1980 – 2015

HOPE — Samuel “Big Sam” J. Whitley, 34, was killed in an accident Tuesday, Oct. 20, while working aboard the Pacific Santa Ana, an oil-drilling ship.

He was born in Farmington on Nov. 16, 1980, the son of Lisa Whitley. Sam attended Oxford Hills High School and graduated from Sacopee Valley High School. He was an excellent athlete and played football and baseball and ran track. His first job was working at Stone Ridge Restaurant and Tavern in Cornish, where his mother, Lisa, was the chef.

On Sept. 29, 2002, Sam married the love of his life, Stacy Marie Brown of Hope. The love that Sam and Stacy shared was an inspiration for all who knew them. Bill and June Brown welcomed him warmly into their large and wonderful family. Sam first went to sea as a sternman, working out of Tenants Harbor. He then became a business owner of One Stop Construction, until he joined Pacific Drilling last January.

Sam, Stacy and their three children, Brayden, Tessa and Tucker, enjoyed a very active and blessed life together. His passions were watching his children play sports, big Feener camping trips, Whitley Weekends, large family barbecues, many cornhole tournaments and the Feener Pride Family Softball Team. His children remember well his great strength and his ability to make everyone feel safe.

Sam excelled at being a husband and father and his family was the light of his life. He was known for his sheepish grin, soft heart, wry wit and chest-crushing hugs. He was greatly loved and respected in his church and community of Hope. His words of wisdom, love of Jesus and abundant love for all helped many. Never realizing that he was blessed with “movie-star good looks,” he remained humble and shy.

Sam was predeceased by his mother, Lisa Whitley; and his grandfather, Bob Whitley.

He is survived by his loving wife, Stacy; and his children, Brayden, Tessa and Tucker; his grandmother, Dennise Whitley and husband, Barry Allen, of Norway; his sister, Bailey Holloway and her fiance, Cooper Eells, of Portland; his uncle, Mark, and aunt, Michele, and their children, Brenna and Connor of South Hampton, N.H., and his uncle, Patrick Dullea of Portland; Stacy’s parents, Bill and June Brown of Hope; brother-in-law, James and wife, Heidi Brown, of Warren and their children, Hailie and Colton; as well as many aunts, uncles and cousins.

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