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Heather Leigh "Sam" Straka
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Birth: Mar. 7, 1949
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Death: Feb. 27, 2013
Macon County
Illinois, USA

Heather Leigh "Sam" Straka
March 7 1949 - February 27, 2013

Heather "Sam" Straka , 63, died February 27 of a cardiac arrhythmia. Born March 7, 1949 in Evanston, IL, daughter of Kim & Eleanor Johnson. Married to Joe Straka on July 7, 1970. She is survived by loving husband Joe, daughter Martha Appelhans of Mundelein, IL, grandson Matthew Appelhans of Lake Villa, IL; beloved sister Barrie Dunbar, wife of Douglas Dunbar of LaGrange, GA, niece Heather (Dunbar) Paschal, wife of William Paschal, great-nieces Madeline and Ally of LaGrange, GA, niece Jennifer Dunbar Cihacki, great niece McKenna Cihacki of Chicago, IL.

She graduated from Eastern Illinois University in 1971 with a bachelor of Science & Education degree, majoring in english and speech. Upon moving to Decatur in 1974, Sam (as she was known to everyone) worked as an office manager for 10 years for Dr. James Jerger, a pediatric dentist. Following that, she became an adjunct professor of speech, english tutor, and director of forensics at Richland Community College, from 1984 to 2007.

Sam was fiercely interested in community theatre, and was a member of Theatre 7 since 1978. She was also involved with Monticello Theatre Association, and had her own company, Merely Players. Sam was a highly talented actor and director, with many awards and credits to her name, too numerous to mention. She was a published and award-winning poet, and listed in the International Who's Who of Poetry.

Sam had many passions, but ultimately her true passion was poetry and she was a true crafter of words. Her most recent passion was her love of country music, and was planning a trip to Las Vegas to see Tim McGraw & Faith Hill.

Sam passed suddenly while watching television, and anyone who knew Sam knew she loved to laugh; so it seems fitting that her final words were, "My God, that was funny!". Sam touched the lives of her family, many students, co-workers, and theatre colleagues, so while there will be no formal funeral services, there will be a memorial celebration of her life in the early spring.

Per Pamela's wishes cremation services will be provided by Graceland/Fairlawn Crematory. No services are planned at this time. Please view the online obituary, send condolences, and share memories at

Note: Cremated
Cremated, Location of ashes is unknown.
Created by: Lois and Daughters
Record added: Feb 28, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 105933018
Heather Leigh Sam Straka
Added by: Lois and Daughters
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