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A word about Sam Messiter

                 SAMUEL J. MESSITER: August 26, 1928 - September 27, 2011

It is with great sadness that we must inform you of the passing of Samuel
(Sambo) Messiter.  Sam died at his home in Pawlet, VT on Tuesday September 27,
2011, with his family at his side.  He was stricken with pancreatic cancer, and it progressed very quickly.

Sam was born on August 26, 1928 in New York, NY and attended Horace Mann School. He
graduated from Tufts University in Boston/Medford, MA, where he also competed
for the Tufts track team. 

Sam enjoyed a long career as an advertising sales
representative in New York.  Later in his career, he moved to Vermont, where
he commuted back to New York via his own private plane. 

In retirement, Sam continued to keep himself very busy, always involving himself
in his children and grandchildren's lives.  Sam also continued to keep fit
and athletic by playing tennis, jogging and skiing. 

In 2003 Sam decided to return to track and field as a way to enjoy fitness
as well as make and keep more lifelong friendships.  Being a successful javelin
thrower in college he made the decision to pick up the event again, an easy one. 
Before long, Sam was back in his old form, throwing the spear farther than anyone
his age, and many younger.  But, he didn't stop there. Sam added the discus,
hammer, shot put and weight throw to his repertoire. 

Just as with the javelin, Sam excelled at these throwing events, winning meets throughout New England, the east and around the country; but just winning wasn't good enough.  His daily throwing practices were conducted under the watchful eye of his good friend and coach, Mark Putnam, of Dorset, VT.  To further improve his performances, Sam also sought out coaching from notable coaches, such as Carl Wallin, Luke Hotte  of Middlebury College, former javelin world record holder Tom Petranoff, and others.  Sam’s hard practice and dedication to throwing earned him recognition as both a national and world ranked thrower, right up to his final competitions in the summer of 2011. 

In addition to being a great thrower, Sam enjoyed lifting weights. Understanding that the added strength would increase his throwing performances, he maintained a strict program of weight training, in Manchester, VT near his home.  At The Manchester Gym, he was again trained by, and worked out with Mark Putnam, performing all aspect of weight training, plyometric (speed) training and cardiovascular conditioning.  Regularly, Sam and Mark traveled to Lebanon, NH to train with Carl Wallin and other members of Thor’s Stone Athletic Club.                 


Here again, Sam showed his great athletic ability.  On April 3, 2011 he competed in his first
sanctioned raw (no wraps) powerlifting competition in Burlington, VT. 
On that day, Sam absolutely wowed the crowd by setting age-group weight-class
world records in the squat, bench press, deadlift, and total combined lifts.  That day, at the age of 82, Sam successfully deadlifted an astonishing 303 pounds! 

His lifting accomplishments were so incredible, that he was interviewed by local
and regional television reporters.  Those interviews with Sam can be found by
Googling: "Samuel Messiter powerlifting".  Subsequently, he was also invited
to meet with the Vermont Governor, and others, at a gathering to discuss
fitness and aging in Vermont.  Sam continued to weight train, getting ever-stronger,
right up to the day he couldn't lift weights, because of the pain.     

Sam will always be remembered for his wonderful greeting "Hi, I'm Uncle Sam!",
when asked "How are you, Sam?", by responding, "Vertical", and when asked how
old he was, by replying, "I'm so old, I have varicose teeth!".  Whenever
Sam attended a throwing competition, it wasn't just a competition, it was
a social event; always greeting old friends with a big smile, a hug, and bit of
his wry humor.  He also made it a point to make new friends at every meet and Sam always kept in touch with each and every one of his friends on a regular basis.  

We all looked forward to our next installment of humor and insight from Sam Messiter.                          

But, we mustn’t forget about the finer aspects of Samuel Messiter’s personality.  Sam was a private pilot owning his own small plane & having a license to fly right up to his time of death.  For a time, Sam had a Dixieland band, giving performances upon his fire engine.  He loved classical music, and knew everything about it.  Sam was also a writer, who loved to compose poetry.  A book of Sam’s works was published a few years back.  Sam loved to read and learn each and every day, continually improving his mind, and he always delighted in an intellectual conversation with those whom he engaged; of course, after the usual greetings and humor. 

This wonderful man touched so very many lives, and every life he touched was enriched
because of it.  It was almost as if as if being a weightlifter and track & field thrower was Sam's perfect ticket to fulfill his quest for everlasting youth, spreading happiness, and creating broader smiles on the faces of those he encountered.  We already miss you, Sam, and your absence will be felt in the weight room and at every throwing competition for years to come.                                                     

"Love ya, Baby!" 



Anyone wishing to honor Sam, may make a donation in Sam’s memory by sending a check to the following scholarship fund that Sam set up before his death, to honor Carl Wallin’s dedication to track and field athletes at Dartmouth College, as well as anyone who sought out Carl’s expertise in the throws events:

Make checks payable to: Trustees of Dartmouth College, with a note on bottom of check: The Carl J. Wallin Scholarship Fund                                                                                                 

Send checks to:                                            

Dartmouth College Gift Planning Office                                                                                                                                 

6066 Development Office 

Hanover, NH  03755


Submitted by: Mark Putnam