LtCol. Samuel J. Ware, USMC (Ret) was diagnosed in March 2007 with a Brain Tumor. A combination of chemotherapy drugs which were working wonderfully on the tumor, but took a toll on his body. He developed gall stones, an after effect of the chemo treatment, and was admitted to University of California-Davis Medical Center on September 7, 2007. Sam's condition was disseminated to the Purple Foxes who responded with letters, e-mail and cards. His wife, Mary, said, "Those were a tremendous boost in morale and support for Sam."
On September 19, Mary Ware reported that Sam was going back on steroid treatment and would finish his chemo treatment as an out patient. She indicated Sam would be released from UC Davis Medical Center in a few days. They looked forward to their 41st wedding anniversary on October 1, 2007.
Sam passed away from several complications associated with his valiant battle to overcome cancer on September 24, 2007. He was a proud veteran who retired after 22 years as a helicopter pilot and Squadron Commander in the Marine Corps. (His decorations will be published when received)
His passion for flight and engineering was highlighted as he contributed in the development of the B-2 Stealth Bomber for Northrop Grumman. He returned to Sacramento in 2001 as a Project Manager for Robbins Gioia.
Besides his wife, he is survived by his three daughters, Michelle Grotemeyer, Melanie Jansen, Marianne Ware and five grandchildren. As well as, his mother Evelyn M. Anderson and his sister Ruth Anne Vickers.
Marshall Ojeda who worked out of the northern Virginia location of the same company knew Sam and was aware they had both served with HMM-364 in Vietnam. Marshall's service was in the 1965 - 1966 time frame while Sam's was in 1969. When Marshall heard of Sam's death, he asked for small donations from Robbins Gioia employees, who also knew Sam, to purchase an engraved brick that would be placed along the winding pathways of Semper Fidelis Memorial Park on the grounds of the National Museum of the Marine Corps.
On February 7, 1969, Sam was the copilot for a dangerous mission that resulted in his aircraft commander, 1stLt. Richard P Hardin, being awarded a Silver Star. Normal procedures at the time would have resulted in Sam being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. You may read the news article here.
Joseph P. "Pat" Donovan developed a thirty eight year friendship with Sam triggered by a horrific emergency night medical evacuation mission that commenced at 2200 hours on February 21, 1969 in the Republic of Vietnam. Sam was 1stLt. Donovan's copilot and Cpl. Ernesto "Gooie " Gomez was the crew chief. Numerous other emergency medical evacuations were received and flown as a single helicopter due to the lead helicopter developing radio problems soon after launch. Donovan was wounded but carried on with additional emergency missions that lasted until dawn the next morning. Donovan was awarded the Navy Cross for his valiant efforts and it would have been the norm for Sam to have been awarded the Silver Star Medal or the Distinguished Flying Cross (The exact one is not known). Donovan's Navy Cross citation and added comments of Cpl. Gomez can be read here.
Donovan said, "Sam and I have spoken at length by phone every anniversary, competing with each other as to who would place the call first on February 22, and relating some happy tidbits of our families, and our children's and grandchildren's activities. These were enriching conversations leading to greetings with great hugs and back slapping when we met in person occasionally at reunions or at Sam and Mary's home. Every year we, and by that I mean our fire team of Sam and Mary Ware and Pat and Beba Donovan, have continued this timely remembrance with one another. Next February 22, 2008 it shall be our plan, God willing, to be calling Mary first, but I know Sam will be listening as I recall his gentle engineer's voice ringing in my ears and seeing his gentle smile."
Pat Donovan provides this farewell toast from Sam's Marine Family of the Purple Foxes:
Toast to Sam Ware Upon Completing All His Missions
Sam Ware was at the center of us all,
He was always there for each of us, as we needed his great talents, from Engineer, Pilot and Friend, from sharing a personal moment to singing o'er a beer in the Marble Mountain O'Club.
We shall miss you, Sam, and lest this moment pass, as dusk descends upon California's shores, let us speak our praise of you, Sam, our friend.
As we raise among us The Parting Glass, we toast you our friend, Sam Ware.
A permanent guest book is maintained on the internet for you to express your sorrow to Mary and her daughters or to relate your memories of Sam.
1stLt. Samuel J. Ware's History Index
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