The last two times I saw Sam were, I believe, very important moments in his life. Sam and Meredith came to our house in May, 2008. Sam had told me nothing beforehand by email, so I was very pleasantly surprised to see the characteristic shape of Meredith's tummy which could only mean one thing! “We're pregnant” as Sam liked to say, “with identical twin girls” added Meredith. From those long talks late at night in grad school, I knew that Sam was on his way to realizing one of his most cherished life goals, to become a father.
Sam and Meredith stopped by my parent's house in Victoria, BC, when we were visiting, in the summer of 2006. They had just finished hiking the West Coast Trail, and had had a wonderful time. Many of the pictures from that trip made their way to their wedding web site. Meredith seemed such a perfect match for Sam, and they both seemed so fulfilled and full of hopes and dreams for their future life together.
Sam was instrumental in organizing the best wedding present I received. My wedding was to take place in Europe, where I had just moved, and I was bemoaning the fact that many of my North American friends were not going to come, including Meagan, one of my best friends from undergrad. Not long before the wedding I received an email from Sam, asking if he could bring someone he had just met, who “curiously” was also named Meagan. I thought nothing of this coincidence and burst into tears of joy when I picked them up at the train station.
I knew Sam best when we were both in grad school. We are not in the same field, so I was only indirectly aware of his academic brilliance. Besides being one of my closest friends, he was my coach; I taped an email from him to my shelf so that I would see it every time I looked up from my desk when studying. I have a T-shirt from him with the “words of wisdom” of the poster on his wall. I have reproduced both below.
It has “already” been over three months since one earthquake shook Haiti and another shook the world of Sam's family and friends. I still think of Sam (and Meredith, Aya and Orli) often. Sam will be remembered, for so many great reasons, by so many people, for a long long time to come.
I say never let go, never rest, never stop, never give in, never show fear, never tire. Cleaner, faster, better than everybody else, more practice, later nights, earlier mornings. Only the mediocre are always at their best. Push yourself. Keep fire in your eyes and fire in your heart and always do what you think is the right thing.
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.