God called Samuel and Samuel replied, “Here I am, Lord. How can I serve you?” God answered, “Sam, it’s time to come home.”
Sam Chiancola departed this earth at age 95 on November 19, 2016, after a fruitful life, accomplishing many of his goals. Sam was born in Boston, Mass., in 1921 to commercial fishing captain, Salvatore and Mary Chiancola. He was the second son of six siblings, Rose died at age 90, Sally was 98 before being called to heaven, and Charles joined his parents and sisters at age 86.
At age 9, the family moved to Gloucester, Mass., in 1930 where dad continued to fish to support his family. Sam entered the local schools beginning at the fourth grade in the Babson School.
During his teen years, Sam was active as a member of the Hi-Y Boys Club of the YMCA and was its President until 1938. He enjoyed his high school years and when asked what his favorite subject was, without hesitation he named the Jr. ROTC, with history a close second. During his junior year at Gloucester High, Sam was a Cadet Sergeant and drilled the sophomore cadets in the manual of arms and to march in formation. As a senior, he rose in rank from cadet Lieutenant to cadet Major in command of a Battalion. He was also a member of the rifle team.
Sam participated in extra-curricular activities. He joined the History and German Clubs, and was inducted into the National Honor Society and appeared in the Who’s Who column of the high school page of the Gloucester Daily Times. Sam graduated from Gloucester High and received his diploma in 1939.
When the United States entered WWII, Sam joined the U. S. Army Air Force in November 1942. He served as an instructor of Ordnance and Warehouse for the 2nd Air Force B-29 Bomber Groups. Before he was honorably discharged in January 1946, he was assigned to the 2nd Air Force Headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Sam went commercial fishing for several months but found that the life of a fisherman was not for him. As a veteran, he took advantage of the G.I. Bill and entered Curry College in Boston where he received his A.A. degree in Drama. He then applied and was accepted to attend classes at Boston University, School of Education. He was a member of the school’s Fencing Team, choosing the epee as his favorite weapon, and he became very proficient in its use. He received his B.S. degree in Education in 1951.
While commuting on the train to attend classes at B.U., Sam met Joan Tysver, the daughter of fishing captain Oliver and Charlotte Tysver. They soon began dating and were married on August 17, 1952. They raised five children, Sam Jr., who died at age 42, Karen, who became a nurse, Holly, who is CEO of her real estate company, Gregory, who died at age 46, and Tracy, who works for the Babson Financial Institute.
Joan was employed by the New England Gas Company, the Gloucester National Bank, and finally with the AT&T Company where she rose to become a manager in her department.
Before Sam and Joan married, she played professional baseball with the All American Woman’s Professional Baseball League, assigned to the Rockford Peaches as a pitcher. Her name is listed in the roster of women players in Coopersville’s Hall of Fame. With 40 years of married life behind them, Joan passed away at age 62 from breast cancer and is at rest at the family plot in Calvary Cemetery.
While attending college, Sam and a group of friends, interested in the theatre, organized a theatrical group called “The Cape Ann Theatre Group.” The group performed several plays and musicals until marriages shut down the Guild. Sam served as their director.
Sam was employed by the Gloucester School Department and was assigned to teach Social Studies at the old Grammar School. When the school closed, he taught at the Fuller Middle School and finally taught at the O’Maley Middle School until his retirement after serving the youths of the community for 31 years.
During his teaching years, Sam was head of the Social Studies Department for several years. He was the only teacher to become President of both the Gloucester Federation of Teachers and the Gloucester Teachers Association.
Sam married Lorene M. (Ooley) Burhman, daughter of Raymond and Florence Ooley of Grand Island, Neb., in 1993. They met while Sam was stationed at the U.S. Air Base. They had not seen each other for over 40 years until they were reunited in 1981. Lorene’s husband died at an early age and she was a widow for 17 years. Lorene had three sons, Douglas Buhrman who died at age 62, Dennis lives with his wife, Katy, in Washington State, and David, the youngest, who died at age 52.
Lorene and Sam made their home in Florida. Sam was a member of the Naples Elks and the two of them went dancing every Friday and Saturday night. Sam was also an active member of the Knights of Columbus. He was Grand Knight twice with the St. Elizabeth Seton Council and with the St. William Council. He also enjoyed serving St. William Church as a Eucharistic Minister and Alter Server for many years.
Sam leaves behind his loving wife, Lorene, three daughters, and many loving grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be on Thursday, December 1, from 2 to 5 p.m. at Fuller Funeral Home, 1625 Pine Ridge Road, Naples, FL. Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Friday, December 2, at 1 p.m. at St. William Catholic Church, 601 Seagate Drive, Naples, FL. Inurnment with military honors will be at a later date in Gloucester, Mass. For online condolences, please visit .