Bruce Avedis Samoore
He was a gift to all of us. A good man, larger than life,
who left his mark on the lives of everyone he met.
Bruce Avedis Samoore was born in Benton Harbor, Michigan on October 24, 1932. He grew up in Jacksonville, Illinois; a city he loved.
As a 12 year old, he raced in the soap box derby. In fact, the car he built can still be seen at the Jacksonville History Museum. After winning in Jacksonville, he went on to race in the Nationals in Akron, Ohio.
He graduated from Jacksonville High School and attended Illinois College until he was called to serve his country during the Korean conflict with the United States Army. He was stationed in Munich, Germany with the occupying forces.
After returning from his tour, he met his wife of sixty-seven years. As the band played “May I Have This Dance for the Rest of Your Life” fate brought them together. Love kept them together. They became team Bruce and Barb; no one thought of one without the other.
Bruce and Barb have been blessed with three children: Elizabeth Ann, Andrew Arthur Setrak (wife, Christine Sonsthagen), and Kara Lee; four grandchildren: Brionna Harder (husband, Chris Rybisky), Eryn, Casey, and Marcos; four great-grandchildren: Madison, Gabriella, Vivienne, and Ben, who were Bruce’s pride and joy.
He loved every moment of his teaching and coaching career. His professional journey began at Grant High School in Fox Lake, Illinois in 1956. Arlington Heights became his new stomping grounds in 1965; where he taught for twenty-eight years. When Arlington High School closed, he was moved to Rolling Meadows where he finished his teaching career.
Never happy with the way things had always been done; he was progressive and innovative in all endeavors. He began the Cross-Country Program at Grant High School and wrote a manual on the development of summer training programs for distance runners.
He was a loyal Bulldog, an avid Cardinal, and a feisty Mustang. He trained countless young men not only in track and field but in life itself. His students were like his own children.
His success as a cross country coach culminated in 1967 when his Cardinals beat the unbeatable team and won the Illinois State Cross Country Championship. He took the first all-star high school track team to Germany in 1969. He never really retired but became a Big 10 Track and Field official.
Outstanding Young Men of America selected Bruce to be included in their archives. In 1982 he was inducted into the Illinois Track Coaches Hall of Fame.
Never one to slow down, at age sixty, he earned his pilot’s license and purchased a plane.
His calling was genealogy. In 1998, he found our long-lost daughter, Debra Lee (husband, Paul Harder). The Harders have added so much joy to our lives; we are so blessed we found them.
In 2010, he became a member of the Spooner Area Honor Guard in Wisconsin, serving at the funerals of hundreds of servicemen.
He found joy in serving others and continued to do so until his death.
A real lover of all creatures, great and small, there was never a shortage of four legged friends in his home.
Thank the Universe for loaning us this great man. A man who never prayed in public but walked the walk that Jesus taught.
Bruce is preceded in death by his parents, Della and Arthur; stepmother, Rhoda; sister, Frances and her husband, Jerry Omundson; and Bruce and Barb’s infant daughter, Kara Lee.
Memorial Gathering: 2 – 5 pm, Sunday, August 7, 2022 at Staab Funeral Home – Springfield.
Memorial Service: 10:30 am, Monday, August 8, 2022 at Staab Funeral Home – Springfield. Burial will follow at Camp Butler National Cemetery where military honors will be conducted.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the IL High School Association, Planned Parenthood or simply plant a tree in memory of Bruce.
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