King Risley Sams was born on November 4th, 1932, in Lancaster, Pa. She was the only child of the Rev. Ernest and Adele Risley, who moved to Savannah, Ga., when she was three. She attended high school at St. Mary’s School in Raleigh, N.C., then transferred to Wellesley College, where she graduated in 1954. She married Dr. Bruce Sams that same year. The couple moved to San Francisco in 1961 and then to Belvedere in 1981. They have three sons, Bruce III, Andrew and Risley.
Above all, King Sams loved people. She was a teacher and in the 1960s she helped found the Pediatric Language Clinic at University of California at San Francisco dedicated to helping children with dyslexia. Ever focused on the positive and the good in others, when she met people in need of help, she took them under her wing and helped them rebuild their own lives. Seeing them succeed was one of her greatest joys. She took on projects of all sorts undaunted by their challenges; she was equally comfortable at the opera, working in her garden or restoring a Victorian home. She was the past president of the Society of Colonial Dames and a member of both the Francisca Club and the Junior League.
California was her chosen element, where she built a loving home for her husband and three sons. There, guests and friends were always welcome and her hospitality shone. Her life was filled with people, pets, land, and landscaping. She applied her boundless drive and energy to friendships, charity work and above all, her family. A strong and generous woman, her sensitivity and openness earned the honor and respect of all who had the privilege to know her.
She is survived by Bruce, her loving husband of 64 years, and her three boys Bruce III, Andrew and Risley, as well as four devoted grandchildren Lauren, Justin, Andrew, and Reid. Please direct gifts in her memory to the National Society of The Colonial Dames in California, 2645 Gough St., San Francisco, CA 94123.