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F’ville’s Ferrol Sams, 90, dies Jan. 29

Fayetteville physician and author Ferrol Sams, Jr., died Jan. 29, 2013. He was 90.

Affectionately known by his family and friends as “Sambo,” Sams, along with his wife, Helen, began a landmark medical practice in Fayetteville after he graduated from Emory University in Atlanta in 1949.

Relatively late in life, the doctor became a published writer. Sams has written eight books, including a trilogy of works featuring Porter Osborne, Jr., a character who appears to be largely based on Sams himself. Sams’s writing draws heavily on Southern storytelling tradition.

“Run With The Horsemen” was Sams’ first book, published in 1982 when he was 60. In 1991, Sams was awarded the Townsend Prize for Fiction for his publication of “When All The World Was Young.”

Sams’s works of fiction developed from the act of writing his own memoirs of growing up in rural Fayette County, Ga., for his posterity. His works are generally set during the Depression and feature several eccentric characters.

Sams has been the subject of several community reading programs: “Run with the Horsemen” was chosen as the 2006 Atlanta Reads selection, and “Down Town” was selected for the 2007 Gwinnett Reads by the Gwinnett County Public Library.

His published works include the following: “Run with the Horsemen” (1984), “The Whisper of the River” (1986), “The Widow’s Mite” (1989), “Christmas Gift!” (1991), “When All the World Was Young” (1992), “Epiphany” (1995), “The Passing: Stories” (2001), “Down Town” (July 2007).

Ferrol Aubrey Sams, Jr. (Sept. 26, 1922 - Jan. 29, 2013) was an American physician and novelist born in Fayette County, Ga., U.S.A.

Sams was born to Mildred Matthews and Ferrol Aubrey Sams, Sr. The younger Sams lived in a house built by his great-grandfather. He married Helen Fletcher on July 18, 1948, who was also a physician.

Sams’ medical career started at Mercer University in Macon, Ga., which he graduated from in 1942. He then attended Emory University School of Medicine for only one semester, and then joined the United States Army Medical Corps. After serving from 1943 to 1947 and seeing action in France, Sams returned to Emory to continue his medical studies. He received his M.D. in 1949. Both Sams and his wife, Helen, practiced medicine in Fayette County until they retired in 2006.

Sams has four children: Ferrol Aubrey Sams, III, James (Jim) Sams, Ellen (Sams) Nichol, and Fletcher Sams. Ferrol, III and Jim are both medical doctors and practice in Fayette County. Ellen is a hospital administrator where her brothers practice and Fletcher is a Fayette County superior court judge.

Funeral plans were not available at press time.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Much of the material above is taken from the online Wikipedia article, “Ferrol Sams.”]



PTC Observer's picture

We are a poorer community with the passing of this gentle man, God Bless his soul.

Prayers to the family.

I had the honor of meeting the gentleman one afternoon at the hospital. Following the meeting one of the administrators provided a short narrative about the man. That evening I researched him on the net and was amazed with his history and what he gave back to the people of FC. I am glad to have met him.

I ran into him several times after our inteoduction, and he always greeted me kindly and had nice things to say.

FC surely lost a good person and my condolences to the family.

highflyer2's picture

If this man couldn't heal you with medicine, he would heal you with his humor! One of the finest men I ever had the pleasure of meeting!
Godspeed Sambo

Sambo was a great doctor and a fine man. I loved his books, especially how his faith and love of family shone through. I kept waiting for him to write how Porter found his "Helen". What a good story that would have been!

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