Samuel Curtis Christie
Surrounded by family, Samuel Curtis Christie passed away on the 7th day of April, 2013, reuniting in Heaven with his beloved children who predeceased him, a son Steven and a daughter Lisa.
Sam Christie was born in 1925, and raised in Keystone, W.Va., but he spent every summer on the Christie family farm, at Sinks Grove in Monroe County, W.Va. Nothing he ever did in all his 88 years on earth gave him as much joy as the time he spent living and working on the farm, and he remained a farm boy at heart all his life. A high point of each year was going to the West Virginia State Fair in Lewisburg, where he loved to show horses with his daughters Lisa and Amy or attend the draft-horse pulling contest, and to visit friends and family who were part of the farming days of his youth. He was also an avid golfer.
Christie graduated from Welch High School in 1943, and immediately volunteered to serve his country in the U.S. Navy at the height of World War II. On June 6, 1944, D-Day, at the age of nineteen, he found himself on a gunboat just off Utah Beach, serving as a decoy to draw enemy fire so that the gun emplacements on the shore would be revealed to heavier ships offshore for artillery attack. He was later shipped to the Pacific, where he served on a Landing Ship Tank (LST-446) and participated in the invasion of Okinawa. He was training for the invasion of Japan when the atomic bombs forced Japan to surrender and likely saved his life and hundreds of thousands of other American servicemen, as well as Japanese. On V-J Day, he was piloting a small boat in Tokyo Bay just a short distance away from the U.S.S. Missouri, and he witnessed the arrival of the Japanese delegation to sign the surrender treaty.
He married Mary Ruth Hall in 1949 and they were married for 64 years until his death. They had four children, a son Mark, a son Steven, who died in 1975 at the age of 20, a daughter, Lisa Songer, who died in 2004 at the age of 45, and a daughter Amy Hunter, who, along with his wife Mary Ruth, provided loving care for him in his final days. He is also survived by his wife Mary Ruth, age 83, and by his beloved grandchildren, Christie, James and Steven, the children of his daughter Lisa and James Songer of Beckley, and Samuel and Richard, the children of his daughter Amy and Eddie Hunter of Roanoke.
He entered the automobile business in Welch in the 1950s and he and his father-in-law, John R. Hall, jointly owned and operated Hall Chevrolet-Oldsmobile. During the good economic times of the 1960s and ’70s, it was the largest car dealership in McDowell County.
Sam Christie also served on the board of directors of the McDowell County National Bank (now MCNB Banks) for more than 40 years, from 1971 until his death. He eagerly looked forward to attending the board meetings even when his health was failing.
Sam and Mary Ruth Christie moved to the Beckley area in 1975, just after the death of their son Steven, and lived at Glade Springs and on Northwestern Avenue in Beckley until they moved to Roanoke in 2009, to be near their surviving daughter Amy.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, April 20, 2013, at 2 p.m., at the United Methodist Temple, 201 Templeview Drive (just off Robert C. Byrd Drive), Beckley, W.Va., the church Sam attended during most of his years living in Beckley.
His place of final rest will be with his fellow veterans at the Veterans Cemetery in Dublin, Va.
John M. Oakey & Son Funeral Home & Crematory, Salem, Va., is serving the Christie family, 540-389-5441.