February 2, 1914 ~ May 11, 2010

Mr. Samuel K. "Sam" Scism passed away Tuesday, May 11, 2010, at his Farmington residence at the age of 96 years, 3 months & 9 days. Sam was the son of Thomas Gilbert Scism and Myrtle C. 'Tanner' Scism, and was born Feb. 2, 1914, near Leora in Western Stoddard Co., in Southeast Missouri. Also preceding-in-death were: his 1st wife, Ruth Elizabeth 'Barham' Scism (1969); a daughter in-infancy, Linda Kaye Scism and 2 brothers: Thatcher Scism and Byron Scism.

Sam was a 32nd Degree Mason and the oldest surviving member of the Elvins Masonic Lodge. Sam was a US ARMY Veteran and a member of the Farmington ELKS; Farmington VFW and the Moolah Temple Lodge of St. Louis.

Sam was like most young men of that time. You didn't have a career in those days; you had a job... if you could find one. Life expectancy was something around 45 years... and any education beyond the 4th grade was unusual. But Sam had higher aspirations.

He tells the story of plowing a field on his father's farm, walking behind a mule wrestling a single row plow, when he looked up to see a guy driving a new convertible... perhaps a '28 mode.... along the road. Right then and there, he decided the view from the car was a lot better than the view from his plow, and decided he wanted to be that guy.

Sometimes dreams are delayed as things often go, so Sam got a teaching certificate instead, and like his father, became a schoolteacher for a while. But driving a new car... selling a new car... can be a powerful idea.

In 1937, and with 2 cousins in partnership, they opened Bloomfield Auto Sales. Now Bloomfield, in Stoddard Co., is a farming area... it was natural that Bloomfield Tractor Sales soon followed, and with it came the need to have a place to keep the trade-ins... you know, the ones with a mind of their own... horses, mules, cattle... and ponies.

Tragedy has a way of intervening in life... one of his cousins was killed in an auto accident, and the business in Bloomfield was dissolved. But The Ford Motor Company wanted Sam to remain a dealer and Sam soon found himself buying a new dealership in a totally new area.

In 1954, Sam Scism Motors was born on 1215 Lewis Street in Flat River, MO. He started from scratch again, working hard to remember the convertible driving down the road instead of the rear end of that mule. With a growing family to support, the business was his life. Some said he would never last 60 days. Some of his first sales came from customers who drove 100 miles from Bloomfield.

He had to advertise, so he created a radio commercial many still remember... with a tom-tom drumbeat in the background, 6-year old Charles Samuel belted out "Sam Scism Motors wants to trade." In one newspaper ad Sam said he would trade for any old dog... so to test the ad, a fellow brought one in, and Sam took as down payment a registered Dalmation named "Eber." For a time, a pony came with the purchase of a new Ford... and true to his roots, he welcomed trade-ins of all kinds... horses, mules, cattle.

In 1969, the old building on Lewis Street was just too small, so he built a new facility on Highway 67, just south of Leadington. Tragically, just weeks before the Grand Opening, his wife Ruth passed away... but Sam went on. Charles Samuel was just 18, his brother William Kent was 13 and they became part of the business nearly overnight.

In 1976, Sam married Vera. As time went on, Charles and Kent were doing more and Sam began to do a little less. But generally he could still tell you what a customer traded in on a new car what color it was and probably the price.

When Flat River Junior College set out to become Mineral Area College, Sam was there too, as a major supporter and benefactor. He is a member of the Farmington ELKS Lodge; the Moolah Shrine of St. Louis. Sam is Past-President of the Missouri Automobile Dealers Association and has severed on numerous community Boards of Directors.

Survivors Include: his wife, Alvera 'Fisher' Scism; 3 Sons: Charlie (& Vickie) Scism; Kent (& Angie) Scism; Gary (& Beverly) Robinson, all of Farmington. 12 Grandchildren: Charles David (& Amber) Scism; Victoria Scism; Lauren, Taylor and Katie Scism; Jeffrey Wright, Carla Gibbs, Amy Vadnais, Lisa Graves, Todd Crawford, Amanda Gutshall and Angela Gross. 7 Great-Grandchildren.

Visitation Thursday, 5:30 - 9:00 p.m. at SAM SCISM MOTORS.

Visitation Friday, 2-9 p.m., at TAYLOR Funeral Service

Visitation Saturday, starting at 9:00 a.m., at Park Hills First Baptist Church - 12 No. Coffman St., Park Hills, MO. 63601 (573) 431.3576

Funeral : Saturday, 10:00 a.m., May 15, 2010, at Park Hills First Baptist Church, with Rev. Stephen Brownfield officiating.

Visitation & Services will resume Saturday @ 2 p.m. at the Chiles_Cooper Funeral Home in Bloomfield. Funeral services will be held at 3 p.m. at the funeral home.

Interment will follow at Bloomfield Cemetery - Bloomfield, MO.

Memorials to: Park Hills First Baptist Church.

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Memories Timeline


  1. We are so sorry for your loss. I have wonderful memories of Uncle Sam and you all. May you find comfort in your memories during this difficult time. Love you.

  2. Charlie and Kent… Don't grieve too much… Celebrate the great life he lived. Many memories came flooding when I heard of your Dad's passing. I remember him giving shetland pony's away with new F-150s. They were bad to bite! "Gonna give a few away!" At the new car introduction one year (the year Ford started letting you lock the doors without using the key) I locked every key in every car at the end of the evening. I remember sitting in new cars in my basement where one was sometimes hid. Those were the days. Kent…those steaks that you Keith Collins and I shared were the best I ever ate. God Bless!

  3. Our deepest sympathy for the loss to Sam's family. I read the obituary and found it quite inspiring. He had a dream and had the courage to pursue it and the good fortune to acquire it. I'm sure he's looking down on us from behind the wheel a new 2011 Mustang convertible.

  4. Sam introduced my Mother and Dad, and even loaned Dad his little roadster to take Mother to the movies. Sam gave me my first job after graduation. My to-be husband, Billy Wilson, also worked there. There are a lot of good memories. I know he will be greatly missed, as he was a great boss, and a good man.

  5. Vera and family: I am so sorry to hear the news about Sam's passing. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. I always considered him a friend and enjoyed visiting with him at his dealership and at church. He was a valuable asset to our community for many years…and we will all miss him.

  6. I am sorry for your lost. Just remember all the good times that you got to spend with your Dad. The Romines Brothers, Bob Don and Glenn

  7. Sam loved the car business, and he loved his family. He was a lucky man in both regards. He got to live his dream, and live it for a very long time. He was a gentleman, and a character at the same time. We should all be so lucky. He will be missed, but he will never be forgotten. God bless.

  8. Kent & Charlie, I was sorry to hear of your loss. However, I don't think the number 96 is in my future. I enjoyed reading the story of your fathers life. I'd say he lived a rather full one. Also, might he have been a little bit of character? Sounds familiar doesn't it? Of course I'm not referring to either of you. Again, please accept my sympathy.

  9. Grandpa… I know you are in a comfortable place with no pain. You will be missed dearly and we love you always. Love, Angela, Gregory, & Payton Gross (Granddaugher, husband, great grandchild)

  10. From my earliest memories…. Sam is there. Thanks to Sam he sold my parents part of his land and my family built my childhood home next to his. I remember playing in fields, creeks and bailing hay to take to Sam's barn. Or making trips with my Dad over to the dealership to do some business. I specifically remember Sam coming to the house xmas eve 1977 and being dressed as Santa to surprise me (I still have the picture to prove it)! My Mom just told me over the holidays, Sam came to visit her and bring her chocolates for Christmas. Even though he couldn't get out of the car, he still stopped to see her. What a wonderful man to have graced us all with his vibrancy and joy for life! He will be missed by so many!

  11. Kent and family, So sorry to hear of Sam's passing. Meeting him is among many fond memories of our visits to Park Hills. Best regards, Chuck and Bruce

  12. Charlie and Kent, You have our most sincere condolences. We always thought of Sam as one of our best, and most respected friends. He will be missed. Jerry & Emma Jo Ashby

  13. Angie~ I am very sorry to hear about Sam. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Kent, and the girls. Even though I didn't personally know him, I have heard so many stories from you that I feel I do. From the admiration you have shown to the newspaper article and comments, it's evident that many people thought he was a great guy. You all were truly lucky to have him part of your lives for so long. Enjoy your wonderful memories and God bless! ~Julie and family

  14. Dave, So sorry about the loss of your Grandpa. I am sure you and your family are so proud of the business he started and continued through his life. Karen

  15. Kent This is not an easy time, but it is wonderful to have so many happy memories of Sam. Our sympathies to all your family. Ken, Pam & Scott Barley

  16. My dearest Pop, Taylor, Katie, Tori and I are the luckiest grandchildren on earth. You have always taken care of us and words cannot describe how thankful I am. I am going to miss you more than I can ever imagine. I am so grateful you lived such a wonderful life and gave everything you had to your sons. You have made my father the best father he can be..I cherish both of you so much. Please be by my side during my hard troubles and help me make the right decision need strength so badly right now…it seems as if everyone I care about is either passing or out of my life. I love you so much Pop, and that will never change. Watch over us please, and keep us in line! Make sure my dad is alright and especially keep him strong. He has so much on his shoulders and needs you. We all love you grandpa, and will miss you very much. "The only thing that gives me hope, is that I'll see you again some day". 🙂

  17. I bought my first car from Sam in 1960. Several other's were purchased over the years. His word was always good. He treated us like gold. If you had problems he would take care of them. He will be missed. Our prayers are with the family.

  18. Kent and Family, I am very sorry to hear about your father. Although I never met him, it sounds like he had a full and rich life and was a real character. You are in my thoughts and prayers. I know his memory will live on. Warmest Regards, Phil Levy

  19. Sam was a great man, our sympathy goes to all of the boys and their families you are all in our prayers, God bless Steve and Verla Jackson

  20. Kent, On behalf of the Ford Credit family, we want to extend our deepest sympathies on the loss of your father to you and your entire family. Tom Evans

  21. I am so sorry for your loss of a wonderful man, I appreciate what he and the Scism Family has done for my auto Tech Students and I. I know he has personally changed many young peoples lives and without his help we would not have been so succesful at the Ford Competitions over the years, UniTec, myself and all of my past students want to express our sorrow on this sad day

  22. My toughts and prayers are with all of you at this time. Sam was and still is one of the greatest men I have ever known. A heart as big as the world. A business man like no other. He is the only person my grandpa would buy a car from. Even though I have only had the pleasure of being part of this place for a short time. I feel as I have known him my whole life. God Bless you all. Just know anything you need Iam here for all of you..

  23. We want to express our sympathy in your loss; he was and always will be iconic figure in the community. Love, Ken, Kelly , Walker, & Zoe Johns

  24. My condolences to "Mr Sam"s family. My father and mother, Bill and Alma Dean Cleve held no one in higher esteem than "Mr Sam". He was always so good to my father in so many ways.

  25. Kent, Our deepest sympathy for your great loss. Your family will be in our prayers. Randy and Robyn Long

  26. Charlie, I remember how much my parents, Pete and Janette Phillips, thought of Sam. They thought he was the bestand bought several cars from him. He also helped my siste, Jackie, when she ran for Miss KFMO. At that time, when you bought a vehicle, you could donate your Miss KFMO points to the candidate of your choice. Jennifer Phillips Montgomery

  27. im glad i had a chance to take of u at home..we had some good time u laughing and smiling. im going to miss u so much. see u soon love ruth

  28. Sam Scism's passing was to St. Francois County what Dave Sinclair's passing was to St. Louis: They were institutions of the community, and evidence of the end of an era. At a time when we are seeing so many businesses fall to owners outside the county, it is so wonderful that the dealership can stay as a locally-owned entity. Sam was very forward-thinking involving his sons in his business plan. Even after he had passed the baton to his sons, he made his daily "lap" around the dealership. It meant a lot to my mother when Sam would chat with her during those dealership visits. Just his presence was still good for business, and probably really good for him as well. My mother always talked about how wonderful he looked, especially for his age, which he always shared with her. He cared about people, as evidenced by his visits to people who had previously worked for him. We who grew up with the business and they guy say goodbye to him and a time in our community.

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