Longtime educator and former Lafayette Parish School Board member Ed Sam died Monday.
Sam, 84, joined the school board in 1991 and served consecutive terms until 2010 when he decided not to seek reelection.
He began a teaching career that spanned more than 40 years at Holy Rosary Institute and held positions as teacher and principal of Lafayette Parish schools.
A funeral Mass is planned at 11 a.m. Friday at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church. The family requests that visiting hours be observed at the church from 8 a.m. until time of service. A rosary will be recited at 9 a.m.
While on the School Board, Sam became the second black board member to serve as president. He was an administrator for Lafayette Parish School during the district’s desegregation efforts and through its integration.
When the historic Brown v. Board of Education ruling was made in 1954, Sam was principal of the then-Youngsville Negro Elementary School.
Sam recalled that time in a 2010 interview with The Advocate. He said it was his responsibility to call the community together to rename the school and Green T. Lindon Elementary was chosen to reflect the contributions of the Green, Thibeaux and Lindon families to improve education for black people in Youngsville.
During his final board meeting in December 2010, Sam said his proudest moment was serving on the board during the 1990s when four schools were built.
“If you go in those schools, you’ll find my name right at the door on the plaque as president of the board. That was a real big milestone during my time on the board,” he said at the time.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Edward J. Sam Scholarship Fund, an endowment at Immaculate Heart of Mary School.
Donations may be sent in care of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Ref: Edward J. Sam Scholarship Fund, 818 12th Street, P.O. Box 2398, Lafayette, LA 70502.
KATC-TV 3 contributed to this report.