Cover photo for Sam Carl McIlhaney's Obituary
Sam Carl McIlhaney Profile Photo
1939 Sam Carl McIlhaney 2024

Sam Carl McIlhaney

May 19, 1939 — March 2, 2024

Southern Chapel

Sam Carl McIlhaney, writer/historian, was born May 19, 1939 and passed away peacefully in his sleep after a long illness on March 2, 2024 at the age of 84.


Sam was born in Albuquerque New Mexico to Mary Elizabeth Walker McIlhaney and George Truett McIlhaney.


Sam was preceded in death by his Mother, Father, and older sister Barbara McIlhaney.


After growing up in Albuquerque's North Valley and graduating from Albuquerque High School, class of '57,  he moved to the Long Beach California area and worked for Beneficial Finance Company for several years before being drafted by the US Army. After basic training he was sent to a base in Fairbanks, Alaska where he served as a Paymaster for two years.


When he was discharged from the Army, he returned to Albuquerque to work on the family dairy. At that time he met and married Rosemary Padilla and adopted her two children, Felicia and Michael. Later they welcomed two sons, Aaron and Jason.


After their divorce, Sam attended the University of New Mexico where he acquired his teaching degree. While later attending graduate school at UNM he met Patricia Wiese. Three years later they married and then became parents of a daughter, Amber.


He started his teaching career in the Albuquerque Public School system (Washington Jr. High and John Baker) and later taught in Bernalillo, New Mexico where his career of teaching history continued for 17 years. Many former students have said Sam was the best teacher they ever had! 


Sam exuded great pride in anything he was involved in. He escorted a group of students to Europe on several trips to teach them the history of different cultures and ways of life.


He became an excellent historian through his research and teachings and worked hard to make his classes interesting for his students. 


Sam was proud to serve for many years in the Sandoval County Historical Society.


He was a long-time writing contributor to the "Dawg" which is the quarterly newsletter of the Albuquerque High School Alumni Association.


Sam had articles released in several publications which include,  New Mexico Magazine, the Albuquerque Journal, the Dallas Times Herald, Canada's National Coaching Magazine, and many others. 


In 2000, he was honored among other graduates, with the "Outstanding Graduate Award" by the Albuquerque High School Alumni Association.  Since 1986, he has been listed in Who's Who in the US Writers Editors and Poets.


Sam was a proud American and displayed his flag at his home daily.  He loved Country Western music  (not crossover) but the real thing!


He is a member of a pioneer New Mexico family who for many years owned and operated McIlhaney Dairy in the North Valley of Albuquerque.


He is survived by his wife Patricia, daughter Amber Bitakis and husband Chris, grandchildren Bryce and Bree Bitakis, sons  Aaron McIlhaney, Jason McIlhaney, Michael McIlhaney and daughter Felicia McIlhaney. Also his brother Bill and wife Linda, sisters Wanda Gardner (Paul, deceased), Elizabeth McIlhaney, Bonnie McIlhaney- Cifala and husband Michael and many other family members, nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.


Aa a proud UNM alumnus and Lobo a Celebration of Life will be held at the Student Union Building (Santa Ana A/B) on April 14th, 2024 at 2:00 pm.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Sam Carl McIlhaney, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Sunday, April 14, 2024

2:00 - 4:00 pm (Mountain time)

Santa Ana A/B

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