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Samuel R. Combs, R.I.P.

Posted by Richard on August 17, 2006

Samuel Raymond Combs, Col. (Retired), United States Army

passed away on August 16 at University Hospital in Knoxville, TN, at age 89. Col. Combs is survived by his wife, Dorothy, son Richard Combs of Denver, CO, daughters Margo Walsh of Punta Gorda, FL, and Linda Palmer of Alcoa, TN, three grandchildren, Tom and Brian Presnell of Alcoa and Kim Beard of Jupiter, FL, and three great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by wife Margo, the mother of his children, who died in 1973, and wife Mary who died in 2004.

Col. Combs was born on September 11, 1916, in Joplin, Missouri. He grew up in Colorado, graduating from Glenwood Springs High School, where he was president of the senior class. He received a degree in Economics from Colorado State University, where he played football and basketball.

After Pearl Harbor, Col. Combs volunteered for the Army, becoming a 2nd Lieutenant in the Signal Corps, and was later sent to Boston College for training in Civil Affairs and Military Government. He landed at Omaha Beach a few days after D-Day, serving with the Seventh Army, 36th Infantry Division. After the collapse of Germany, he served in Military Government and Army Civil Affairs assignments in Heidelberg, Vienna, Berlin, and the German state of Hesse.

Col. Combs also served in the Korean War, where he had troop commands. His military career included various Signal Corps assignments in the United States and overseas. He was an Assistant Professor of Military Science at the University of Tennessee from 1961-64, and decided to make Knoxville his home. His last assignment before retirement in 1968 was Division Chief and Deputy Commander of the Lexington Bluegrass Army Depot in Kentucky.

Col. Combs’ decorations include the Legion of Merit, Defense Department and Army Department Commendation Medals, Military Order of Scabbard and Blade, and four Battle Stars. He was a longtime member of Church Street United Methodist Church, and also attended Central Baptist Church of Bearden. He was a member of the Elks, American Legion, Retired Officers Association, Military Order of World Wars, and Sertoma.

Funeral service 4:00 p.m. Saturday at Rose Mortuary Mann Heritage Chapel with Rev. William J. Fowler and Dr. Larry Fields officiating. Family and friends will meet at the main entrance to Highland Memorial Cemetery by 1:45 p.m. Sunday for a 2:00 p.m. graveside service with full military honors presented by the Volunteer State Veterans Honor Guard. The family will receive friends from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Saturday at Rose Mortuary Mann Heritage Chapel.

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4 Responses to “Samuel R. Combs, R.I.P.”

  1. T F Stern said

    We will keep you and your family in our thoughts.

  2. DirtCrashr said

    Godspeed Col. Combs!

  3. zombyboy said

    My prayers and thoughts are with you and your family.

    He sounds like he was an impressive man.

  4. Anonymous said

    Thank you all — I really appreciate it.

    I should note an error above, which I’ve now corrected. My dad was born September 11, not September 16.

    The error was his — he wrote his own obituary a couple of years ago, and I began with that and just edited it down (his version was quite long). I looked at it numerous times, my sisters looked at it, and none of us noticed that he had the wrong birthday until we saw it in the paper.

    I’m sure it was inadvertent, but I think I understand the reason. My dad stopped celebrating his birthday in 2001. He said that September 11 was no longer a fit date for celebrating.

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