Cover photo for Samuel Edward Galloway's Obituary
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Samuel Edward Galloway

June 2, 1947 — April 21, 2024

Samuel Edward Galloway

   We bid farewell to a great, honest, compassionate, amazing and wonderful man.  In the two years preceding his passing, he battled several forms of cancer.  While he fought hard and without complaint, he left us too soon.. He is survived by his adoring wife Phyllis, his children/stepchildren Jennifer (Michel), Kevin (Karina), Nicolette (Jean-Philippe), Garrett (Lacey), and Sean (Christine), grandsons Kai, Tiger, and Bear,  brothers Larry and Jim, brothers-in-law Scott and Allen, nephew Kealan, and father-in-law Jerry. 

   Sam was truly a Renaissance Man, but his humble nature meant his talents were only brought to light in the most genuine ways.   He shared these with everyone only when the time presented itself naturally. He was never boastful, but rather enthusiastic about sharing his interests. 

   Sam was a lover of visual arts, whether photography or illustration. With his Olympus OM-1, he experimented with different shooting, darkroom, and editing techniques to create interesting and unique images for the time period. In illustration, he would often sketch realistic sci-fi landscapes on legal pads, illustrate scenes from our lives, and more. He passed these passions on to his children: Jennifer with her aptitude in lifelike portraiture, Kevin with photography and sketches, and Sean who has made a career out of illustration.   

   Music was also a big part of his life: playing guitar, singing, and playing in a band named “Finders Keepers” during college. His favorite pastime was strumming on one of his guitars, whether solo or with family and/or friends. He was a master at playing by ear, and any song he heard, he was able to play almost immediately. Again, he shared these interests with those around him, especially his children, with whom he would participate in family jam sessions. One of Jennifer’s fondest memories of Sam’s love of music was when we had visited our family in Tennessee, everyone participated in a fam-jam with CCR’s “Proud Mary” as the song of choice. Aside from playing music, he also had a very eclectic taste in the music he listened to. It didn’t matter if it was classic compositions from Tchaikovsky, energetic melodies of Buckwheat Zydeco, mellow harmonies of Enya, cool rhythms of John Coltrane, or the cerebral themes of Pink Floyd, he loved and appreciated it all. This love and appreciation lives on in those around him, with a particularly strong impact on Jennifer and Kevin. Like Sam, Jennifer and Kevin both play musical instruments, guitar/piano and trombone/euphonium, respectively. Despite diverging in the instruments his kids chose, Sam was always supportive, encouraging, and ultimately their number one fan. 

   If there’s one major aspect of Sam everyone is sure to remember, it’s how lighthearted and terribly hilarious he was. He was an expert storyteller and would have any who listened nearly in tears with his way of describing things. His wit and cleverness meant he always had a quip, joke, or subtle commentary that could brighten even the darkest situations. Wordplay, situational comedy, and improvisation were strongpoints of his personality. His positivity and light-heartedness were inexplicably contagious. 

   What’s a Renaissance Man without an intense thirst for knowledge? Being the first of his family to attend college at the University of Tennessee, it was already apparent at that age how important it was for him to continuously learn and improve. Majoring in Civil Engineering meant significant amounts of studying in difficult subjects like Calculus and Physics. Beyond his formal education, he continued to learn through reading, traveling, and interacting with others. Even in the immediate days prior to his passing, he was actively participating in mentally stimulating activities: Wordle, studying Chinese, and continuing his attempt at finishing his self-imposed quota of books. Beyond surface level topics, he was also immensely interested in learning about different cultures as well as spiritual, religious, and political ideologies. As he often professed to his kids, enlightenment was critical to making good choices and to better understand and appreciate the differences between us. 

   During his time with us, he also encouraged treating everyone with respect, kindness, and compassion. He felt this was especially true for strangers, because one doesn’t always know what trials others are facing. He never felt like kindness was weakness, and instead valued it as strength. If you ask anyone who ever met Sam, it’s likely they will all share similar, but unique, experiences in which he impacted their lives positively.    To know Sam was to love him.   Phyllis always said that her mother loved him more than her, and that was Ok. 

There wasn’t a mean bone in his body, and his intentions were always pure, not performative. Sam genuinely cared about everyone with whom he crossed paths, even if it was not reciprocated. One of the biggest lessons Sam taught his kids was to never go to sleep angry, because it’s uncertain whether you’d be there for one another the next day. 

   It’s no secret that Sam is a hero. He served in the United States Air Force for over 20 years, retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, with a storied career that included rescue missions.  He was awarded many service medals, including the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross.   Despite his selfless participation, he was one of the most humble people you’d have ever met. When he would receive praise from anyone, ranging from his family and friends to his students, to high level military personnel, he would say “I was just doing my job.  The real heroes are the ones who didn’t make it home.”  He made lifelong friends in the Air Force with whom he would keep close ties. 

   Sam never stopped being Sam. In his final days, he was still filled with humor, and did his very best to assure his loved ones he would be fine. Even after his consciousness was slipping, when told that we loved him, he responded “Love ya!”. This is a true testament to how loving a man he was. 

 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” - Carl Sagan 

  Sam absolutely was a shining star.   Though his presence is sorely missed, Sam will live on eternally in our hearts and minds as he is returned to the universe.   


   Sam loved trees  (www.alivingtribute.org)  

   He remained faithful to his Brothers-in-Arms.  Contributions in Sam’s memory to Special Operations Warrior Foundation  (www.speccialops.org)  or Albuquerque Fisher House (abqfisherhouse@va.gov)  

 

 Celebration of Sam's Life will be held at a later date. 


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