BEAUFORT, SOUTH CAROLINA – Talbird Reeve Sams, 88, of Beaufort, SC died peacefully at his home on July 3, 2013 surrounded by family who admired him greatly and will miss him dearly. He died in the home where he was born on September 8, 1924 to Melvin Toland Sams and Therese Talbird Sams. After graduating from Beaufort High School in 1941, he attended The Citadel for two years until his college education was interrupted by World War II. He served in the U.S. Army in England, France, and the Rhineland, seeing combat action in the Battle of the Bulge. Upon discharge from the service, he entered the University of South Carolina to continue his education. He enrolled in the USC law school in 1947 and earned his LLB degree in 1949. In 1950, he was employed as an attorney with the South Carolina Legislative Council in Columbia, SC. During his employment there, he became Assistant Code Commissioner and Assistant Director of the Legislative Council. In 1957, he returned to Beaufort and went into the private practice of law with Julian S. Levin until 1989. He then formed a partnership and practiced law with his son, Toland Sams, until he retired in 2010. In 1958, he was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives and served two terms. During his service in the House, he was instrumental in establishing the Beaufort branch campus of the University of South Carolina and he worked to obtain federal aid to save the erosion-threatened beach at Hunting Island. He was a member of the American Bar Association, the South Carolina Bar, and a past president of the Beaufort County Bar Association. He was also a member of the South Carolina Defense Trial Attorneys Association, the Defense Research Institute, and the American Board of Trial Advocates. He was a trustee of the old Beaufort College and president of the Beaufort Museum for many years. He was a past president of Sertoma and of the United Fund for Beaufort County. He was a member of The Beaufort County Historical Society, Historic Beaufort Foundation, and Beaufort County Open Land Trust. In 2002, he received the Howard Danner Lifetime Achievement Award from the Historic Beaufort Foundation for his work in preserving the history of Beaufort. He was also a member of the South Carolina Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. He was a lifetime member of St. Peter’s Catholic Church serving as an altar boy in his youth and later as a lector.
He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Betty Jane Johnson, and his children all of Beaufort: William Toland Sams (Donna), Jane Elizabeth Sams Fisher, and Talbird Reeve Sams, Jr. (Patricia). He is also survived by nine grandchildren, Hilary Sams Thomas, Dylan Sams, Toland Sams, William Fisher, Anna Fisher, Megan Fisher, Mallory Sams, Tyler Sams and Kennedy Sams, and one great grandson, Nathan Vilasineekul. In addition, he is survived by his sisters, Jeanne Sams Aimar and Therese Sams Colquhoun, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be held on July 7, 2013 from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m., with a prayer service at 3:30 p.m., at the historic St. Peter’s Catholic Church on Carteret Street.
A Memorial Mass will be held on July 8, 2013 at 1:30 p.m at St. Peter’s Catholic Church on Lady’s Island with a reception to follow and the burial will take place at 4:00 at the historic St. Peter’s Catholic Church on Carteret Street.
In lieu of flowers please make donations to the preservation of the historic St. Peter’s Catholic Church, 70 Lady’s Island Drive, Beaufort, SC 29907; the Beaufort County Open Land Trust, 1001 Bay Street, P.O. Box 75, Beaufort, South Carolina 29901; or a charity of your choice.