39th Bomb Group (VH)

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Cpl Russell R. Sams
Airplane Power Plant Mechanic

Russell was born July 3, 1924 in Salem, Iowa to Lawrence and Sarabelle Weaver Sams both of whom were ordained Quaker pastors. Russell moved with his parents to several communities throughout Iowa during his formative years, including Liberty, New Sharon, and Arnolds Park.

Russell graduated from High School from Arnolds Park in 1942. Shortly after graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and was trained as a B-17 gunner and later as an aircraft radial engine mechanic. Russell went on to serve as an aircraft mechanic in Guam from 1944 through 1945.

While in the service, Russell became engaged to Mildred Alberta Bundy, his high school sweetheart. Shortly after Russell received his honorable discharge of serving his country, on February 8, 1946, he was married to Mildred Bundy at the Friends Church in Arnolds Park, with the Reverend Lawrence Sams officiating.

Russell and Mildred have 2 sons and 1 daughter; 3 grandchildren.

The couple lived in Oskaloosa while Russ attended Wm. Penn College where he received his BS degree in Chemistry in 1949. Russell attended seminary school at the Drake University Seminary in Des Moines and completed his studies there in 1950. From 1950 to 1954, Russell served as Pastor to the Oak Grove Friends church.

In order to better support his growing family, Russell joined Donaldson Company in 1952 and worked his way up from laborer to plant superintendent by 1966. Russell went on to serve as plant manager at the Cresco, Kirksville, and Grinnell facilities before he retired from Donaldson Company in 1982.

During the winter months Russ and Mildred enjoyed warm weather and fellowship with friends at their home in Mesa. Family, church and community service were very important to Russell.

He enjoyed golf and the friendships that he earned in professional and community activities. Russ achieved the level of 3rd degree Mason.

He was a community leader during his professional career. Russell was president of the Kiwanis organization, served on the Grinnell Federal bank board, was Chairman of the Grinnell Regional Hospital board, was active in the Ambassadors of the Grinnell Chamber of Commerce and was president of the United Way organization in Grinnell and Kirksville, MO.

Russell died on Sunday, April 10, 2005, in his home. He is interned at Hazelwood Cemetery, Ginnell, Iowa.
The above are excerpts from the obituary of Russell R. Sams found on the Smith Funeral Home - web site

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Source: Excerpt from Obit of Russell R. Sams found on