February 5, 1945 - October 20, 2021
Samuel Cullen Raines was born on February 5, 1945, in Miami, Arizona. Raised in the petite and dogwood-filled East Texas town of Palestine, he was the only child of Archie Raines and Effie Marie Gibson, both preceding him in death. He was raised among a large and doting family all within the same town with frequent family potlucks, hunting and fishing trips, and long back yard visits sipping iced tea catching up. Sam’s only dream as a child was to grow up to be a soldier. A Renaissance man, Sam lived his life with an immeasureable zest and positivity. Every meal eaten, every trip, each person, every hobby, was excellent, to use his word. He embraced each day with compliments and excitement. He was a history buff, recited poetry, enjoyed older music, was fascinated by the weather, was featured in a Tom Clancy book, and even interviewed by Connie Chung for an evening news program. The hotter the food, the more he enjoyed it. Sam was an Eagle Scout and ultimately appointed to the Order of the Arrow. A 1963 graduate of Palestine High School, Sam was an accomplished football player, class president, student council president, elected to attend Texas Boy’s State, and appointed Most Representative Boy his senior year. He was appointed to the military academy at West Point, but a football injury prevented him from attending. He was also a camp counselor for children with disabilities in Colorado two summers; it was here he had his first pizza ever! College brought new leadership opportunities for Sam, including the national service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega and the social fraternity of Phi Delta Theta. He formed a skydiving club in college. After a nearly completed college education, Sam felt the aching call to serve his country. Awarded a class date to begin Naval Flight School at NAS Pensacola in Florida, Sam was given other options to serve his country. It was at this time, Sam was introduced to Special Operations and the clandestine world. Ultimately, the military afforded him the opportunity to obtain two Bachelors’ degrees, two Masters’ degrees, and Doctoral work in National Security in addition to being designated as US Fellow to study International Security in England. Sam’s career in the United States Army began as an enlisted soldier before later attending Officer Candidate School. His monumental thirty-year career in the military included designations in high altitude parachuting, Airborne Pathfinder and Ranger, type ratings in thirteen different fixed and rotary wing aircraft, and Green Beret. His many awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, 3 Legion of Merits, 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 3 Bronze Stars (2 with combat V), 30 Air Medals (2 with combat V), and 4 Purple Hearts. During the First Gulf War, he commanded the largest Combat Engineer Brigade assembled since WWII. Sam served three tours in Vietnam. He was shot down three times, escaped a POW camp, had a bounty on his head by the enemy, and once survived a day and night breathing through bamboo in a swamp. He credits Tobasco for his survival through the war. He retired in 1995, after a final assignment at the White House, serving under two Presidents as the Director of the White House Contingency Programs. After retiring from the Army, he began a second career leading a team of retired service people from the Secret Service, CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency, FBI, and National Security Council, as they supported national security interests of not only our government but friendly foreign governments. After his official retirement in 2008 and a final move to Bellingham, WA, to follow his grandchildren and live in the land of Christmas trees, Sam and Carol joined Assumption Catholic Church, where he served as a Eucharistic Minister, was a member of the Parish Council and funeral committee and achieved his 4th Degree in the Knights of Columbus. He enjoyed many hobbies and always went all in. He grew hot peppers, became an orchid caretaker, built model airplanes, made stained glass artwork, collected sea glass and fossils, and created mixed media 3D art canvases. He was an avid reader and enjoyed a true epicurean lifestyle through smoking meats and grilling often. In June 1969, he married the love of his life Carol Faye Farley of Clifton Forge, Virginia. She brought a different southern accent to the table, a homemade biscuit recipe, and together they traveled around the world more than once. In 1973, they welcomed their only child Amy Samantha while stationed in Alabama. Their rich and adventure-filled 52yr marriage began in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and concluded in Bellingham, WA. Sam became an Opa in 2002 with the birth of his grandson, and he thought being an Opa was the absolute most rewarding opportunity he had. He never missed a game or a chance for ice cream and sleepovers and advice. There was not a conversation with either friend or stranger where he didn’t find a way to sneak in pride in his grandchildren’s accomplishments. Sam will be profoundly missed by those who survive him; wife Carol Faye, daughter Amy, (Tony Zender), his two favorite grandchildren Leland and Lena, his precious toy poodle Ruthie, and granddog Hobbs, and numerous cousins. Throughout his last weeks, Sam maintained he was just an East Texas boy who wanted to be a soldier and is ready to be with his comrades. Funeral Mass will be held privately, with a full military honors burial in Arlington National Cemetery as soon as possible. Family kindly requests that if any donations wish to be made, please consider a donation to Whatcom Hospice House in Sam’s honor.
Samuel Cullen Raines was born on February 5, 1945, in Miami, Arizona. Raised in the petite and dogwood-filled East Texas town of Palestine, he was the only child of Archie Raines and Effie Marie Gibson, both preceding him in death. He was raised... View Obituary & Service Information
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