Samuel W. Heath Sr. of Asheboro passed away peacefully and surrounded by family in the early morning hours of August 12 after a brief illness. He was 86 years old.
Sam was a man of faith, a man of fellowship, and a man of family. Born in Grimesland, NC, on February 14, 1937, he lost both of his parents at a very young age and grew up in the care of his grandfather and grandmother. He was a standout basketball and baseball player at Grimesland High School, where he was voted as Most Athletic. He was a veteran of the US Air Force and the National Guard. He moved his family to Asheboro in 1977 when he was transferred to the Asheboro plant of Energizer Battery, where he worked until his retirement in 1997. He was a long time Mason and began his Masonic journey in the Grimesland Lodge. He was raised on September 2, 1975, and eventually became a Master Mason. After his move to Asheboro, he became a member of Lodge 699 where he remained a member in good standing.
Faith was a bedrock for Sam, and the home of that faith was First Evangelical and Reformed United Church of Christ in Asheboro. He was a member of the congregation for over 45 years, serving as head of the consistory and in other leadership roles. He was a mentor to many and sung in the choir for almost all of his years with the church. He fiercely advocated for the Backpack Pals program of Communities in Schools of Randolph County and the Christians United Outreach Center and reveled in greeting congregation members before and after every service.
Fellowship in Sam’s life extended well beyond the walls of his church to include his beloved community at the Randolph Asheboro YMCA. His water fitness classes were legendary for their storytelling and singing, and he was an advocate and supporter of the Y’s scholarship program for many years. He was the longest serving instructor at the Y and created a basis for their entire water aerobics program.
Above all, family was the foundation for everything for Sam. His love for his wife Jane over their 61 years of marriage was boundless, and her partnership and support as he dealt with health issues over the years meant everything to him. The accomplishments of his three children and the lives they had built were a tremendous source of pride and happiness. His four grandchildren took that to a whole other level, and he was diligent in going to as many sporting and other events as he could, even as he dealt with chronic pain. He did not take for granted that he was able to see all of them grow up and turn in to delightful and skilled young men and women and who so appreciated the time they got to spend with their Papa.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his grandfather Samuel Clarence Heath and his grandmother Evelyn Heath, his brother James Heath, his half-sister Dorothy Smith, his uncle Elmo Heath, his aunt Annabelle Heath, several other beloved aunts and uncles, and many dear friends. He is survived by his precious wife, Jane, of the home; his son Sam Heath Jr. and his wife Kelly of Asheboro; his son Carter Heath, his wife Sonjia, and their daughters Maya and Ava of Winston-Salem; his daughter Kathy Harris, her husband Mike, and their sons Dax and Van of Greensboro; and several nephews, nieces, cousins, and special friends and neighbors.
Services will be held at First Evangelical and Reformed Church of Christ on Wednesday, August 16, at 1 p.m. The family will receive friends in the church fellowship hall following the service. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Sam’s memory to the Backpack Pals program of Communities in Schools of Randolph County (1003 Sunset Avenue, Asheboro, NC 27203), the Randolph Asheboro YMCA (343 NC Highway 42 North, Asheboro, NC 27203), or First Evangelical and Reformed Church of Christ (P.O. Box 1002, Asheboro, NC 27205).