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It is with profound sadness that we announce that Sam’s remarkable life ended quietly and peacefully on December 1, 2021. The date was significant, as it was four days shy of the 70th anniversary of his arrival in Canada at Pier 21 from war-torn Europe.

Sam was born on March 14, 1931 to ethnic German parents in a small village in Ukraine, the second eldest of four children. His early life was characterized by survival challenges related to the tumult of WW II, which created unimaginable hardships for the family.

Sam made his way to Alberta for employment, but harboured a dream of owning a small hotel and pub, which required Canadian citizenship along with English conversational skills. Upon acquiring citizenship in September 1958 he became the youngest recipient of a liquor license in the province, and fulfilled his dream of rural hotel ownership.

In 1968 he made his way to Banff, where the mountain environment cast its spell for the next half century. He operated or developed a lengthy list of real estate ventures, both independently and with partners, most often his brother Richard. The businesses initially focused on hotel / motel operation, but later expanded to a more diverse blend of commercial and residential development. His endeavours altered the built landscape of Banff in a significant manner.

A true entrepreneur in every sense, it was Sam’s gift as a visionary that would shape many future projects, often not until years later. Along with a warm smile and powerful handshake, his business dealings were characterized by integrity and honesty. His personality allowed him to see opportunities rather than obstacles. Throughout his career, and long before he heard the word ‘mentor’, he was sought after on countless occasions by aspiring young business talent soliciting his advice, always given freely and honestly.

Later years provided time and opportunity to quietly pursue a wide-ranging of philanthropic interests that yielded tremendous satisfaction. He was fundamentally a gentle soul with a big heart that personified a life well lived. Sam enjoyed wide ranging travel interests, along with various activities including golf and cycling, and a profound love of his mountain home. By any measure, to have lived a long and diverse life with so few regrets is an impressive accomplishment. He was humbled, and tremendously proud, to be honoured with membership as a Fellow in the Royal Canadian Geographic Society in 2018.

Sam is survived by his wife of 67 years, Alice, and their daughter, Betty. He is also survived by his brother Richard (Gertrud) of Banff, and sister Emma (Herbert) in Germany, along with their extended families. He shared his life, and his heart, with a parade of dogs that he stated enriched his life in immeasurable ways.

Sam loved Christmas, from the lights and music to food and family gatherings. As we navigate the challenges of his loss through the festive season, hearing ‘Little Drummer Boy’, his favourite carol, will require turning up the volume.

The family acknowledges, with sincere appreciation, the compassionate care provided by his team of health professionals. In keeping with Sam’s wishes, cremation has taken place, and no formal service will be held. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to support the important work of the Palliative Care Society of the Bow Valley. (

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