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 Samuel H. Zawada

Samuel H. Zawada

Death 29 Jun 2006 (aged 23)
Arizona, USA
Burial Tucson, Pima County, Arizona, USA
Memorial ID 111818040 · View Source
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She was a sensitive animal lover with a sunny disposition who attended Colorado State University on a track scholarship.

He was the rock musician with long hair two years her senior who preferred drama over running and worshipped the Chicago Bears and Cubs.

They were different, but family members say Valerie McGregor fell in love with Samuel Zawada the moment he showed up at their high school talent show in Tucson to watch friends perform. She cinched the deal by bringing him a half-gallon of ice cream after he had his wisdom teeth pulled.

The couple, who recently bought a condominium in Arvada, were to be married in a small family ceremony next Saturday at Foothills Community Church in Tucson.

Instead of celebrating their great joy, friends and family will gather in the same church Friday to mourn their deaths.

The couple were headed to Arizona for the wedding and related festivities when they crashed Thursday on Interstate 25 in northeastern New Mexico.

McGregor was driving a 2003 Toyota Tacoma pickup about 7:30 a.m. when she apparently veered into the median. The truck skidded, then rolled.

McGregor, 21, died at the scene. Zawada, 23, died later at a Santa Fe hospital. Both were wearing seatbelts and police say alcohol was not involved.

"I was just so happy and excited for them," McGregor's father Lyle, 52, said Sunday as he drove toward Tucson after visiting the crash scene and collecting the couple's belongings. "They bought a new condo and new furniture. Everything was just laid out for them."

His daughter was supposed to attend a wedding shower thrown by her two sisters Sunday. Two weeks after her own wedding, she was to be a bridesmaid for her older sister Wendy in Cleveland. The sisters were already preparing for emotions to run high. Their mother, Judy, died of breast cancer in April 2005.

Initially, Valerie was to be buried in her wedding dress, but family members now want to save the dress for Valerie's twin sister Emily's future nuptials. McGregor and Zawada will be buried together next to Judy McGregor.

"They'll be together forever," said Lyle McGregor, of Ohio. "That's what matters. It would have been worse if one survived and the other one didn't."

Zawada's mother, Ann, said the couple's love seemed to blossom when McGregor spent a summer in Ohio visiting her father. She and Zawada, who both graduated from Tucson's Mountain View High School, lit up the computer.

"Their relationship started by the computer," she said. "I knew before the year was up. I said to my brother-in-law, 'I think Samuel found the girl he's going to marry.' I can't tell you how perfect they are."

There was some concern, though, because the two were so young. But nobody was surprised when Zawada moved to Colorado to be with McGregor.

While in high school, Valerie and Emily attracted many suitors and media attention as standout track and cross country stars. Emily McGregor is captain of the cross country team at the University of Arizona.

"Not only is she gorgeous, she's more gorgeous inside," Ann Zawada, 53, said of Valerie. "She softened my son. He was a hard rocker - (but) not a drinker or anything. He was funny. He can be sarcastic."

McGregor had a year to go at CSU but opted to get a job and quit running competitively as she planned for her marriage. She was working as a dietitian assistant at Exempla Good Samaritan Medical Center in Lafayette and had plans to finish her education and become a nurse.

Zawada started his own business, giving guitar lessons and producing music. He had recently earned a degree from University of Colorado at Denver in music technology. He played guitar at Flatirons Community Church in Lafayette where the two were active.

A memorial service was held at Foothills Community Church, 3301 W. Overton Road, Tucson.

Bio by: Find A Grave




  • Created by: Member #47700116
  • Added: 5 Jun 2013
  • Find A Grave Memorial 111818040
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Samuel H. Zawada (10 May 1983–29 Jun 2006), Find A Grave Memorial no. 111818040, citing All Faiths Memorial Park, Tucson, Pima County, Arizona, USA ; Maintained by Member #47700116 (contributor 47700116) .