Lt. Col. John Samuel “Sam” Anderson, 89, born January 14, 1935, died February 6, 2024, in Anderson, SC. He was the son of the late John Robert and Lydia Laurine Smith Anderson. He was predeceased by his loving wife, Carol McCombs Anderson, and his sister, Patricia Anderson Cox. Survivors include his beloved family; daughter, Debra Anne Culwell (Jim) and son, John Samuel Anderson, Jr. (Toni); two grandchildren, John Robert Culwell (Sarah) and Emmylou Alayna Wilkes; his niece, Kathryn Cox; his sister-in-law, Jane McCombs; as well as numerous brothers- and sisters-in law, nieces and nephews. He was previously married to JoAnne Farmer Anderson.
Having lettered in four sports at Belton High School, he enjoyed participating/watching sports activities throughout his life. He was the quarterback and co-captain of his football team. He was a 1957 graduate of The Citadel where he was the tennis team captain both his junior and senior years. In addition, he was the commander of the elite Summerall Guard drill team.
He proudly served 20 years in the U.S. Air Force as a dual rated master navigator and electronic warfare officer. His combat experience earned him a number of awards and decorations to include the Distinguished Flying Cross, seven Air Medals, four Bronze Stars (with Valor), The Presidential Unit citation and various achievement medals. He spent the last half of his Air Force career in the Tactical Reconnaissance Center (Shaw AFB) and the Tactical Air Warfare Center (Eglin AFB) involved with developing and testing electronic warfare concepts, tactics and acquiring new weapon systems. One of his last significant contributions involved the operational test and evaluation of the first tactical strike drone conducted in the southwestern U.S. and jointly with the German Air Force in Europe. He also was instrumental in publishing the first Tactical Electronic Warfare manual.
As a civilian he was president and general manager of the Belton Bottling Company, Belton, SC, a consultant to Pepsi Cola, leasing manager at Sullivan Buick, a realtor and licensed residential and commercial appraiser.
Upon retirement, he enjoyed working out with his wife and friends at the YMCA, working with Habitat for Humanity (also a Board Member), traveling, and vacationing at the Isle of Palms. He served as an elder at Central Presbyterian Church as well as at the Belton Presbyterian Church where he also served on the Building Committee for the current church.
Sam was an officer and a gentleman and never met a stranger.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, February 10, 2024, at 2:00 pm, at Central Presbyterian Church, Anderson, SC. The family will received friends immediately following the service. Entombment will be at The Citadel Columbarium located at The Thomas Dry Howie Bell Tower, Charleston, SC, in the near future.
Memorials may be made to The Anderson Area YMCA, 201 East Reed St, Anderson SC 29621, or The Citadel Foundation, 171 Moultrie St, Charleston, SC 29409-6230.