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Obituary: Samuel James Silvas

Beloved father, avid hunter, traveler, published author

Sam Silvas, resident of Claremont for 22 years, died March 8. He was 57 years old.

Born on June 5, 1964 and raised in Lincoln, California, Sam graduated in 1982 from Lincoln High School where he was elected senior class president and “Knight of the Night.”

He went on to earn his B.S. in business administration from California State University, Chico in 1987. Shortly thereafter, he discovered his true passion was writing, which he pursued until the final days of his life. He eventually attended St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California, as an inaugural member of its master of fine arts program. He earned his MFA in creative writing in 1997.

In 1998, he met Tamra Horton while both were teaching English at American River College in Sacramento. The couple moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, so that she could complete her graduate degree. While there, he worked as a sportswriter for Louisiana Football Magazine, covering high school and college athletics throughout the state. As a result of this experience, he became a lifelong Louisiana State University Tigers fan.

The couple relocated to Claremont in 2000 when Tamra began teaching at a local community college. Their daughter, Hadley Silvas, was born in 2003, and there began his most engaged years in Claremont. He helped coach Hadley’s teams over the many years she played in Little League, Fast Pitch, AYSO, and CYB. In 2014 he was elected to the Condit Elementary School Site Council. Sam was Hadley’s biggest fan, always in the stands for her softball games and water polo matches at Claremont High School.

The family spent the 2014-2015 academic year in Warsaw, Poland while Ms. Horton was teaching there. During this year in Poland, he shepherded his family on visits to 41 cities in 18 countries.

Always writing, in 2016 his short story collection, “Stanton, California,” was published. Based on his experiences growing up in small-town Lincoln, the collection was nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

His love for hunting began as a young boy with his father, first with a rifle and later with a bow. His annual hunting trips to Chester, California with his dad and their fellow hunters were a highlight for him each year.

Many people amass a collection of some sort during their lifetimes. Sam collected friends. He remained in close contact with people he knew from kindergarten through his days at college and those he met along the way in other states and then countries. He was well-known for calling someone out of the blue just to catch up.

“Of the dozens and dozens of condolences we have received, a constant refrain has been that people truly appreciated his lasting commitment to their friendship,” his family said.
Sam died at Pomona Valley Hospital from complications due to COVID-19, despite being vaccinated and boosted.

“Those who knew him would say he was one in a million,” Ms. Horton said. “Unfortunately, he is now one of a million people in this country lost too soon to COVID-19.”

He is survived by his mother, Adell Silvas, and sister, Tracy Silvas, both of Lincoln, California.

He also leaves behind the woman who referred to him simply as “the love of her life,” Tamra Horton, and his daughter, Hadley Silvas.

All four women are devastated by his sudden passing.

A memorial will be held at 5 p.m. Friday, May 20 at The Woman’s Club of Claremont, 343 W. 12th St., Claremont 91711.

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