Lieutenant Commander Samuel James Potts
U.S. Navy, Retired
February 12, 1955- May 30, 2023
Samuel (Sam) was born in Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil while his parents were serving as missionaries. At six weeks of age when the family returned to the United States, Sam was given a certificate by the airlines for being the youngest on the plane. Sam grew up in Tucson, Arizona and graduated from Canyon del Oro High School.
Sam received a Navy ROTC scholarship and attended Oregon State University. Upon graduation in 1977, he launched his career as a Naval Officer at the Primary Flight School in Corpus Christi, Texas. Sam was proud to have his mother pin on his Wings of Gold. Sam’s first appointment was in Norfolk, Virginia as a Student Pilot. Throughout the remainder of his career, his assignments took him to Corpus Christi and many international locations including Cuba, Egypt, Sardinia, Monaco, and Morocco. In Morocco, his assignments included transporting the Prince of Morocco. After serving in Bari, Italy, Sam transitioned to the Navy reserves. He served over 34 years as an Instructor Pilot, training generations of Fleet Replacement Pilots in the C-2A Greyhound and E-2C Hawkeye aircraft. He was one of the first Civilian Contract Instructor Pilots at Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 120.
The pandemic allowed Sam to explore his artistic abilities while taking online painting classes with his brother. During the pandemic, Sam joined his family on monthly Zoom calls that continue to the current date. Sam loved the adventure of travel and had the opportunity to travel extensively with family and friends. He especially enjoyed the trips with his mother, family reunions with siblings and spouses, and extended Michigan family. Sam and his youngest brother, Paul, traveled to 26 locations in 23 years. Sam was the family historian, and many of the trips with his mother were genealogy related.
Sam is survived by his five siblings: David Allen Potts and wife Karen (Tucson, AZ); Ruth Ann West and husband Buddy (Frisco, TX); Dee J. Boucher and husband Bob (Dumfries, VA); Daniel Earl Potts and wife Tricia (Arlington, TX); Paul Edward Potts (Denver, CO). Sam was an uncle to many beloved nieces and nephews. He also has many extended family members in Michigan. He is preceded in death by his parents, Floyd and Eleanor Potts; paternal grandparents, James and Erma Potts; and maternal grandparents, Max and Zelda Lanz.
Sam’s Christian faith was important to him, and he attended Atlantic Shores Baptist Church in Virginia Beach, VA. Sam’s celebration of life service will be at Altmeyer Funeral Home’s Southside Chapel in Virginia, Beach on Wednesday, September 6 at 10:00am, followed by burial at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday, September 8 at 1:00pm.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/
Condolences may be left at www.altmeyerfh.com
DUE TO UNFORSEEN CIRCUMSTANCES, THE GRAVESIDE SERVICE FOR LT.CDR POTTS HAS BEEN DELAYED.