Football
Official Obituary of

Sam H. Mack

August 27, 1940 ~ January 14, 2024 (age 83) 83 Years Old

Sam H. Mack Obituary

Sam H. Mack found eternal peace at his Tarpon Springs, FL home on January 14, 2024, after many years of complicated health issues.

Growing up in a close knit Greek family, Sam cherished his loved ones and community. His days in Tarpon Elementary and Tarpon High Schools further strengthened his devotion to his town and many forever friends. Sam was a multi-sport Sponger and the football MVP his senior year. He was also the Epiphany Cross Retriever in 1959.

Sam graduated from the University of Florida (BSIE '63) where he played football on scholarship and was a Sigma Nu fraternity brother. It was during this time that he met and married his wife, Connie. She will always remember their dates – each beginning with Sam at her door holding a red Camellia he had picked on the way.

In 1963, Sam started his engineering career at DuPont (Virginia). In 1965, he began his 35-year career with General Electric which became Martin-Marietta/Lockheed-Martin (Florida and Missouri). He held various Quality Control Engineering positions dealing with the manufacturing of nuclear weapon components. During these years, many co-workers became wonderful life-long friends. Retirement only deepened their bond, providing more time for weekly breakfasts and occasional adventures. Sam was an ASQC and a Registered Professional Engineer. He also maintained his Real Estate license.

Sam had a great appreciation of sports and the positive impacts they had had on his life. When coaching Little League, he always made sure that everyone had the opportunity to play – hoping to instill the values of hard work and determination, team work, good sportsmanship and friendship.

In 1992 his dream came true - he returned to his hometown to live on the water and re-connect with his old friends. He loved his morning meet-ups with the guys to talk about all things Tarpon and beyond and reminisce about the good old days. He also enjoyed Sponger football games, Tarpon Commissioners meetings and taking part in Epiphany parades. It seemed everywhere Sam went he ran into someone he knew and they exchanged Tarpon’s traditional greeting - “Hey Ray!”

Friends could always count on Sam for help – particularly his “expert advice.” He also helped his community. He delivered Meals-on-Wheels, drove the Shepherd Center truck, called BINGO at the local ALF and helped build the Discovery Playground. He was a Tarpon Springs Fine Arts Festival volunteer and Tarpon Springs Historic Society member/volunteer as well as a member of the Odd Fellows. He was also a Republican Executive Committee member and a poll watcher.

Sam was an absolute character with infinite interests. He loved time out on his Whaler with family and friends – swimming, scalloping, floundering and just hanging out on various islands. He was a beekeeper and loved sharing his honey. He had also been an avid racquetball player and jogger. In later years, Sam transitioned to biking and walking. He established a unique birthday tradition: He would walk a mile for each year. As the number rose, friends found him taking breaks on their driveways/sidewalks/etc. - but he always reached his goal. Sam was known for his thriftiness and delighted any time he could save a buck by using his handyman skills - which was most of the time. He was a garage sale fanatic – committed to the hunt for all things collectable (especially cast-iron pans and Tarpon post cards). Sam had a passion for all food (except lima beans) and a love for black pepper - which he put on everything. Friends knew him as a big eater and a tightwad – so it was no surprise when he met the Big Texan Steak Ranch’s Free 72oz Steak Challenge - eating his entire meal in under an hour. His road trips were adventures - providing tales of sleeping on giant rocks in the middle of streams in the bottom of the Grand Canyon, hiking the Appalachian (and other trails) and being joined by a couple of skinny dippers when taking a quick swim in a roadside spring. He loved road trips to anywhere - but he was always especially excited about trips to UF football games where he could tailgate with both friend and foe.

Sam was a Gator F Club member, an UF Alumni member, a Gator Booster, an UF “Golden Greek” award recipient and a Gator season ticket holder. He was devoted to all things Gators - watching/attending any UF athletics and accumulating an enormous collection of memorabilia. He enjoyed keeping in touch with teammates and attending their annual Silver Sixties football reunions. He also took great pride that all his kids were Gator Grads.

Sam loved his family and pets – He loved his friends - and he loved life. He was a fun guy with a hilarious sense of humor and a big, goofy laugh. He had the unique ability to strike up lively conversations with anyone – anytime and anywhere. If you weren’t a friend of Sam’s, you just hadn’t met him yet. Sam will be loved and deeply missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.

Sam is survived by his wife of 62 years, Connie; and their children, Debbie Irwin (of Cairo, GA), Andy Mack (Anna) (of Brevard, NC) and Lisa Mack (of Tarpon Springs, FL); and grandchildren, Rachel McLaughlin (Patryck) (of Havana, FL) and Holland Irwin (of Chalfont, PA); and many, many treasured friends.

A special thank you to all who kept in touch with Sam and his family during these last very difficult years. Your support meant so much and was a true blessing.  We are comforted that Sam is at peace and joyously reunited with loved ones who went before him. We know that he will be standing at the gates to embrace each of us when our times come. Until then we will miss him dearly.

A private service for family was held (Vinson Funeral Home, Tarpon Springs, FL) to honor Sam's life. He was laid to rest beside his father, “China” Nick Mack, in Cycadia Cemetery (Tarpon Springs, FL). Remembrance gifts may be made to the Silver Sixties - Ray Graves Endowment or the Humane Society of Tampa Bay.

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