Samuel Richard Eckley, 78, passed away December 8th, 2020 after complications from Covid-19 related pneumonia. Sam, as he was known to most people, was a long-time resident of Hope Homes; REM Ohio in Stow Ohio. Sam was born in Akron, Ohio, on July 31st, 1942 to Ralph & Laura Belle Eckley (nee Stevens). Sam was the youngest of seven; five sisters, Laura Belle, Maude, Bertha, Pauline, Blanche; and one brother, James, all deceased.
Sam was born with severe physical disabilities and mild retardation. He wasn’t able to walk until he was 8 years old. After many medical challenges and surgeries later, Sam would not only learn to walk but he’d go on to become a great dancer. Sam was taken in by one of his older sisters and her husband, both the late Maude and her husband Tee Kay Jenkins and lived in Barberton, Ohio for many years. Sam was extremely close with his brother-in-law, Tee kay. Tee Kay was very kind and loving to Sam. Wherever Tee Kay went, Sam was sure to be right there with him.
After Tee Kay’s death, Sam was placed in Hope Home’s (now REM) in Stow, Ohio where he lived for more than 20+ years. It is here where Sam was able to thrive and where Sam lived a life he would have never had the opportunity to live otherwise. He was loved by the staff at his group home and became exceptionally close with many staff over the years. Especially Kathy Avent who treated Sam as her very own family so much so she became a very dear friend to Sam’s family of nieces.
Sam traveled to many places, met many people, and made many friends. There were very few places Sam could go where there wasn’t at least one person who knew him and who would call out a friendly, “Hi Sam!”
Sam worked for Ron Marhofer Chevrolet in Stow, Ohio where he was employed for many years and made close bonds with several co-workers and employees there, especially Lee Anne Bittner. His “friend from Marhofer” as Sam often referred to LeAnne, had a very special place in Sam’s heart.
Sam’s favorite holiday was Christmas. He was sure to not miss the annual Marhofer Chevrolet Christmas Party. Sam lived for these parties and would not make plans with anyone, even his beloved “nieces” whom he adored if it meant it might interfere with his Christmas party.
While the people and friends in Sam’s life were numerous, and Sam had a great affection for them all, Sam had a deep love and special bond with his “nieces” who were actually his great-niece, and five great-grand nieces with whom he would spend many weekend visits and nearly every holiday, and many birthdays with over the years.
Even after his great-niece, Aura moved to FL with three of her five daughters, his great-grandniece Krystan, Aura's daughter, would be sure to get Uncle Sam on holidays and birthdays. The other nieces would come up from Florida to Ohio to visit Sam and spend as much time with him as they could. These visits made Sam the happiest.
In addition to his parents and siblings, Sam is also preceded in death by his niece Eva Mae Jenkins; Sally Ann Rager; nephew Ralph A Jenkins. Great-nephews Bruce Jenkins; Michael T.K Miller, Duneua Parks, and great-niece, Tammy L (nee Jenkins) Klosski
Sam is survived by great-niece, Aura Argante of Palm Beach, FL, and great-grand nieces; Jessica Cassell, Krystan Cortez both of Akron; Amaris Argante, Sienna Argante, and Atirah Argante of Palm Beach, FL. Further survived by nephews, Walt Jenkins (Nancy) of Wadsworth, Robert Anzalone; niece, Donna Anzalone both of Middletown, and many other relatives and friends coast to coast.
Sam will be fondly remembered by family and friends as the sweetest, and most loving and kindest of souls full of love and laughter. He found light and love wherever he was because he was light and he was love. Wherever there is light, love, and laughter in our hearts, there Sam will always be.
A private virtual live-stream memorial to honor Sam’s memory will take place Sunday evening December 27th, 2020 between 6:00 p.m -7:30 p.m in on Facebook groups.
Donations can be made to The Summit County Developmental and Disabilities Board
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