Our beloved Sam died suddenly in Quantico, Virginia while undergoing training in the United States Marine Corps. Sam was born and raised on Vashon Island where he graduated from high school in 2016. During Sam’s school years he was a member of both the basketball and baseball teams. He earned first team all-league honors for three consecutive years in basketball, and was a member of the Pirate team that placed fifth in state in 2015. His senior year in baseball, the Pirates made it all the way to the state championship game. In the late innings, with the game on the line with the bases loaded and no outs, Sam was called on to pitch. He pitched his team out of the jam and preserved the victory and championship for the Vashon Pirates. At graduation that year, Sam was awarded one of the prestigious Pieces of Eight Awards as recognition for his outstanding service and commitment to his school.
In the fall of 2016 Sam attended the University of Puget Sound on an academic and athletic scholarship. He played one season of basketball and then transferred to Washington State University for his sophomore year. At WSU Sam joined the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity (SAE) where he was an officer in the house. He graduated in the spring of 2020 with a degree in Finance and a minor in Economics.
Sam took his first job out of school in the financial industry. While working from home during Covid he realized one day that he was going to sit behind a desk for the next 40 years. He decided he wanted a bigger challenge and adventure in life and thought he could put his leadership qualities to good use in the Marine Corps. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant on November 20, 2021 after graduating from Officers Candidate School. He immediately started the next round of training at The Basic School which was to last seven months with graduation scheduled for this past June 30th. Had Sam moved on with the Marines his next round of training was the Infantry Officers Course where he ultimately would have joined the fleet as a platoon leader. Sam loved what he was doing in the Corps, and it was every bit the challenge that he had hoped for. He made a great Marine!
Sam had a vibrant and larger than life personality that always lit up a room. He was a unique blend of the goofy class clown (a badge of distinction that he held dear), and a thoughtful, respectful and compassionate gentleman. He had the ability to bring all types of people together in the attempt to have fun at whatever they were doing. His inability to sing will long be remembered by all of his friends. His vocal shortcomings never slowed him down, nor prevented him from belting out songs at the top of his tuneless voice. From team buses to Corps marches, Sam sang for all and could laugh at himself the hardest when the jokes about his lack of talent started.
Sam’s more serious side revealed a sincere and sensitive soul who cared deeply about others. He always strived for excellence in everything he did, from athletics, to academics, to his military service. Nothing was ever done half-way. It was full commitment to every project, every time and always accompanied by his big infectious smile. His family was of paramount importance to him, as were his friends, fellow Marines and the greater community at large. He truly loved his home town, and he took with him the lessons learned from growing up on this unique island to all his adventures.
Sam leaves behind his mother and father, Jill and John; his brother Wyatt; many aunts, uncles and cousins; and the countless friends he made growing up on Vashon, at both of his colleges and the Marine Corps.
A service will be held in Sam’s honor on Saturday July 23, 2022 at 11 a.m. at the Vashon High School stadium. Sam’s Marine Corps memorial service can be viewed on The Basic School Facebook page.
The family has requested that remembrances be made in the form of contributions to the Sam Yates Community Foundation; to be formed non-profit, care of Glynis Delargy, P.O. Box 912, Vashon, WA. 98070.