Stories about Sam

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​From:
Mom, Dad & Will

 

Sam Speech read at Sam's Funeral, Saturday, October 27, 2018

 

 

Our son Sam was athletic, intelligent, charismatic, hard working and wise well-beyond his years.  Everyone who knew Sam experienced his kindness and compassion. He was a positive role model for his classmates, teammates, fellow actors and family.  Sam excelled in performance in school, on the stage and on the field. 

 

Sam loved being from a small town.  He felt that his early years in Burnstown set him apart from the other kids.  Before we moved to Toronto, Sam helped rally the staff at the Renfrew Victoria Hospital to film a fun music video and he would sing and dance with us around our home.  One day, while shopping at Sears in the Eaton Centre, a talent agent stopped us and said how Sam would be perfect for TV or movies.

 

His performances on stage in middle school, launched Sam into acting and finding his true self. At Leo Baeck, Sam was in productions of Grease and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  Watching him on stage, you could tell Sam’s acting was just a step beyond the other kids’.   Sam said that being on stage was the best he had ever felt in his life. He didn’t feel anxious or worried and it was everything to him. His natural confidence and flare came through and we all were lucky to see Sam doing what he loved. Grade 10 Drama at NT transformed Sam in front of our eyes.  Ms. Boutilier told us Sam was so gifted and emotionally mature.  He was patient with his co-actors when they were unsure and helped them find their way. She commented that the other actors knew they were emotionally safe to take risks with Sam as their partner.   Many times,  as parents, we experienced Sam as wise beyond-his-years and WE would learn from HIM how to navigate relationships.

 

Sam passionate performances continued on the field.  At the start of grade 9, Sam set a goal  to be on a sports team and he longed to experience the joys of the team environment.  He spoke to a lot of Grade 10 students to find out which team would be the best for him.  They said to consider football because there were so many spots.  However, there was something about the challenge of rugby that he was drawn to. Sam was so happy when he made the rugby team.  That same day, he returned home pleading with us to also join the Toronto Scottish Rugby team outside of school.  We had some hesitations about this,  but Sam was relentless and would ask every day to let him join the Scottish.  Sam was like that. Once he set his mind to something, it was difficult to convince him otherwise.  Sam later recruited heavily for the Scottish to bolster their numbers.  A player posted on facebook acknowledging how Sam’s persistence convinced him to sign up.  Sam was a leader.  People followed him and he worked hard to do what he loved.   Coach Hood thought Sam was a true athlete.  He was able to learn new positions each year.  He says Sam was a joy to work with and looked forward to every practice with Sam’s positive attitude.  His phys.ed. teacher, Mr. Lane, said yesterday, there was no doubt that Sam was the heartbeat of the NT Rugby team.

 

Sam found inspiration in his academic role models.  Mr. Mildon, Sam’s home room and science teacher in grade 9, described Sam as a ‘winner’ and the ’real-deal’.  Ms. Konforte, Sam’s grade 11 accounting teacher, was a common topic around our dinner table.  Sam strived to follow her advice regarding personal finances. He campaigned hard to have his own credit card in order to start earning a good credit rating.  Unfortunately, Sam’s application was rejected because the $500 he earned at Camp Arowhon that summer was not considered adequate income.  And, when we tried to help by adding Sam as a secondary card holder, it did not count towards his personal credit rating.  As expected, upon entering university, Sam was indeed successful at qualifying for his own card.  It was a happy day for Sam.  Mr. Rea recounts Sam getting his lowest mark at the beginning of grade 12 Global Education.  By the end of the year, Sam graduated with the highest mark achieved in that class in the last five years. Mr. Rea stated it was Sam’s ‘dogged determination, acceptance of failure, humility, and never quit attitude’ that then won him the Global Education award.

 

My name is Will and  I am a mini-Sam.  As Sam’s younger brother, everything about him impacted on me.  He was my role model. My entire personality is based on Sam and the way he acted.

 

Like his effect on Will, Sam affected so many in a positive way.  We are all fortunate to have had him in our lives and we are better people for having known him.  We need to carry on Sam’s passion for life.  Sam lived life large and loud.  You always knew when Sam was home. Keep the way he made you feel as a way of honouring his memory.

​From:
Naomi
Naomi's speech read at Sam's Funeral, Saturday, October 27, 2018

 

As I was thinking of what to write about Sam, my mind was overflowed with memories and moments I shared with him and I couldn’t keep track of everything I wanted to say. I realized if I did put every single thing down, we would be here for hours because there was never a moment that was unpleasant with him.

 

I can’t think of a time where he wasn’t looking out for me. Sam was the best big brother. But he wasn’t just a brother, he was a role model, a protector, a friend, and someone who I could trust. If I came home and I had a rough day at school or something funny happened I could tell him and he would react like he was experiencing this feeling with me, he would really listen to what I was saying.

 

I looked up to Sam in so many ways, so when he told me he wanted to go to school for acting, I was ecstatic because I secretly wanted to be something in the film industry as well. He inspired me to take that dream seriously and I thought to myself, well if Sam can make it that means I can. And you know Sam would’ve been the best actor out there, even if he had doubts in himself I would have supported him all the way through it. As I said before Sam would always be there to protect me. The day before my first day of highschool, Sam and I went out for ice cream or something, and he spent the whole outing telling me the ways of highschool, and his tips on making friends and he said if you don’t have anybody to sit with at lunch call me because I would love to.

 

For all of my grade nine and ten years Sam and I would walk to school together, at 8:10 in the morning exactly, because if we left any later than that he thought we would be late even though schools starts at nine and it only takes up to 20 minutes to get there. He had this weird superstition that I made fun of him for, he thought that if we didn’t get on the subway using

the exact same door everyday and get off using the exact same door we wouldn’t make it to school, which is completely ridiculous, but I walked in and out that door with him everyday anyway. Towards the end of grade nine I remember Sam and I were talking after dinner one day, and we weren’t talking about anything in particular but he stopped the conversation and blurted out, Naomi if I see you hanging out with any of my friends I swear to god I’ll sock em in the face right there and then. I just burst out laughing because I thought he was joking, but then he continued he was like Naomi I’m serious none of those guys are worthy enough for you, you need to find someone who treats you right, and I just said ok whatever you say. I don’t think I really appreciated him looking after me until now.

 

Sam had the biggest heart, and the greatest mind, he had so much potential to be whatever he wanted to be, or do whatever he wanted to do. He also had the best voice out of anyone I’ve heard. I think for about a year straight the house was filled with his beautiful singing voice either singing one out of two of his favourite songs, Put your Head on my Shoulder by Paul Anka or Ebony Eyes by Stevie Wonder. The only reason I know all the words to those songs are because I heard them on repeat every night until at least 10 o’clock. Words can’t portray how much I wish I could hear him sing those songs just one more time.

 

Sam was also the biggest comedian, which he probably got from my dad but I think Sam’s jokes were slightly better. He would make these jokes and I remember on more than one occasion almost peeing myself from laughter. Once he got me going there was no stopping him, the joy he got from seeing people laugh was enormous. He loved to spread happiness and laughter in anyway he could, if it was through his jokes, his very deep voice singing that he could do, or his hilarious dancing. Sam was full of joy and I wish I could have given back the joy he gave me.

 

Sam was so passionate about everything he did, in grade nine when he started his rugby career, I was so confused I said to him why don’t you just play football they’re exactly the same, but you won’t get hurt as often, and he was so offended, he said the art of rugby in uncomparable to the sport football. And then when I told him I wanted to join the girls rugby team he was so happy, he took me outside right away and started teaching me how to throw and catch the ball properly and said he was so excited to be able to play around with the ball together once I get better at it, it’s too bad we never got the chance to.

 

I could go on and on about Sam because he was just so good to everyone he met, and I miss him so much. He was an amazing artist, actor, athlete, and had the kindest heart.

 

One last thing, Sam deserved so much more in life than what he got, he was too amazing to be gone so soon. And all I want to tell him is that I love him so much because I regret not telling him that enough. I don’t really know how to end these things so I’m just going to go now, thank you.

Copyright © 2020. The Legacy of Sam Baker.  All Rights Reserved.

Samuel James Baker  Toronto, ON Canada