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RIP Ferrol Sams

My wife got a message that Dr. Ferrol Sams passed away overnight; he was 90 years old. Some of you may know of his great, humorous southern literature. He was a native of Fayette County and an all around southern gentleman. He attended Mercer, served in WWII in the Medical Corps, Graduated from Emory Medical School and practiced medicine with his wife Helen until they retired in 2006!


  • IndianLagoonIndianLagoon Posts: 1,890 Captain
    For those interested, here is an article from Georgia Magazine written at his retirement several years back:

    “There’s nothing like 5 acres of cotton and two milk cows to make a man want an education,” he says.
  • ducknfishducknfish Posts: 3,821 Officer

    Ferris is slacking again
  • BayBobBayBob Posts: 865 Officer
    This weekend I ran across my collection of his books and thought it would be good to re-read them. His Run with the Horsemen is one of my all time favorites.
    He came across as a true southern gentleman and one heck of a writer about and of the south.
  • trout069trout069 Posts: 5,360 Admiral
    was in his presence one time didnt relize.enjoy is southern writing better than some newer ones.he understood southern english and could paint a picture without creating new words and passing them off as something we only used down here.
  • FamilyfisherFamilyfisher Posts: 3,103 Captain
    BayBob wrote: »
    This weekend I ran across my collection of his books and thought it would be good to re-read them. His Run with the Horsemen is one of my all time favorites.
    He came across as a true southern gentleman and one heck of a writer about and of the south.

    Loved that book! The description of the hog killin', etc. was great!
    Proverbs 13:3
  • Old DogOld Dog Posts: 558 Officer
    Dr. Ferrol Sams Jr., 90: Classic author, southern humorist, Fayetteville physician

    Dr. Ferrol Sams’ career as a writer began in 1982, with his book “Run with the Horsemen.”
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    By Michelle E. Shaw
    Dr. Ferrol Sams Jr., a country physician known among friends for his freely offered opinions and among his readers for his novels, died Tuesday.
    The cause of death, according to his son, Dr. Ferrol Sams III, was complications from being “slap-clean wore out.”
    Sams, who lived in Fayetteville, was 90.

    All who knew Ferrol Sams Jr., were aware he did not pull punches. With patients and in his writings, Sams said what was on his mind, said Jim Minter, a long-time friend and former Atlanta Journal-Constitution editor.

    “He was a character,” Minter said with a laugh. “He could shock you a bit.”
    Sams inherited his larger-than-life personality from his father, a Fayette County cotton farmer, who gave him the nickname” ****.” Raised on his father’s farm, Sams enrolled at Mercer University around his 16th birthday, aiming to become a doctor.

    One of his English professors however, suggested he might explore writing. But with his heart fixed on medicine, Sams forged ahead with his plans. After Mercer he had begun medical school at Emory when his studies were interrupted by World War II. He served as a medic in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, landing at Normandy a month after D-Day.
    After his military service, Sams returned to Emory and married a fellow med school student, the former Helen Fletcher, in 1949. He graduated in 1950 and he and his wife ran a medical clinic in Fayetteville from 1951 until they retired in 2006.

    Sams practiced medicine for more than four decades before he launched his writing career. But in the ‘70s, when he began thinking about what would become his first novel, he recalled what his Mercer English professor, Fred Jones, told him decades before.

    “Dr. Jones set me on fire,” Sams said in a 2012 AJC interview. “He told us, ‘Don’t write a story about the streets of Paris if you’ve never been out of Valdosta.’ Growing up, there was no TV, no radio — just long summer afternoons when my grandmother would receive visitors and longer summer nights on the front porch with my grandfather telling stories about how life used to be.”
    That first book, “Run With the Horsemen,” published in 1982, became the first of a trilogy. His bibliography includes: “The Whisper of the River,” published in 1984, and “When All the World was Young,” published in 1991, which completed the trilogy; plus other novels and story collections.

    “He was a masterful storyteller” said Chuck Perry, who edited all of Sams’ books except his debut. “I was a book publisher for 15 years, but I had to work harder to edit **** than any other writer. The reason for that is his intellect was so deep and broad, that I had to study up to understand references and illusions.”
    Perry said Sams’ vocabulary was so expansive, he often had to ask what some words meant.

    “I’d say, ‘****, that word is not in my dictionary,” said the former AJC night managing editor. “And he’d pull out his 1927 Webster’s and show me the word. He was just so smart.”
    Sams doubled as a physician and writer for nearly three decades, but neither suffered for the other, said Minter.

    “I do not think he ever thought to give up his practice for writing, because the doctor was what he was, and he was a **** good doctor,” Minter said. “But he was also a very, very good writer.”
    Funeral plans are incomplete, but the service is expected to be held Friday at Fayetteville First United Methodist Church. Carl J. Mowell & Son Funeral Home, Fayetteville is in charge of arrangements.

    In addition to his wife and son, Sams is survived by daughter, Ellen Nichol; sons, Jim Sams and Fletcher Sams, all of Fayetteville; eight grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
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