On August 1, 2023, Merle Andrew Samples went home to be with the Lord at the age of 75 after a hard-fought battle with cancer came to an end with his loving family by his side.
Merle was preceded in death by his father, Lee Samples Jr., mother Louise Samples, and sister René Samples.
Surviving Merle is his wife, Judy Samples, his two children, Travis Samples (Susan) and Trinia Carter (Brian), his two sisters Debbie Holtzclaw (Ricky) and Linda Bennett (Douglas), and his four grandchildren, Bailey Samples, Logan Samples (Ella), Emma Samples and Lierin Cudd.
Born to Lee and Louise Samples on September 16, 1947, Merle grew up in Gainesville and eventually moved to Forsyth County. Merle was always known as a hardworking, honest man. From his teenage years until the age of 73, Merle worked in various professions ranging from pouring concrete, working at the Mar-Jac Feed Mill, and capping it off working in the Forsyth County School system, all of where he earned the respect of his colleagues with his gritty work ethic. For the last 15 years of his career, Merle was the head custodian at Coal Mountain Elementary, where he befriended all the teachers, and the young students absolutely adored him. Mr. Merle, as they called him, was a Coal Mountain legend. He touched the lives of many a child that passed through the halls.
At his core, Merle was a simple, genuine man. He found the joys of life in the small things, such as a morning cup of coffee on the back porch, tending to his lively garden and plants, hopping on the lawn mower and cutting his grass, and conversation and fellowship with anyone he ever met. At any given time, driving by the house you might have seen Merle doing an array of activities, as he never was one to stop working and loved being outside.
Despite being a handy man, an outdoorsman, and passionate Braves fan, what stood out the most about Merle and what he will be remembered for is his deeply rooted Faith in Christ and his love for family and those around him. He was a member of Crossroads Baptist Church. Merle embodied what it meant to be family oriented. As the cornerstone for the Samples family, he always did what was best for others before looking out for himself. Merle always strived to see the best in everyone and was willing to give anyone the benefit of the doubt, because he believed in everyone around him. He had never met a stranger, and Merle treated anyone and everyone like family. He truly would give the shirt off his back to anyone. Humble. Selfless. Genuine. Loving. Just a few words that don’t hardly come close to doing justice in defining how wonderful of a man Merle was to know.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, August 5, 2023 at 1 o’clock at Crossroads Baptist Church. Rev. Clark Watson, Rev. Donnie Nix, and Rev. Rex Byrd will officiate. Interment will follow in the church cemetery.
The family will receive friends Friday from 12 noon until 3 and from 5 until 8. They will receive friends on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 12 noon, all at the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Crossroads Baptist Church, c/o Andrew Grindle, 6645 Grindle Road, Gainesville, GA 30506.
Condolences may be expressed at www.beardenfuneralhome.com.
Bearden Funeral Home, Dawsonville, GA.