Wednesday, March 2, 2016
My friend Sam Beall passed away last week in a skiing accident. It is difficult to express what a huge loss this is to me, the East Tennessee community, and the world, not to mention his beautiful wife and young family and his close-knit circle of friends. Sam was thirty-nine years old and had the energy and life force of fifty people. He was the kindest and most generous person I knew.
Susan and I were the beneficiaries of his generosity many times, and the experiences we shared with Sam are some of our most treasured. I have never met a more driven, confident, and positive individual.
Sam was the proprietor of his family’s Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee. He was an immensely successful and visionary leader of that enterprise. I was fortunate to be invited by Sam to Blackberry on six occasions to lead art workshops, give talks, and share my story as an artist with the guests. Sam always made eloquent introductions at these events and enthusiastically introduced the food and wine that we all shared. Once when I tried to express my thanks for his support of my work he said, “My family loves your work, we know your story and we tell it big.”
Sam wanted all the people around him to be successful and to live a rich life. As he and Blackberry grew and prospered he wanted those he knew to also grow and prosper and he did what ever he could to help make that happen. His parents Kreis and Sandy are the same way.
We will miss Sam terribly. I will think of him whenever I am cooking a nice meal, raising a glass of wine, walking in the woods, planting my garden, or working in my studio. He will always be there for me when I’m feeling lazy or filled with self-doubt. He will be there saying “get up, get to work, it’s a beautiful world, here for you to enjoy and make the best of, time is short.”
Here’s to you Sam, with love and deep appreciation.
March 2, 2016