Sam was born in Fullerton in 1922. He attended Ford Elementary School and Wilshire Junior High School. He was elected Student Body President at Fullerton Union High School. His best friend was Harold Muckenthaler. After a year of two at Fullerton Junior College, where he was Student Body President, Sam enlisted in the United States Marines.
I think it was when he returned to the United States that he married Mona, his high school and FJC sweetheart. He graduated from the University of Southern California, where he had been president of his fraternity, in 1947.
He intended to attend USC law school and follow in the footsteps of his father, but with so many GIs returning from the war, almost all the law schools had long waiting lists. He was admitted to Loyola College Law School in Downtown Los Angeles and graduated in 1951.
He immediately began practicing law in Fullerton, and meanwhile his son Mark, '67 had been born in January 1949, and Patrick two years later. Casey came along later.
Between 1945 and the time of his death, Sam was probably the best known resident in Fullerton, and also known all over Orange County and reaching into neighboring counties. He knew everybody, and most people for thirty years or more. He brought up his family in the North Grandview cul-de-sac with neighbors, the Byerrums, the Stetsons, the Youngs, the Verrys, the Whitfields, the Merriams and just around the corner, the Halls. He was the merriest of hosts and his doors were more or less always open to friends.
He was the heartiest and earthiest of men, friendly and full of gregarious good cheer. He had a resonant baritone voice that carried, and loved a good story or a blue joke.
In the 1970s, Sam accepted a position as Water Commissioner of Orange County. I believe he retired in the late 1980s and died around 1990.
Sam E. Collins was a legend.