Samuel John Dock Jr. was born in Lancaster County, PA, on March 31, 1931 to Marguerite and Samuel Dock. He grew up in Mt. Joy, PA and had a life-long love of that community and many happy memories. His father was station agent for the Pennsylvania railroad for over thirty years. Sam spent a lot of time with his father at the railroad station during the WWII years and that was an enduring part of his memories.
Sam was born with innate mathematical skills. He attended elementary school and graduated for Mt. Joy High School. He was president of his senior class, a member of the National Honor Society and attended class reunions for 50 years until his health prevented attendance. He attended Elizabethtown College and Temple University simultaneously while commuting from Mt. Joy. He rode the train every day to attend Temple University — 86 miles away in Philadelphia. Sam received a special recognition award for traveling the furthest while never being late to class. He finished number one in his class academically. He attained an Associate in Technology degree from Temple and a Bachelor of Science degree from Elizabethtown, he was both an Owl and a Bluejay.
Sam was employed in the engineering field, engaged in numerous defense programs for the Navy and other agencies. He was instrumental in the development of flight simulation technology. His designs helped train a generation of fighter pilots as well as our astronauts who made the first flights into space. He also worked on other military programs which included tank warfare and munitions programs. Later he formed a consulting company that supported programs for the development of fiber-optic technology and materials testing for various applications.
In the early 1960s he suspended his engineering work and attended Winebrenner Theological Seminary in Findlay, Ohio. He served as pastor to a number of small congregations of the Churches of God in western Pennsylvania for about six years. He then decided to return to his first love — engineering.
In 1959 Sam asked Jean Stallman to be his wife and they had 60 beautiful years of marriage. They had four children: Ruth (Rodriguez) of Tucson, AZ; John of San Francisco, CA; Kathryn (Coffelt) of San Diego, CA and Arthur of Mesa, AZ. Sam and Jean have five grandchildren: Amanda, Daniel, Matthew, Joel and Lauren, and four great-grandchildren: Enzo, Violet, Nolan and Belle.
Sam and Jean moved to Green Valley AZ in 2000. They found their way to Valley Christian Church of Sahuarita where Sam served as an elder for a number of years. The church was a much appreciated support for Sam during his long struggle with Alzheimer’s. He loved singing the old hymns and was always happy attending the worship services.
On Jan. 1, 2020 Sam passed away at the age of 88. Sam will be interred at Green Valley Cemetery; no public services are planned; the family will hold a private memorial at a later date.