Interviews & Editorials / Sam Woodruff: Feb 28, 1949-Nov 12, 2012

Sam Woodruff: Feb 28, 1949-Nov 12, 2012

Sam Woodruff: Feb 28, 1949-Nov 12, 2012

20 November 2012 Interviews & Editorials 29

Editor's Note: This tribute was written by George Fischer, Sam Woodruff's partner for many years. George sent us the photo of him and Sam. The other photos here were taken from Sam's Facebook page, including the banner above, a photo that Sam commented on by saying, "This is a picture of a happy man!!!" (April 18 at 8:03pm). The photo with the children below is Sam with his grandchildren, Jack and Anna Wallace, who he loved dearly. The photo to the left is a photo of a display of Sam's art. If you would like to add anything here, we welcome your comments and condolences on this page. Sam will be missed by the Merida community.


Sam Warren Woodruff was murdered early Monday morning on the 12th of November. He died a violent death that should never be the fate of anyone let alone a gentle and trusting soul like him.

Sam was one of those rare individuals who never said anything bad about anyone, never lifted a finger to hurt anyone and always thought the best of everyone. I have gathered my thoughts about this man and I am honored to be able to share them with you.

To my good friend Sam:

I thought of you today when the sun came up. Actually, I have thought of you ever day for nearly 20 years. We have lived and loved together as brothers and shared so many good things in life. You enriched my life and of my mother, Maria Luisa also. You cared for her as a son and made a great difference in her life as you did in mine.

You and I, we were so different in so many ways Sam. We had difficult times, but, our friendship survived. You pushing me to open up, to relax, to take in all the wonderful fun things in life. To run and scream and shout with abandon. And me, trying to rein you in a bit, coming behind you to collect some of the things you scattered in the wind. Always, looking ahead to see if there was something in the road that would hurt you. You up front, smiling and laughing, and urging me on to run.

You are gone now. Some nameless and shameless person took away your life, your future and our joy. Well, nothing can hurt you again Sam and my job looking after you is almost done.

You leave behind a host of friends who love and care for you… your legacy is your smile, your gentleness and your complete honesty with those in your life. A friend once asked you how you would like to be remembered, you said, “I want to be remembered as an eccentric old artist.”

That you were, my dear Sam. You lived life to it's fullest and enriched the many lives you touched during your 63 year journey.

Goodbye, my dear friend, Sam the man.


Watch Sam's memorial service on video here.


  • Reg Deneau 10 years ago

    We first met Sam before we came down from Canada in 2004. Upon our arrival he and George took us into their home and made us feel welcome. Over the years we have spent many happy times at various functions. Every day we sit at the dining room table and chairs we bought from them when they sold the house in Centro. Through them our lives have been enriched. Our hearts go out to his family and his beloved grandchildren. He was so proud of them. He will continue to paint sunsets in the sky for us all to enjoy!

  • Working Gringos 10 years ago

    (We corrected it for you... )

  • Bobby Waggoner 10 years ago

    Sorry, for the above comment with reference to George instead of Sam. I knew Sam & George when they lived in Atlanta and thought of them as one. This tragic news has obviously shaken me.

  • Bobby Waggoner 10 years ago

    We will miss you Sam!!!!

  • Bobby Waggoner 10 years ago

    Such a tragedy and great loss to our world and community! Sam lived such an enriched life and was blessed with so many wonderful friends and family. He will certainly be missed.

  • jose matu 11 years ago

    En esta vida hay personas que valen la pena tratar y recordar. Sam, siempre te recordare como la gran pesona que eres. Estes donde estes... se que estas bien.

    (Editor's attempt at translation: In this life, there are people that it is worth knowing and remembering. Sam, I will always remember you as the great person that you were. You are wherever you are... I know that you are well.)

  • Florence Puente 11 years ago

    I am so sorry to read this! It makes me so sad that people can hurt each other so violently! May God grant his friends and family peace. This year was my second vacation to Merida and the Yucatan which I love. I went with friends that were very hesitant to go due to concerns of safety, but I got them hooked. I did notice more crowding this year and the streets not as clean.I was informed by a cab driver that the population had grown by 40.000 due to Mexicans from other parts of the country moving to Yucatan because it is safer. My plan was to purchase and move full time, but I have something thinking to do now. Sam, rest in peace nd may God and his angel be with you!

  • Rebecca Woodruff White 11 years ago

    Of the five of us...Me first, Donna...10 months later, my brother...3 years later, Sammy...a few months later and Norma...a couple years later...Sammy was the happiest. He was always smiling, laughing, getting into some kind of mischief. He loved playing mischievous little jokes on people...especially the four of us! First cousins, our dads were brothers, we lived just a few feet from each other, we were in each other's houses and yards and lives on a minute to minute basis...our lives so entertwined as to be more like brothers and sisters than cousions...24 hours a day until we grew up and went our separate ways.

    Growing up on the farm, getting our educations the 'old fashioned' way (the BEST way) we had a BLAST! We all had to work hard but we played just as hard and maybe harder than we worked. I remember Sammy as that laughing, running, playing, working, mischievous skinny little boy everyone loved. If we all got into trouble, Sammy was usually the one who went unscathed but we didn't care...we just went ahead and got right back into trouble again!

    The world is not as good a place now as it was when Sammy (as I will always remember him) was in it. What a shame his countenance will no longer shine on the rest of us...we will be the worse off because of it. It is us who will someone else said, "Sam now has his wings!" It will be good when we get our wings and can be with him again.

  • Bill S. - ATL 11 years ago

    I was saddened to learn of this tradegy. From reading this article and the
    other comments, Sam had a wonderful, creative, and meaningful life. He
    will always be remembered and will always be missed.

  • Working Gringos 11 years ago

    Thank you, Christine and everyone for your stories about Sam. We are sure that his family appreciates this, and we know that his friends do, ourselves included.

  • Christine Muth 11 years ago

    Sam lived near us on the beach in Chelem/Chuburna. He was always up and down the roads in his VW convertible, with either Emiliano's massage table in the back seat, or some of his pictures! I saw him one day at Home Depot, he taught me what fertilizers to get for my plants. We were both gardeners and loved flowering bushes. The first artists market we were at together, I was shy and Sam just took me under his wing, showed me the ropes, told me what to charge, and we were friends from that day on. He was a wonderful friend of mine. He helped my friends up here in Chelem get the Artisans de la Playa up and running, was the "muscle" they needed to make their dreams come true. Friday night before he died, he was the MC at a fundraiser at the Gallery in Chelem. Everyone was so happy that night and my last memory of him was offering to relieve him so he could eat dinner and he wasn't worried, there would be plenty for him. At our tribute to Sam here in Chelem, POSITIVE PERSON was the word I heard the most to describe Sam. Smiling, energetic, and never looked back on the hardships (and there were many) in his life. He LOVED being reunited with his Son and meeting his Grandchildren. "It is a miracle" he told me and I believed him. I've never known anyone personally to have died a violent death and it saddens me that Sam's last hours were not happy and positive as his authentic self was. I'll always remember his tie dyed funky pants and tee shirt and his big, warm arms giving me a hug.

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