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Deacon Sam Spears, Jr.
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Obituary for Deacon Sam Spears, Jr.

Deacon Sam Spears, Jr., affectionately known as “PopPop,” was born on June 28, 1941 in Elizabethtown, NC to the late Sam Spears, Sr. and Beatrice Bethea-Spears. Sam transitioned to his heavenly home on Friday, April 13, 2018, after a lengthy illness.

Sam spent his early years growing up on a farm in rural Florence, SC and as one of thirteen children, was educated in the Florence County School system, graduating from Wilson High School in the Class of ’59. Sam stayed in Florence, SC upon graduation for a time before joining his brother, George in New Jersey in 1963.

It was in Elizabeth, New Jersey where Sam was introduced to and later married Whilameda LaVerne Cranford, and they united in Holy Matrimony on February 5, 1966. After enjoying time with their practice children, niece, Teri Anita and nephew, George Christopher, to his union three children were born: Twonna Lynn, Tina LaSharne, and Samuel Kevin. Sam and Whilameda made their family home in Roselle, NJ, where they resided for over 25 years. The family moved to Linden and Avenel before settling in their current hometown of Edison, NJ.

Sam was employed briefly alongside his brother, George at Snitzer-Alloy Products Company in Elizabeth, NJ before going to work at Simmons Bedding Company, also in Elizabeth. Sam was a craftsman by trade, applying his skills in the sofa “hide-a-bed” department, a position he maintained for over 30 years before the company relocated to Greensboro, NC. Always the consistent provider, Sam chose to commute to the NC plant from NJ on a bi-weekly basis for close to a year prior to leaving the company altogether.

Later in life, Sam began working as a maintenance repairer for the State of New Jersey at the Woodbridge Developmental Center in Woodbridge. Sam maintained this position for 22 years, before retiring in 2012.

Sam and his family united with the Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church in 1972 upon relocating to Roselle, and he immediately became busy for the Lord. Sam was a member of the Senior Usher Board and served throughout the years as President and Vice-President. Sam was ordained a Baptist Deacon at Bethlehem in 1982 and was Vice-Chairman at times throughout his tenure, serving his pastor, church and ministries faithfully until his health began to fail.

Sam enjoyed people and was a happy spirit, one who engaged everyone he met in conversation. He was particular about his annual family trips back to his hometown of Florence, SC, making sure the family slept “ready-roll” and “hit the floor” when it was time to depart. Sam watched every repeat western that came across the television and did so with his beloved pet Denzel, by his side.

A simple man from simple beginnings, Sam’s legacy is not to sweat the small stuff and leave everything else to the good Lord.

Besides his parents, Sam was predeceased by his brother, George Spears; sisters: Estelle Hyman and Rosa King; sister-in-law, Ella Mae Spears; brothers-in-law: Calvin Bethea, Frank Ellerbe, and Harold Nelson; and nephew, Ronald Spears, Sr.

Sam leaves to cherish his memory his loving wife of 52 years, Whilameda Spears: children: Twonna L. Spears and Tina L. Spears of Edison, NJ, Samuel (LaToya) Spears of Kenilworth, NJ and Rev. Gilbert C. Young, Jr. of Linden, NJ; grandchildren: Ashley Lauren Weeks, Khayre LaVar Spears, Khayla Janae Spears, Caleb Elijah Spears, Jason Vincent Hill, Rashaan Jackson and Javar Dandridge; four sisters: Mary Sue Bethea, Florene Ellerbe, Mildred Nelson and Evelena S. (Tommy) Godbold; five brothers: Rollie (Jessie Mae) Spears, Johnny L. Spears, Charles (Carrie) Spears, Harry (Jackie) Spears and Harry Joe Scott; godchildren: George Christopher Spears, Ronald Edward Spears, Jr., Asia Johnson and Erica Robinson; mother-in-law, Mary E. Cranford; sister-in-law, Juanita (Jackie) Terry; and a host of other nieces, nephews, cousins, relatives and friends.


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Previous Events

Visitation

Friday

20

Apr

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church

1002 Rivington Street
Rev. Milton A. Byrd Plaza
Roselle, NJ 07203

Service

Friday

20

Apr

11:00 AM
Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church

1002 Rivington Street
Rev. Milton A. Byrd Plaza
Roselle, NJ 07203

Cemetery Details

Location

Rosehill Cemetery

792 E. Edgar Road
Linden, NJ 07036

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