Sam Houston Burgess, Jr. joined his beloved wife in their forever home in Heaven on November 30, 2022. Sam, age 88, was born in Harriman, TN to Sam Houston and Dovie Mae Isham Burgess on Sept 22, 1934. He spent his youth in Oakdale before joining the NAVY to see the world and stay out of trouble at the age of 29, he met and married his life partner, Mary Ellen Goodson. Together, they served our family, community, and country while stationed in Jacksonville FL, Norfolk, VA, and Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico. Sam sailed the oceans on numerous Navy vessels and visited many countries. His favorite country for food was Italy, and even though he cut his noodles, to sightsee he loved Spain, his favorite tattoo parlor was in Coney Island NY and there was no better place to live than his beloved Tennessee. Upon his military retirement, he and Mary bought a home in Harriman. He worked at K-25 for several years and then moved into security at Y-12 until his retirement in 1995. He and Mary enjoyed traveling together to see their favorite country music artists at various small venues.
If you knew Sam, you know he was matter-of-fact, spoke his mind, and never worried about anything. He loved his family and took providing for them in all ways, seriously. He was a master gardener, grew vegetables to share, and was blessed with an abundance, regardless of scaling back year after year. There will never be a tomato better than “a Sam Burgess tomato”. If he made breakfast for you, you were special to him, his family will miss his biscuits and gravy. They will also miss the stories about growing up in Oakdale, the Norris Creamery days, his Navy adventures, and especially the words of wisdom. He loved the Lord and considered himself blessed to serve many years at First Christian Church of Harriman. Sam battled health issues with fierce determination. His vision issues were long-standing, and he was a grateful recipient of a cornea transplant in Dec of 2021.
Sam was preceded in death by parents Sam and Dovie Burgess, brothers, Lester, Reuben Paul (RP), and Lonnie Burgess, Sisters Essie Mae Burgess and Jessie Winters, his dear wife, Mary Ellen Burgess, three stepdaughters, Barbara Goad, Kathy Blair, and Pam Smith, a grandson, Christopher Burns, and two great-grandchildren, Brittany Luttrell and Joshua Andrews.
His legacy includes son Paul Burgess (Saundra) of Harriman and daughter Cindy Ross (Kevin) of Clinton. His much-loved Grandchildren, PJ Burgess (Sara) of Elizabeth City NC, Corey Burgess of Harriman, TN, Jonathan Ross (Bridgette Floyd) of Abingdon VA, and Benjamin Ross (Sarah Thomas) of Nashville TN. Great Grandchildren, Avery and Harper Burgess of Elizabeth City, NC.
There are two surviving stepdaughters, Donna Burns of Boonville, IN, and Janet Andrews of Pearland TX, 12 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren, and 10 great-great-grandchildren scattered throughout TN, Florida, Arkansas, and Texas. There are numerous local, beloved nieces and nephews, along with special life-long Oakdale school friends that he enjoyed meeting for breakfast.
Fair Winds and Following Seas.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the First Christian Church Memorial Fund, 324 Morgan Avenue, Harriman, TN 37748. Receiving of friends will be Thursday, December 8, 2022, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. with funeral service to follow at Kyker Funeral Home in Harriman. The family will meet at 10 a.m. on Friday, December 9, 2022, for burial in Riggs Chapel Cemetery. Kyker Funeral Home of Harriman serving the Burgess Family.
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