OBITUARY: Sam Small

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James Samuel (Sam) Small, age 77, passed away peacefully on January 8, 2021 at his home in Murfreesboro, TN, after his long fight with multiple myeloma cancer. He was surrounded by his wife, children, and grandchildren. He fought valiantly for over thirteen years with the final battle beginning three years ago. God granted him eight years of remission from symptoms after stem cell treatment in 2009.

Sam was born in the mountains of east Tennessee, at his ancestral home, near Parrottsville to James and Katherine Small. He grew up in Harriman, TN, where his family attended the Harriman and Coalfield Seventh-day Adventist Churches. Sam was a lifelong member of the SDA Church, and had the distinct privilege of earning his Master Guide in the Pathfinder group as a teenager.

He attended Collegedale Academy in Ooltewah, TN, graduating in 1961. He then attended Madison College, where he met and married the love of his life, Jackie Kunau on September 19, 1963. He was then accepted into the nursing program at Southern Missionary College. He had the privilege of being a member of SMC’s first graduating class with an Associate’s Degree in Nursing. The 50th anniversary of this achievement was celebrated at commencement of the Southern Adventist University nursing class of 2017. He then was accepted into the Madison College School of Anesthesia under the tutelage of Director Bernard Bowen. He graduated with a Certificate of Anesthesia in 1969.

He began his anesthesia career in Texas. In 1974, Sam was invited to become a founding partner in the West Tennessee Anesthesia Group. In 1986, Sam and Jackie moved to Murfreesboro, TN where Sam had accepted a position at the Alvin C. York VA Medical Center. In 1993, he caught the adventure bug, and decided to do travel anesthesia. Sam and Jackie enjoyed traveling together for fifteen years. His last permanent position as a nurse anesthetist was in Marion, Virginia. He thoroughly enjoyed mentoring student nurse anesthetists and had many years of wisdom to share. Sam reluctantly retired at the age of 72. He loved his profession.

Sam was very proud to be the second of three generations of CRNAs (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist). His father, a World War II veteran, graduated from Madison College School of Anesthesia in 1952. Sam’s daughter, Vanessa Schulz, is still practicing anesthesia for the Murfreesboro Anesthesia Group.

Sam and Jackie raised their four children and were always active members in the SDA Church. Sam taught Sabbath School classes, was Pathfinder leader, a deacon, served as an elder, and head elder. He willingly filled many positions while serving the Lord.

Upon retiring and returning to Murfreesboro, TN, Sam and Jackie were the visionaries and co-founders of the Gold Leaf Outreach ministries. He personally shared thousands of books and literature. Sharing the love of Jesus was what he did best! One of his greatest joys was having prayer with so many who stopped at their Wilson County Fair booth during the four years it was under their leadership.

Mary E. DeVasher, former Director of Madison College School of Anesthesia (now Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia) and classmate of Sam states: “He was willing to share his faith in every situation. A highly respected CRNA. He is resting peacefully awaiting Jesus return.”

Sam is survived by his beloved wife, Jackie Small, his children, Wisa and Richard Bane, David Small, Michael and Tammy Small, and Vanessa and David Schulz, his grandchildren, Joshua, Laramie, Drew, Megan, Morghin, and Elizabeth, and his brothers, Clarence and Ginger Small, and Jay and Donna Small. He is proceeded in death by his parents James and Katherine Small.

A celebration of life for Sam will be held on January 23, 2021 at 4:30 pm. This will be at the Murfreesboro Seventh-day Adventist Church at 2815 Elam Road, Murfreesboro, TN 37127.

In lieu of flowers Sam has requested donations be given to his favorite ministry: www.childimpact.org It would be a great honor to Sam if you would consider sponsoring a child with this organization. He and Jackie have sponsored seven children with ChildImpact, one of whom they have watched grow from elementary school until now she is in nursing school.

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