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Samuel “Sammy” DeFillippo, aged 82, born June 9, 1939 in Brooklyn, New York passed peacefully at his Rio Rancho home the night of Monday, October 25, 2021. Sammy was the eldest of six children, born of Sam and Evelyn DeFillippo. After attending high school in Brooklyn, he joined the army and served his country for 4 years. On his birthday in June of 1963, so he wouldn’t forget his anniversary, he married Jackie Small in front of all his friends and family. Sammy was preceded in death by his parents and his two brothers, Jimmy and Patty. He is survived by his wife, Jackie, children Butch and his wife, Cherie, Ann-Marie, and Duke and his wife, Rachel, his sisters Nancy and husband Arthur, Linda and Rose. His three grandchildren Samantha and husband Brad, Heather and her husband Gary, and Christopher, and fiancée, Brooke and his great-grandchildren Thomas, Ryan, Leigh Ann, Nikolai, Kwintyn, Henrik and Kristov. Sammy was an entrepreneur and started several small businesses, allowing him to retire early and focus on his favorite pastimes, baseball and family.
Many people in early Rio Rancho would see Sammy coaching little league baseball with close friends, teaching a whole generation of kids both the game of baseball and how to be better people. Parents and children loved to be on his teams. His love for the game never ended during his 20,000 plus softball games over 30 years. In 2020, Sammy received the honor of inducted into the USSSA Softball Hall of Fame. On Sundays, until the end of his life, Sammy would still come play Stickball with his friends and family, playing the game that first introduced him to his passion.
His other love was his family. Being the patriarch of a large, close knit group kept Sammy busy. Since moving to Rio Rancho in 1972, Sammy’s front door was always open to his siblings and their families to come over and share time together. His “family first” approach was passed along to his children, and their cousins, and has created a family that remains close to this day. Many of his former players Sammy considered to be “his other kids” and have been in his life since their teens.
He will be missed by all those who knew him. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday, October 30th, starting at 10:30 AM at the Church of the Incarnation at 2309 Monterrey Rd. NE, Rio Rancho NM 87144. If you have a favorite sports jersey, feel free to wear it to the service. Masks will be required and due to COVID concerns, there will not be a reception afterwards, but the family would love to see you at the service.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests you make a donation to your local league baseball district or team. Hold those you love close to you whenever possible.
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