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Samuel Allman, Jr.March 10, 1923 ~ September 30, 2017 (age 94)
Samuel Allman, 94, of Bountiful, passed away peacefully the morning of September 30, 2017. A week before his death, he celebrated the 74th anniversary of his marriage to his wife and sweetheart Carolyn. He loved people and made any who came into his presence feel better for having been with him. Sam was known for the many stories he told. His happy and jovial spirit that lifted up the hearts and minds of many will surely be missed.
Sam Allman was born March 10, 1923 in Mammoth, Utah. He was the second youngest of eight children. He attended grammar school in Provo, but his family eventually moved back to Mammoth where his father and some of his older brothers were able to find work in the local silver, gold, and copper mine. The boys felt lucky to have the work during a very difficult economic time. Sam graduated from Tintic High School in 1941 which was located three miles from Mammoth in Eureka, Utah. Prior to graduation, he worked several summers in Idaho on horse and cattle ranches.
After graduation, he moved to San Diego, California to live with his brother, Verle. He was able to find a job at Consolidated Aircraft building the B-24 Liberator heavy bomber. He made sixty-five cents an hour. Within two years he was made manager of the parts department. He remembered vividly December 7, 1941, the day Pearl Harbor was bombed, because that evening, fearful of a Japanese attack on the naval station in San Diego, there was a blackout of the city. It was an uneasy time because many thought the Japanese would turn their attention to the west coast of the United States.
In early 1943 he joined the Navy and completed his boot camp training in San Diego. Shortly before shipping out he and his high school sweet heart, Carolyn Forsey, decided to get married. She had also traveled to San Diego looking for work. She worked in the same plant as Sam doing the job of “Rosie the Riveter.” They journeyed to Utah to be married in the Salt Lake LDS Temple on September 22, 1943. After the war, when Sam returned to his wife, she introduced him to their first son, Sam. He was almost nine months old. Eventually, they had four more children, Craig, Curtis, Jerry and Pamela.
The couple made their home in Eureka where Sam worked as an auto mechanic. It wasn’t long before they returned to seek their fortunes in Southern California. Sam became a furniture salesman at Pacific Furniture in Inglewood. He was good at selling because of his love for others and his extraordinary people skills. In 1954, he won a national contest for selling Simmon’s Mattresses. The prize was a brand new Mercury sedan.
One day the carpet layer didn’t show up to work. The furniture store owner, for whom Sam worked, sent him out to install carpet. Sam liked working with his hands, so he went to carpet laying school to learn and master that trade. That’s when Sam became an entrepreneur. Sam sold and installed floor coverings for the remainder of his working life. Every one of his sons learned the trade and all are or were involved in the floor covering industry. Sam loved to take his boys with him to install carpet. Though they were reluctant participants, he justified it by saying, “I just get lonely without you.” In the 1972 he moved his business back to his home state of Utah. Allman’s Carpet of Bountiful, UT. continues the legacy that Sam started in 1948.
Sam and Carolyn have five children, 36 grandchildren and 83 great children, and two great great grandchild. They have been on three missions for the LDS Church, Sydney, Australia; London, England; and Salt Lake City, Utah. Sam was known for his work ethic. At 93 years of age, Sam could still be found at Allman’s Carpet telling his stories to friends and would-be customers six days a week and six hours a day. He was like the ever ready bunny; he kept going and going and going… After, he and Carolyn attended their 70th high school reunion, the reunions were discontinued because there were too few alumni left to attend.
The Seaman with More than Nine Lives
Sam Allman had more than his share of scrapes with death. Some days he wondered why he was still alive while many of his friends, who he considered better than he, had long since passed on.
Following naval boot camp, his 35-man unit was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Liscome Bay. Shortly before it was scheduled to sail out to confront the Japanese in the Pacific theater, during a line-up, it was asked who could use the typewriter? Sam was the only one who stepped forward. He had taken bookkeeping and typing in high school. He was taken from his unit and given assignment to keep the records and type reports.
The USS Liscome Bay sailed on its maiden voyage October 21, 1943, with his boot camp unit, but without him. In her first and last battle mission, at 05:10 a.m. November 24, 1943, near the Gilbert Islands, a lookout shouted, “Here comes a torpedo!” At 05:33 a.m. the USS Liscome Bay listed to starboard and sank. An admiral, captain, 53 officers, and 591 enlisted men perished. Two hundred and seventy-two of men were rescued. “I never thought that taking a bookkeeping and typing class could literally save my life,” pondered Sam.
In San Diego he would once in a while he would to ride “shotgun” with the fighter pilots (torpedo bombers) on their training runs. It was an incentive to do that because he would receive “flight pay.” On two different occasions, because of pilot error (cockiness), the planes came close to crashing. On one such flight, he had one foot on the wing getting ready to jump with a parachute (something he had never done) when the pilot was able to pull out of the dive just before hitting the ground. Another time, when riding in a tail gunner’s seat, a pilot turned the airplane upside down and a huge, heavy metal plate fell and barely missed him, but destroyed his radio. He had no way to contact the pilot. Experiences like this were sobering for Sam because he had other friends that did not survive similar situations.
Since he was a parts specialist, he worked managing and supplying spare parts for the fighter airplanes. His mission was to keep them flying during training. Many times he and his crew would have to stay all night at the warehouse. One night while resting, a black widow spider bit him in on one of his eye lids and his hand. The next day he was blind and his hand was swollen. He was close to death. Carolyn had to keep hot packs on his hand and eye 24/7 to withdraw the poison. If she hadn’t, the doctors said he would have died.
After receiving a week pass to get married, his unit was transferred to the aircraft carrier Ticonderoga. His commanding officer did not take away his pass. While his mates and ship went to sea, he was getting married. Two kamikazes hit the carrier while at sea. Many men died. Sam, again, wondered why he was spared.
Later, Sam was assigned to another carrier aircraft service unit in Oakland, California. They were going to Okinawa to set up a base for the invasion of Japan. While loading the ship, he and 12 of his crew, were at the bottom of the ship deck preparing to load heavy airplane engines. A load fell. Seconds before he had a feeling that he should step back. Spreading his arms, he pulled back two of mates, one on each side, with him. Sam said that he felt the wind of the engines wiz by his head, but the engines never touched him. They were the only ones of his crew that made it out alive. Why them?
The stories can go on and on. Believe it or not, he had many more scrapes with death; from a kamikaze hitting the compartment where he stayed on his ship one evening while he slept on shore in Okinawa, and a submarine sinking a ship navigating the same path his ship followed six hours earlier. With many honorable men who have died; he wondered often, “why me?” Whatever the reason, he was honored to have served his beloved country and would have been willing to give his life for it. He was humbled to be one who was still alive, and able to tell his stories.
On May 28, 2015, Sam was taken to Washington D.C. by Utah Honor Flight to be recognized as one of the few living veterans who had served our country well during World War II.
Funeral services will be held Friday, October 6, 2017, at 2 p.m. at the Foxhill Ward Chapel, (200 S. Eagle Ridge Drive, North Salt Lake City). A viewing will be held at Russon Brothers Mortuary (295 N Main St, Bountiful, UT 84010) on Thursday, October 5, 2017 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., and also at the Foxhill Ward Chapel at 12:30 p.m. prior to the services. The interment will be at Lake View Memorial Cemetery 1640 Lakeview Dr. Bountiful, Utah, UT 84010-1562.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the LDS Missionary Fund or the Utah Honor Flight (PO Box 42 Richfield, Utah 84701)