Samuel D. Fithian
Sam grew up in Millville in southern New Jersey surrounded by loving parents and grandparents. His grandfather was a building contractor and also had a small farm. Sam enjoyed many of the activities on the farm and began helping when he was young. He also helped his grandfather and father on building projects and learned he needed to do something well or settle for some discipline.
He joined the Boy Scouts at an early age and, again through excellent leadership, found that when you do something it must be done well. He was active in a local troop and summer camp and was on the staff during his high school years teaching swimming and first aid. He was a good role model for his younger brother and sister, Roger and June.
He was in high school during World War II and made the decision to become a Marine. After serving for a year, he and Charlotte were married and moved to Norfolk where Sam was stationed on a carrier, the USS Corral Sea. While there the ship made a cruise from Annapolis to the Mediterranean. On the cruise, he served at the very disciplined post of being the Admiral’s orderly.
After his enlistment was over he returned home and planned to enter college but the Korean War had begun. In six months he was recalled and after a short time was flown out to serve in Korea.
He attended Springfield College in Springfield, MA, with a major in Group work and Personnel Relations. He also took courses not included in that major but ones he felt would be helpful in the future. He worked as a Regional Representative for the Boy Scouts in the Jersey City area. Having been a Christian for many years, while there he made a public profession of Faith by Baptism.
After a time he felt he could help more in the Marine Corps. He reenlisted with the promise of a commission after four years .During that time, he took courses in Business Law at East Carolina College while stationed at Camp Lejeune and Cherry Point, NC.
After our son, Todd, was born Sam decided to take advantage of a job offer in industry. His job was in personnel with the glass industry which took our family to Streator, IL. He worked in Streator for 15 years until he was transferred to Chicago Heights where he was Personnel Director. While in Illinois he was active in the church, serving on various boards while being a loving and caring father to Todd and husband to Charlotte.
In 1985 the Chicago Heights plant downsized along with the rest of the company and Sam took early retirement. He began counseling for a Chicago Rehabilitation Hospital; a place where he had sent employees over the years who needed help with addiction.
Even though he was serving the Lord and active in the church, he felt the Lord wanted us to go into missions. After taking an introductory course with Wycliffe Bible Translators, we felt we should join their ministry and came to the International Linguistics Center to serve for 30 years. For 11 years he was the Center’s Personnel Director. During that time he had three short term field trips to Guatemala and a reverse furlough to Australia to help advise management in personnel matters in an Australian regional office and also in Papua New Guinea. He returned to the International Linguistics Center after that where he served as Safety Director and developed programs to be used there at the ILC even after retiring.
He was preceded to Heaven by his son, Todd Samuel, his parents, Samuel Grassman and Sophie Harris Fithian, and his brother, Roger Dallas. He is survived by his wife of 72 years, Charlotte, sister June Marie Mitchell (John), sister-in-law Judy Cranmer Fithian, and several specially loved nieces and nephews, cousins, and very close loving friends.
Gifts in memory of Sam Fithian may be given to: International Linguistics Center, Moody Radio, or Paralyzed Veterans of America. For ILC gifts please make checks payable to SIL with preference for “Night Watch Communications Project.”
International Linguistics Center, Key 120
7500 W. Camp Wisdom Road
Dallas, TX 75236
Paralyzed Veterans of America
801 Eighteenth Street NW
Washington, DC 20006-3517
820 N. LaSalle Blvd
Chicago, IL 60610