Cover photo for Dr. Samuel McLamb, Jr.'s Obituary
Dr. Samuel McLamb, Jr. Profile Photo

Dr. Samuel McLamb, Jr.

May 9, 1943 — January 30, 2024

Kenly

Dr. Samuel McLamb, Jr.

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Kenly - Dr. Samuel Baggett McLamb. Jr., 80, of the Rock Ridge Community, passed away peacefully at home on January 30, 2024.

The visitation will be 12:30-2:00 PM, Friday, February 2, 2024, at Wilson Memorial Service followed by a Celebration of Life Service at 2:00 PM. Entombment with military honors will be in Evergreen Memorial Park, Wilson.

Service and dedication to aiding others were integral in every part of Sam’s life. Born to Samuel and Merle McLamb in 1943, Sam was raised in Smithfield, North Carolina, where he was known as “S.B.” He was an active member of his class at Smithfield High School, where he played varsity basketball and served as the president of his senior class. Sam completed his undergraduate studies at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, where he was president of the College Touring Choir, served as director of the university choir, participated in ROTC, and played intervarsity sports. 

After graduation, Sam was commissioned into the U.S. Army. Sam served with the Army’s 3rd Squadron, 12th Cavalry Division, in Germany before returning to the United States for aviation training as a helicopter pilot. Sam deployed to South Vietnam after flight school to serve as a pilot with the Army’s 82nd Medical Detachment based in Soc Trang. Sam flew medical and casualty evacuations as part of the U.S. Army Air Ambulance unit, often referred to as “Dustoff”. Flying UH-1B “Huey” helicopters marked with large red crosses, Dustoff crews entered enemy territory to evacuate both U.S. and South Vietnamese casualties, often under hostile fire, at night, and without dedicated defenses. Sam’s experience in Vietnam shaped his life and exemplifies his dedication to service and to aiding others. Shot down by enemy fire multiple times while rescuing those in need, Sam received numerous awards and honors for his actions and valor in Vietnam, including the Army Distinguished Flying Cross and multiple Oak Leaf Clusters, among others. 

Following his service in Vietnam, Sam attended Wake Forest University School of Medicine (formerly Bowman Gray School of Medicine), where he focused on internal medicine with the goal of providing primary care to others and received the William Osler Award for excellence and service. After graduation and residencies, Sam started his medical practice in Goldsboro, North Carolina, and dedicated his life to serving patients for 32 years. Spending time with people in the community was his most cherished part of practicing medicine. Sam’s warm nature and sense of humor made those around him feel special and at ease. He loved time with his patients, learning about their families, sharing stories about hunting and fishing, and telling jokes. Many of his patients considered him equally friend and doctor, and he felt the same. 

Sam’s service as a Dustoff pilot remained central to his life, and he was an active member of the N.C. Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association. His fellow pilots in this group were his true brothers. Sam and the group members took helicopters that had seen service in Vietnam to air shows, festivals, schools, and presidential inauguration parades, where they shared information about Vietnam, flying, and their experiences with members of the public from all walks of life. 

He is survived by his loving wife of 32 years, Yvonne Corbett McLamb; daughters Marguerite McLamb of Chapel Hill and Catherine Brown (Tyler) of Charlottesville, VA; son, Sam B. McLamb III (Liz) of Asheville; grandchildren, Tyler Brown, Jr., Michael “Hugh” Kelly Jr., Kemper Brown, Hazel Brown, Sam McLamb IV, and Eleanor McLamb; sister, Genevieve McLamb Taylor (Danny) of Snow Hill; step-daughter, Kelly A. Shiel (Tom) of Raleigh; step-son Kevin Aycock, (Yira Boada) of Raleigh; and step-granddaughter Katherine Shiel; nephews, Dan Taylor, Jr. (Carlissa) and Charles Taylor.

Sam was preceded in death by his parents, Samuel and Merle Stewart McLamb; his daughter, Jennifer McLamb Whitaker; and three infant grandchildren. He was formerly married to Rita Robbins of Rutherfordton, North Carolina. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Marsh Swamp OFWB Church, 6664 Rock Ridge School Rd, Sims, NC 27880 or to the Wake Forest University School of Medicine “MD Class of 1975 Scholarship Fund”. Memorial gifts may be mailed to Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Office of Philanthropy & Alumni Relations, PO Box 571021, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, or made online at giving.wakehealth.edu

Arrangements by Wilson Memorial Service, 2811 Fieldstream Dr. N., Wilson, NC 252-237-7171; www.wilsonmemorialservice.com

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dr. Samuel McLamb, Jr., please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Visitation

Friday, February 2, 2024

12:30 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Celebration of Life

Friday, February 2, 2024

2:00 - 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Entombment

Friday, February 2, 2024

Starts at 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

Evergreen Memorial Park

2800 Nash St N, Wilson, NC 27896

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