I went to high school with Sam for six years at our tiny school in Toronto, where everybody knew everybody else like family. And because my last name is "Rubel," I was always right beside Sam anytime anything alphabetical happened. This was very good fortune for me; Sam was arguably the smartest guy at a school that purported to be packed with geniuses, and his locker being beside mine enabled me to garner his tips for tests and assistance on imminently due homework assignments, undoubtedly saving me from innumerable academic disasters. He always had time to stop, talk and help, despite his outrageously busy schedule. Or talk all night at one of our many class parties about the existence of God, teachers, books, teen social angst, or anything else.
Sam was a phenomenon throughout high school. Not only did he have the top grade in every class, and launch questions and comments that could stump any teacher, but he was the life and soul of the place. Every Wednesday we had a school-wide assembly, which was largely the Sam Roweis show. As co-President of the Science Club (a Sci Guy), he would write and star in skits every week that would be the envy of late night comedians. I remember one time he rigged up some apparatus to come gliding down from the top of the auditorium. He also launched a stealth campaign to put "Science Club" signs up in subway stations, on police cars, and around the city. He also pioneered the perhaps even more entertaining "Shower Club," exhorting his fellow students to bathe after Phys.Ed. He brought such laughter and joy to our school - I'm just so sorry it was in the days before ubiquitous video. I'd so love to have a recording of one of his hilarious skits.
After graduation I didn't keep in touch with Sam, but always knew what he was up to through mutual friends. I do remember at our 10 year reunion that he pointed out what an incredible gift our school had given us, and he started a campaign for everyone in our class that could afford it to give $1,000 to our ever-struggling school. He stepped up as the first donor. We have lost a one-of-a-kind person in Sam.
In a sleepless moment the other day I wrote the following blog about the events of the past week - check it out if you're interested.
I have never met Meredith, but my every thought and best wish is with her, the twins and Sam's other family and friends.
Sam Roweis died unexpectedly on January 12, 2010.
He was a truly wonderful person; a beloved son, husband and father; and a treasured friend and colleague.
This is a place for all of us who were lucky enough to know Sam to share our memories and to help celebrate his life.
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There is also an album of photographs for which contributions are welcome. Instructions on how to contribute appear next to album.