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Samuel K. "Sam" Scism

Thursday, May 13, 2010

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Mr. Samuel K. "Sam" Scism died Tuesday, May 11, 2010, at his Farmington residence at the age of 96. Sam was the son of Thomas Gilbert Scism and Myrtle C. 'Tanner' Scism and was born Feb. 2, 1914, near Leora in Western Stoddard County, in Southeast Missouri. Also preceding-in-death were his first wife, Ruth Elizabeth 'Barham' Scism (1969); a daughter in infancy, Linda Kay Scism; and two brothers, Thatcher Scism and Byron Scism.

Sam was a 32nd Degree Mason and the oldest surviving member of the Elvins Masonic Lodge. Sam was a US ARMY veteran and a member of the Farmington Elks, Farmington VFW and the Moolah Temple Lodge of St. Louis.

Sam was like most young men of that time. You didn't have a career in those days; you had a job... if you could find one. Life expectancy was something around 45 years, and any education beyond the fourth grade was unusual. But Sam had higher aspirations.

He tells the story of plowing a field on his father's farm, walking behind a mule wrestling a single row plow, when he looked up to see a guy driving a new convertible--perhaps a '28 model--along the road. Right then and there, he decided the view from the car was a lot better than the view from his plow, and he decided he wanted to be that guy.

Sometimes dreams are delayed as things often go, so Sam got a teaching certificate instead, and like his father, became a schoolteacher for a while. But driving a new car--selling a new car--can be a powerful idea.

In 1937, and with two cousins in partnership, they opened Bloomfield Auto Sales. Now Bloomfield, in Stoddard County is a farming area, and it was natural that Bloomfield Tractor Sales soon followed; and with it came the need to have a place to keep the trade-ins--you know, the ones with a mind of their own--horses, mules, cattle and ponies.

Tragedy has a way of intervening in life. One of his cousins was killed in an auto accident, and the business in Bloomfield was dissolved. But The Ford Motor Company wanted Sam to remain a dealer; and Sam soon found himself buying a new dealership in a totally new area.

In 1954, Sam Scism Motors was born on 1215 Lewis Street in Flat River. He started from scratch again, working hard to remember the convertible driving down the road instead of the rear end of that mule. With a growing family to support, the business was his life. Some said he would never last 60 days. Some of his first sales came from customers who drove 100 miles from Bloomfield.

He had to advertise, so he created a radio commercial many still remember-- with a tom-tom drumbeat in the background, six-year old Charles Samuel belted out "Sam Scism Motors wants to trade." In one newspaper ad Sam said he would trade for any old dog--so to test the ad, a fellow brought one in, and Sam took as down payment a registered Dalmation named "Eber". For a time, a pony came with the purchase of a new Ford, and true to his roots, he welcomed

trade-ins of all kinds--horses, mules, cattle.

In 1969, the old building on Lewis Street was just too small, so he built a new facility on Highway 67, just south of Leadington. Tragically, just weeks before the Grand Opening, his wife Ruth passed away, but Sam went on. Charles Samuel was just 18, his brother William Kent was 13; and they became part of the business nearly overnight.

In 1976, Sam remarried Vera. As time went on, Charles and Kent were doing more, and Sam began to do a little less. But generally he could still tell you what a customer traded in on a new car, what color it was, and probably the price.

When Flat River Junior College set out to become Mineral Area College, Sam was there too, as a major supporter and benefactor. He is a member of the Farmington Elka Lodge, the Moolah Shrine of St. Louis. Sam is Past-President of the Missouri Automobile Dealers Association and has served on numerous community board of directors.

Survivors Include his wife, Alvera 'Fischer' Scism; three Sons, Charlie and Vickie Scism; Kent and Angie Scism; Gary and Beverly Robinson, all of Farmington; five grandchildren, Charles David and Amber Scism, Victoria Scism Lauren, Taylor and Katie, all of Farmington.

Visitation will be held Thursday, 4-9 p.m. at Sam Scism Motors and Friday, 4-9 p.m. at Taylor Funeral Service.

Visitation Saturday will also be starting at 9 a.m., at Park Hills First Baptist Church.

The funeral will be Saturday, May 15, 2010, at 10 a.m., at Park Hills First Baptist Church.

Visitation and services will resume Saturday afternoon in Bloomfield. Friends may call at 2 p.m. on Saturday with funeral services to be held at 3 p.m. at the Chiles-Cooper Funeral Home in Bloomfield.

Interment will follow at Bloomfield Cemetery - Bloomfield, MO.

Memorials to: Park Hills First Baptist Church.

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