Mary "sammie" Gottleber
Sammie passed away peacefully on the 3rd of October in El Paso, Texas surrounded by her daughter and many of her caregivers and friends after prayers from her minister from Western Hills United Methodist Church.
Sammie, the only daughter of Sam Blanton of Greenville, Mississippi and Minnie Quilla Riggin of Amory Mississippi, was born January 5, 1921 in Greenville. Her family moved to Elaine, Arkansas where they operated a dry goods store and farm and were faithful members of Elaine Methodist Church. After graduating as salutatorian from Elaine High at the age of 16, she went to TCU in Fort Worth, TX where she majored in history and lettered in basketball. After graduating she taught History, Government and Spanish in West Texas and Arkansas. During WWII she worked for the Air Force at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, MS teaching aircraft hydraulics which led to her working for Delta Airlines at Love Field in Dallas, TX after the war. There she met Henry (Hank) Gottleber, an Air Force pilot from Saginaw Michigan.
Sammie and Hank were married in November of 1946 in Managua, Nicaragua where he was stationed.
During Hankís Air Force career, they lived in the many and varied places the Air Force sent him, including Texas where daughter Vicki was born, Morocco where daughter Gay was born, and a short 6 month assignment in Hattiesburg. Sammie was always very active in Church, taking care of people and making lifelong friends across the US.
After Hankís last two assignments in New York City and Massachusetts he made good on his promise to Sammie to return to the South, first to the University of Arkansas where he earned a PhD and finally to Hattiesburg where he was Professor at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Sammie again joined Parkway Heights Methodist Church where she continued to make many friends and was a faithful supporter of their missions, including the start of the Edwards Street ministry.
Sammie was active in Red Cross volunteering, USM wivesí groups and a sponsor of the Air Force ROTC Angel Flight.
Sammie and Hank were also world travelers, touring countries on all continents.
She supported and lovingly cared for Hank through his 20- year battle with Parkinsonís disease. She became active supporter in the Hattiesburg Parkinsonís Support group which she continued after his death.
She continued to help and support people throughout Hattiesburg until she moved to El Paso to be near Vicki and her husband John Hamilton and her grandson Drew, his wife Kirsten, and their daughter MacKenzie eight years ago.
Both in Hattiesburg and El Paso she was visited frequently by Gay and her husband Paul from Johnson City TN. Sadly, Gay passed away 2 years ago after a battle with cancer. Paul remains a devoted and much-loved member of the family.
The family asks in lieu of flowers that contributions be made to the mission and outreach programs of Parkway Heights United Methodist Church in Hattiesburg that she so loved or the United Methodist Women of Western Hills United Methodist Church in El Paso who so faithfully visited her after she moved to El Paso.
Sammieís funeral will be at Parkway Heights Methodist Church, 2420 Hardy St, Hattiesburg on Monday the 15th of October at 10:00 with visitation from 9:00 to 10:00 in the church lobby. There will be a private interment at Biloxi National Cemetery.