Samuel Edward Irving, age 89, of Chariton, Iowa, passed away June 16, 2022, in his home. A Celebration of Life will be held on July 1, 2022, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., at the Pierschbacher Funeral Home in Chariton. A time of sharing will follow at 4:00 p.m. Memorials may be made in Sam's name to the Lucas County Fair Association.
Sam was a little impatient making his way into the world on July 1, 1932. Born to Walter and Lois (Askren) Irving, his mother was on her way to the doctor but made it as far as the kitchen doorway before Sam came out. His entrance into the world would be part of many wild adventures he would soon take part in as he grew up. Sam was the middle child of eleven.
Sam grew up in the Melcher area and attended school in Melcher but quit before graduating high school. He had run out of books that kept his interest. He did finish three years worth of math in one year.
While still a teenager, he met and married Joyce Gullion. They had two children, Patty and Tony. Unfortunately, their marriage did not last. He later married the love of his life, Donna Davis on November 28, 1953; together they had two children, Sally Jo and Steve. Sam and Donna were married for sixty-six years.
Due to leaving school early, he started working at a young age. Sam had a variety of jobs (construction, farm hand, rolscreener, trucker, and florist to name a few) before he became a mechanic. While on a truck route, he had driven so long he did not remember driving across the entire state of Nebraska. He knew he needed to make a change and the change led to his florist job. While working at Ross Stobbart’s Floral Shop, he was offered the mechanic job at Phillips 66 and it ended up being his life’s career. But being a mechanic almost did not happen for Sam. Someone from Detroit had noticed him for his master mechanic skills. They offered him a job, but he turned it down. While running the station, he also delivered water and sold feed out of the back room. The station became the hot spot for the students of Garfield Jr. High. To this day, many have memories and stories of Sam and Donna when they went to purchase candy from the station. He had many employees over the years at Irving’s Skelly. They were able to learn hard work, a sense of humor, and work ethic from Sam. Many would come back to visit and keep in touch by including Sam in their family events as the years passed.
Animals were a big part of Sam’s life from early on. Over the years, there were cows, pigs, sheep, peacocks, goats, monkeys, birds, cats, dogs of many kinds (he liked to raise coonhounds for hunting and racing), and especially horses. Sam always wanted a stallion that could produce winners and he did just that. His stallion sired a colt that started its life at Sam’s small acreage and went on to be one of the greatest race horses in South America. He had a variety of horses that were show horses, jumpers, and race horses. Sam and his friends were cowboys at heart. They built a small arena with a cattle chute, so they were able to ride, rope, bulldog, and break horses. To be able to do this, they drove to Texas and bought some Brahma calves. Selling the Brahma bulls is what gave Sam the money to buy the station. In the late 60’s, Sam and his friends built a large arena on the Lucas bottom. They were known as the Lucas Valley Rodeo Association. They put on events to the delight of many horse lovers.
Sam had many interests and talents. He also danced, bowled, played the piano, took guitar lessons, could draw and built a race car for Zeke Sanders. He was also an inventor who never got a patent on any of his ideas. A couple of his ideas were a hood to keep colts’ ears from freezing in the winter, and feeders for horse stalls and goats.
Sam’s grandkids were his everything. Sam loved being a grandpa. He would spend time with his grandkids whenever he could. They would go fishing, ride the tractor, pick up feed, eat peanuts together, eat ice cream at Double Dip, let them pick up car parts on the moped at Napa or City Auto, ride horses (or the horse walker), went to horse auctions, or just hung out together. Before his grandkids were of legal age, he taught them to drive. He even had them buy lottery tickets for him before they were of legal age too. He loved each of his grandchildren fiercely and made each of them feel special.
Sam was preceded in death by his wife, Donna (June 16, 2020); his siblings: Bart, Billy, Carl, Jim, Dick, Dave, Veda (Irving) Peterson, Violet (Irving) Greenslade and Jane (Irving) Fitzgerald; and his son-in-law, Ira Howard.
Sam is survived by his sister Della (Irving) Storm, sister-in-law Mary Ann Irving, brothers-in-law Larry (Mickey) Davis and Fred Davis, sister-in-law Linda Teno, his children: Patty Howard, Tony (Melodee) Irving, Sally Jo (Steve) Loomis, and Steve (Toni) Irving; grandchildren: Heather (James) Bullock, Brett (Laine) Randolph, Kiley (Bryan) Otte, Scott (Sasha) Randolph, Travis Irving, Emily (Mike) Kluender, Chance Burton, Nick (Oren Shtayermman) Irving, and Andy (Jolena) Irving; twenty-four great grandchildren and many extended family members to keep his memory and vivid stories alive.
To send flowers to the family in memory of Sam Irving, please visit our flower store