Samuel Wall Van Leer was born in Gainesville, Florida on September 24, 1934 to Mr. Blake Ragsdale Van Leer and Mrs. Ella Wall Van Leer. He was educated at Grady High School in Atlanta, Georgia and Sewanee Military Academy in Sewanee, Tennessee. He went on to attend Georgia Tech where he was active in the Sigma Chi Fraternity, competed on the Tech Swim Team, and received Bachelors Degrees in Civil Engineering and Industrial Management from Georgia Tech in 1956 and 1957.
Sammy, as he was known to family and friends, began a career in education teaching science and mathematics at The Westminster Schools in Atlanta, Georgia. During his tenure there, he coached both Boys and Girls Varsity Basketball and was recognized as one of Westminster’s most successful coaches. During several summers, he was a scuba diving instructor at a camp on Tobago Island with Sigma Chi Fraternity brothers. He also served as Director of Westminster Summer Camps for many years. He was a beloved mentor and teacher to many young men and women.
After receiving a Master’s Degree in Education Administration from Georgia State, Sammy went on to serve as Headmaster at Springwood School in Lanett, Alabama, then at UMS-Wright School and St. Luke’s Episcopal School in Mobile, Alabama and finally at Beaches Episcopal School in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. He was an engaging and influential man, helping each school grow and flourish.
Sammy was a follower of Jesus Christ. He actively attended church throughout the entirety of his life and served as a lay reader, a communicant and as a vestry member. He was a lifelong learner, consistently reading and studying God’s Word. He attended and led several Bible study groups at the church and in his home.
Always serving in his community, Sammy was active as a member of Rotary International for over 40 years. After retiring from Beaches Episcopal School, he led the expansion of the Beaches Historical Society, a museum memorializing the rich history of the Jacksonville Beach area. In his spare time, he was an avid organic gardener and bee keeper.
Sammy is survived by his wife of 59 years, Mary Van Leer (Lolly), and his daughter, Laura Van Leer Estock and son in law David Estock, his son Kirk Ragsdale Van Leer, and his son Rev. Samuel Wall Van Leer, Jr. and daughter in law, Coretta Buter Van Leer. He leaves behind seven beloved grandchildren: Robert Collins Estock, Fletcher Lucile Estock, Cecilia Blake Estock, AnnaKatherine Kelley Estock, Francisca Iona Van Leer, Nicolas Kirk Van Leer, and Stephanie Marie Van Leer.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to:
St. Michael & All Angels Anglican Church
P.O. Box 1321
Arden, NC 28704
Bible Study Fellowship
19001 Huebner Road
San Antonio, TX 78258-4019
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