Former State Senator, local civic and business leader Sam W. Doss, Jr. passed away Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, at the age of 89 in a Rome hospital following an extended illness. He is survived by two children, Freda Rountree of Eatonton, Georgia and David Doss of Rome, Georgia; five grandchildren and six great grandchildren.
He was born in Thomasville, Georgia and moved to Atlanta in 1939 where he was educated in the public school system. On December 7, 1941, at the age of 14, while working in the soda shop at the Euclid Pharmacy word came of the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was anxious to enlist into military service, and finally at the age of 17 with his parents’ permission, he enlisted in the United States Navy where he served as a medical corpsman at the US Naval Hospital in Mare Island, California. While at Mare Island in October, 1945, he was selected to be part of a military detail assigned to the convening of some 50 nations where the charter was adopted that created the United Nations.
After the war, he returned to Atlanta where he attended Emory University and later graduating from West Georgia College where he met and married his love of 67 years, Carolyn Camp, who preceded him in death in 2015. In 1949 he and his new bride moved to Rome where he began his career in the real estate and mortgage banking business at Harvey-Given Company. There he helped develop many of Rome’s residential areas and provided mortgage loans for hundreds of families. He also began his long career of community service beginning with the Rome Jaycees where he quickly rose through the leadership ranks. In 1962, the Georgia Jaycees named him one of the Five Outstanding Young Men of Georgia. He went on to hold leadership positions in the Jaycees on a state, national and international level and developed friendships that would influence his life for many years. In 2015, Sam was honored by being inducted into the Georgia Jaycees Hall of Fame. His career of community service also included the Rome Exchange Club, Georgia Easter Seals, Georgia March of Dimes, American Cancer Society, over 40 years with the Rome Boys and Girls Club and a Life Member of the Board of Trustees of Floyd College. He was also a Founding Member of the Westminster Presbyterian Church.
In 1968, he was elected to the Georgia State Senate where he served with honor and distinction for 10 years. There he quickly established himself as a skilled Legislator and became one of the most influential and respected members of the Senate. He held leadership positions on the powerful Appropriations, Rules and Higher Education Committees. Later, Lt. Governor Zell Miller asked him to the Chair the committee that created the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, and continued to serve as Chairman of the Citizens Advisory Group for the Hall of Fame after he retired from the Senate in 1979. He was also instrumental in locating the Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital in Rome which created employment opportunities for hundreds of citizens.
After his retirement, he enjoyed traveling, spending time with his many of his life long friends, and being pampered and spoiled by his love Carolyn. He was so proud of his children, his grandchildren, and he loved the excitement and energy of his great-grandchildren. Perhaps no other place was more enjoyable to him than spending time at his cabin on Lake Weiss. He loved the lake and his many friends and neighbors.
Sam Doss exemplified the Greatest Generation. He rose from humble beginnings and became a self-made giant of a man who served his community, his state and his country with unquestioned integrity, unwavering loyalty, and an unending love. He possessed an incredibly quick wit, a keen mind, a compassionate heart, and the rare ability to listen more than he talked. He lived the words of the Jaycee Creed every day of his life; Faith in God gave meaning and purpose to his life; that Government should be of laws, rather than of men; and that service to Humanity was the best work of life. His passing will leave a void in the hearts of those who loved him and of the Community that he loved so dearly.
His funeral will be held Monday, Sept. 18, 2017, at 11:30 a.m. at the Westminster Presbyterian Church with a private interment to follow. His family will receive friends beginning at 10 am in the church parlor. In lieu of flowers, the family request donations be made in his honor to The Boys and Girls Club of Rome, P.O. Box 2939, Rome, Ga., 30164 or the Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1941 Shorter Ave., Rome, Ga., 30165.