell you what the situation was, but he got right in my face one day and he says, "John Wayne, you don't put other people down for their ignorance." And a few months later, in a similar situation, he says, "You don't build yourself up at other people's expense."

Those two things have just been so important to me as I've grown up.
And it was Dain's unsolicited advice that I credit that to.

And I felt a little guilty [driving back] that my big brother was gone and I really hadn't spent much time seeking his counsel and his advice overtly. Then I realized that there have been three times in my life when I've had life-changing types of trials. The first two times, Dain was the first one I called.
But he's not here to call this time.

Dain loved to debate. Is that a surprise to any of you students? He loved to debate. [We would debate everything from theology, to which hole to crawl through when we were trying to find our way out of a cave. When you're 300 feet under the ground and you don't know which way to go, those debates can get pretty theological themselves.]

There was a time when I thought he just liked to argue for the sake of arguing, then a few years ago I realized, no, he likes to debate because he learns when he debates. It wasn't until a few years ago that I realized that winning the debate wasn't even what was terribly important to him. As long as you could convince him he was wrong with empirical evidence, and all those other words he would use. If you could convince him he was wrong and he saw the error of his ways, he enjoyed that. He enjoyed learning so much that losing the debate was secondary.

The last debate we had, and I guess this gets back to the raindrops on the windshield this morning -- I hadn't made that connection -- the last debate we had was five or six miles down the road from here at the Hearthstone Restaurant down by Metamora last Christmas. We were debating: Does the speed of the car effect how wet the windshield gets? (laughter)

{Bobbi adds, "For an hour and a half!"} (more laughter) For an hour and a half Dain and I were going nose to nose on this and I had it figured out and he had it figured out and after an hour and a half -- Bobbi's been sitting over there taking it all in -- and she says, "You know, I think you're forgetting this factor." I have forgotten the details now, but she throws that in and I'm going, "Yeah, okay, Bobbi." And Dain goes, "She's right!" He gets out his pencil and his calculator and he starts saying, "She's absolutely right!" And he got all excited. He did not mind being shown he was wrong. He enjoyed it.

Back in Dain's days as a preacher, we had theological debates on issues such as once-in-grace-always-in-grace, the necessity of baptism, women's roles in the church -- just little things like that. (laughter) In more recent years, our debates have become more... significant. Sometimes more...painful. The debates have been more about essence of life issues as Dain has investigated some different paths.

No matter what the issue was, Dain never hid his opinions from me. He never expected me to hide my opinions from him. And I deduce from that -- and many other things -- that he was a man of immense integrity. I loved him deeply, and he is one of the few people I have known in my life for which there has never been a question that he loved me. But as many of you know, our views of the hereafter have not been the same for many years. Now, I need to go back to something ...

Dain had a look that I will never forget as long as I live. Whenever he would discover a new truth, and I know you students have seen this look, whenever he had been convinced that he had been wrong, his eyes would open wide, his forehead would disappear into his hairline, he would always do something with his hands, and he would grin this toothy grin that was just infectious.

If I could be so presumptuous today, I'm going to claim victory in our final debate about the afterlife. Because, if I'm right, the last couple of days have seen a lot of reconciliation on the golden streets.

And, my guess is, there's a new grin infecting half of heaven!

Thank you.

**********

John C. Samples

If Dain were here, I would begin by saying... Well, because he would appreciate the humor of it, I would begin by saying, 'Dain was not perfect; he took after his mother's side of the family'. (laughter) Those who know his mother see the obvious humor in that. Or, maybe it's those who know me see the obvious humor in that. (more laughter)

No, he wasn't perfect, but you know, today the flaws are invisible. And as a tribute to Dain, I want you to see him through a proud father's eyes.

Dain was a scholar. I want to share with you some of the things I saw in my son. He was a scholar; always reading. You seldom saw him that he did not have a book, either in his hands, or not more than an arm's length away. It was true from childhood.

One of our favorite family stories is when he found Joyce's book on nursing obstetrics and promptly wanted to know, how did we get in there in the first place? (laughter) He got a direct answer.

Dain was a musician. Taught himself to play. He could play a decent piano; even enjoyed the classics. And he loved all forms of music, except two: country and western. (laughter)

Dain was a thinker. He was a thinker. Something else he learned from his mother's side of the family. I remember in the first grade he heard a rumor about Santa Claus. And he thought about that and he came home and he said, "Mom, I just want to ask... " Mother. He called her Mother. "I want to ask you straight out, and I want a straight answer. Is there a Santa Claus or isn't there?" And she said, "You asked for a straight answer, the answer is 'No', there isn't." And she was prepared for the disappointment and the tears and the frustration. He simply said, "S-s-h-h-e-e-w-w. I'm glad to hear that." And she said, "Why?" He said, "I would have been embarrassed the first Christmas after I got married to have my wife think I was looking for Santa Claus." (laughter) Hey, that's thinking for a first grader. His whole life he was thinking.

Dain was a philosopher. His graduate minor was in philosophy. He knew the philosophers and their philosophies. He was fascinated by the ability of the mind of man to think, to reason and to discover. John Wayne talked about the debates and discussions they had; we had them, too.

And I remember one time I asked him to make me a promise that he would always be intellectually honest, and he kept it.

Dain was somewhat of a multi-linguist, too. Not that he was conversant in many languages, but he could read several languages. He was fascinated by the study of words and languages: Russian, German, French Spanish, and he'd even dabbled in a little Japanese.

Pastor/Minister. Maybe, some of you may not be aware of that. Dain pastored a little church near Fowler, Indiana for a period of time.

Father. I am proud of the father Dain was. It was a dream fulfilled for him. You should have seen him when he came in from the University of Cincinnati at night. Uh, sometimes very late -- as I speak to the department chair. (chuckle) You should have seen his face light up when those two little guys came running through the house with their arms outstretched, their faces lit up with joy.

One of the most memorable scenes about Dain and his fatherhood that comes to mind is... I went upstairs one evening and he was sitting at his computer up there just working as hard as he could work. And on his shoulders was one of the little guys -- must have been about three or four months of age at the time -- with a belt around the little guys' back and fastened around Dain's forehead (laughter). He's working on the computer while tears of joy were running down his cheeks. I'll never forget that scene. He was a good father.

And then another scene I like to remember is when he would sit at the piano and play some of the tunes he loved to play, and these two little guys sitting on the piano bench on either side of him just banging away on the keys. Didn't bother Dain. He was just drifting across the keys in his own little world.

Professor/Teacher. This was his dream. This was his goal. This he worked for. And you may or may not know, he had opportunity to take much higher paying positions in industry, but he turned them down and moved to Cincinnati to do what he dreamed of and longed to do.

Son. My wife and I could tell you many stories about what a great son Dain was. Dain and I shared a love for laughter. A great love for life. A great love for discussions. And we had differences of opinion. Sometimes, major differences. But we always had deep honor and respect for one another.

Most always on parting, and many times on being reunited, Dain and I kissed.

You see, I loved my son.

He was a husband. And probably the most significant thing I can say about his ability to be a husband, was his ability to pick a wife.

I've talked a lot about his accomplishments and achievements, but you don't know about the odds and obstacles he had to overcome to get there; they were many: financial and physical. And his mother and I claim a lot of credit for the foundations that were laid, but I want to tell you something -- I want all of you to know this -- it was his wife Pat who enabled him. It was his wife Pat who urged him. It was his wife Pat who proved to be the wife that he thought she would be and pushed him on to achieve and accomplish and become.

Finally, I want to tell you this: He was a man. Decent, good, kind, gentle, hard working, creative, loving and intelligent.

Perfect? No, because he took after his mother's side of the family. (laughter)

**********

Joyce E. Samples
Joyce E. Samples
Dain's mother
(assisted by Dain's sister-in-law, Bobbi Samples)
{After some coercion, Joyce joins Bobbi at the podium.}

Joyce: I have asked Bobbi to read what I wrote to say to you all today because
I know I would never get it out.

Bobbi: It is my honor to read the words of this wonderful, gracious, loving lady...

To all our dear, dear family who have made that special effort to be here to pay tribute to our son, Dain, I say thank you for coming. I thank you for your loving support during this most difficult time of our life; we are truly blessed by your presence. We have been overwhelmed by your gracious outpouring of love and concern for us and yet why should we be so surprised when Christians do what Christians do best. I have chosen this way to express my feelings to my family, so please indulge me.

To my husband, John, my best friend, my counselor, and my lover, I say: We have traveled many miles together over the last 43 years, and that journey has not been without its rough rocky spots. So rough at times that it seemed impossible to continue, but our determination to preserve what is right and good has brought us to this day.

Today we walk the rockiest, and seemingly the most impassable road by far -- we've lost our first-born son. For reasons we do not understand, we are left behind to ponder the events of the past four days. And, yes, we even question the untimely death of our son Dain, who gave us so much joy.

Today, we are faced with the biggest challenge of our life. That challenge requires that we keep on walking and that we walk straight and stand tall as we continue this journey of life. Dain is a good example of tenacity and courage, so our tribute to him must be one of boldness and valor.
So, keep walking, honey; I'm right by your side.

To my son, John Wayne: I say you, too, have been the source of much joy and happiness in my life. You have been given a challenge also. One that will be difficult to meet, and your hurt and anger will be hard to overcome. But because of your faith in God, and the wonderful memories you have with your brother, you will endure your loss, for God is with you each minute and each hour of every day. So, when you feel that life is unfair and too hurtful to bear, just reach out and touch the hand of the one that will sustain you in your grief.

To my sweet daughter, Bobbi: I say you are too precious to me.

BOBBI: I skipped over the words "daughter-in-law" not because I didn't see them, but because I have never felt such.

I wish for you all the happiness that you can glean from sharing your life with my son, John Wayne. Thank you for being a part of this family. You too will miss Dain. I know you will be sensitive to the needs of your little family as they mourn the loss of Dain.

To Shayne, my grandson: I pray that you will always be the sensitive person you are today, and I hope that you never experience so much hurt the rest of your life as you have seen the past four days, but if you do, may you handle it with the same spirit of love and affection as you have these past four hard days.

To my granddaughter, Mandi: What can I say to you except that I love you. You're a wonderful girl with a sweet, sweet spirit and a strong faith that will give you strength for the days ahead. Your Uncle Dain loved you and was happy that you are his namesake [Mandi Alain]. As you cope with his death, please wear his name proudly because he was proud of you.

To Galen and Ehren, my grandtwins: How sweet you are and oh how much pleasure you have given your daddy in the last fourteen months. Grandmother thinks you are the cutest pair she has ever seen and I find so much happiness in sharing your life. But my greatest joy comes when I remember the words of your daddy when he said, "My life is fulfilled and my joy is complete because of my babies Galen and Ehren." Each day he would say, "I love them more than I did yesterday." And he did. Your daddy died loving you more than life itself. Someday, my babies, you will understand what that kind of love means.

To my daughter-in-law, Pat: <to my daughter Pat:> There are no words that I can say that will take away the pain you feel this day. There is nothing I can do that can wipe away the fear you feel in your heart for the future. But I want to say to you before all these people that I love you because you loved my Dain. But I also love you for who you are, a woman of courage and determination to do the right thing. You can do it -- God never turns his back on his children.

To my son Dain: How can I face tomorrow without you? For so many years we were miles and miles apart and had little opportunity to get to know each other well. Then after seventeen years you moved fifteen minutes away and I have enjoyed our times together so very much. I discovered what a warm, tender, sensitive person you really were. I found so much joy in sharing your life with your little babies for whom you waited so long. We have laughed and we have cried together and that created a bond between us that is so strong not even death can destroy.

But now you are gone and there is no way to describe the emptiness I feel inside. A part of me has died also. But as your dad and I continue to walk this lonely road together, we will spot a rose every now and then that will remind us all over again that you are forever with us in spirit and memory -- and nobody can take that away from us.

Now, you have met your God, and you have met your Papadaddy, and I'm confident that you have the answers to every question you have posed in the past years. I love you, Son, and I'll love and help care for your sweet babies, telling them every day of your deep abiding love for them. So, now I say to you my sweet son -- thank you for the wonderful memories.

BOBBI: Those were Joyce's words. I can't speak for Dain, he's gone. But I can say without hesitation, that I know that Dain would be saying right here and now, not thanks to him, but thank you, Mom, for your unquestioning and undying love and devotion to him.

**********

Patricia A. Samples
Patricia A. Samples
Dain's wife

I've been before many an audience, many a loving audience, but I don't think I've felt quite the love I feel here today. Except from my husband, Dain Samples.

I didn't write it because I couldn't sit down for the last four days. Couldn't get off the phone because I couldn't stop answering it for myself.

Dain loved in a way I've yet to understand entirely, and your being here is a demonstration of that, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart, for your love and your appreciation of such a great man as my husband. He loved his family, he loved life, he loved his sons, and his wife, and his friends, deeply.

He had a passion for thinking, and learning, and being, which is what led him to want and desire and work eight hard, torturous years to get there... to become an assistant professor at UC. He was proud to be a colleague of many of you, and a teacher and a friend.
His greatest love was his students, his teaching.

We've made a memorial table to just begin to scratch the surface on the kind of person that Dain was. He was truly, in my opinion, a Renaissance man. One who cared and thought and looked at life and the world as something new to learn every single day. Nothing bored him at all. He did carry a book with him at all times, and was never without a German dictionary, which he taught himself to speak.

I could go on forever, but I think I'll quit. Thank you for everything.
For your on-going love and support.
For being here today, and being in our lives.

 

 

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