Edward J. Samp Jr.

Cambridge - Edward Joseph Samp Jr. died Nov. 23, 2007, at Cambridge City Hospital. He was 89.

A veteran of World War II, Mr. Samp was born in Madison, Wisconsin, on July 5, 1918, son of Edward Joseph Samp and Helen Sullivan Samp. He received his bachelorís and masterís degrees from the University of Wisconsin before moving to Cambridge and attending Harvard Law School.

His legal studies were interrupted by World War II when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in February 1942. After returning from the war, he finished at Harvard and practiced law with the firm of Haussermann, Davison, and Shattuck. He later established his own firm, where he practiced estate and property law until his retirement in 1994.

He married Mary Lewis Abbott of Portland, Maine, in 1946. In 1947, they moved to Cambridge where they raised their five children.

Mr. Samp, a lieutenant commander in the Navy during World War II, was a leading gunnery officer aboard the USS Laffey, a destroyer nicknamed ďThe Ship That Would Not DieĒ for its exploits during the D-Day invasion and the battle of Okinawa. While at Normandy, the Laffey came under German artillery fire and was struck by a shell that did not explode, but became lodged in the ship near the bow. Lt. Commander Samp and several men under his command dislodged the live shell and threw it overboard. At Okinawa, the Laffey came under a heavy barrage of Kamikaze planes while on patrol north of the island. Samp was a leader of his shipís anti-aircraft defense against the suicide planes during the battle, six of which hit the ship. The ship did not sink. During the battle, in which 32 of his shipmates were killed, Samp was severely wounded by an exploding Japanese bomb. He was reported killed in action in his hometown newspaper, but his parents refused to believe he was dead, and an investigation through Washington revealed he was alive in a Navy hospital in the Pacific. He was decorated for his heroism during the battle of Okinawa and was awarded the Purple Heart.

Mr. Samp was actively involved in Cambridge politics for many years. In 1959, he was appointed a Republican member of the Cambridge Election Commission. He served in that position until 1995, and chaired the commission from 1980 until his retirement.

He also volunteered for the Cambridge Baseball League in a number of roles that included administration, fundraising, and coaching. His contributions continued for years after his own children participated. In 1991, the city recognized his contributions by naming a baseball field in his honor.

After retiring, Mr. Samp studied Spanish at the University of Massachusetts, later teaching Spanish at the North Cambridge Senior Center. He also recorded audio law books at the Boston headquarters of Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic. He participated in numerous other charitable endeavors and organizations, including St. Peterís Church in Cambridge, the Boy Scouts, American Legion Post 442, the Economy Club in Cambridge, the Jefferson Investment Club, and the Boston Junior Chamber of Commerce. He was a member of the Harvard Club of Boston.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by his children, Edward III and his wife, Kathy, of Wayland, John and his wife, Lyn, of Westwood, Frederick and his wife, Cushing, of Saco, Maine, Richard and his wife, Joella, of Arlington, Va., and Margaret of Cambridge. He is also survived by six grandchildren, three sisters, and one brother.

A funeral Mass will be held Tuesday, Nov. 27, at 10 a.m. at St. Peterís Church on Concord Avenue in Cambridge.

Donations in Mr. Sampís memory may be made to Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, Boston Unit, 58 Charles St., Cambridge, MA 02141  or to Blessed Sacrament School, 2112 Hollister Ave., Madison, WI 53726
 

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