Sam E. Talerico, 95, lifetime Upper County resident, passed away at his home on Sunday, December 27, 2020. Military graveside services were held last weekend at the Roslyn Eagles Cemetery and a larger celebration of Sam’s life will be held this summer.
Sam was born on May 21, 1925 at the family home in Roslyn, aided by Dr. Rehal. He was the seventh child of Sam and Mary (Lento) Talerico. He attended school in Roslyn and graduated from Cle Elum High School with the class of 1943. He began work for Patrick’s Coal Mike on the tipple. At that time, World War II was going on in Europe and in the Islands of the South Pacific. Sam joined the Army as a member of the 81st Infantry Division and was sent to the South Pacific. During his service, he was hospitalized for several different ailments. He received the Combat Infantry Badge for the Battle of the Island of Peleliu. After a short hospital stay in the Philippines, he was sent back to his division to prepare for the invasion of Japan. President Truman ordered the atomic bomb to be dropped, which Sam felt ultimately saved his life.
On June 21, 1952, Sam was united in marriage to Margaret “Margy” Violetta at the Calvary Episcopal Church in Roslyn. Their first home was an apartment owned by Pete and Mary Fassero on East Third in Cle Elum. Sam was the Signal Oil Distributor and Margy was a telephone operator, working in the Cle Elum office. During the 1950’s when funds for schools were tight, Sam volunteered to help transport the Cle Elum Warrior boys’ basketball team to their games in the lower valley.
In 1959, Sam and Margy moved to their first home at 605 Power Street, the same year that son Robert E. Talerico was born. Son Steve followed in 1964. As there was only a small hospital in the upper county, both children were born at the Ellensburg Hospital, assisted by Dr. Floyd Rogalski. In 1967, the family moved to their current home that Sam built across the street from the City Park and swimming pool. After his retirement from a long career with the Department of Transportation, he volunteered with the Veteran’s Coalition with Sally and Billy Robins as well as the late Benny Butkovich.
Sam loved music from the 1940’s including big bands, Glenn Miller and Harry James. “Sentimental Journey” was his favorite song and he also loved to dance to “Moonlight Serenade”. He loved gambling – craps, blackjack, poker and horse racing. He also enjoyed a good game of golf, stoking the fireplace, a dry martini with one olive, a hot plate of spaghetti with his homemade sauce, politics, and Fox News. He was witty, full of one-liners and was also very well versed on the history of Roslyn. He also loved hunting for Boletus mushrooms in the spring and taking long rides to Salmon La Sac in the fall. Sam enjoyed spending time with family and loved to take them on annual trips to Seaside, Oregon.
Sam was a past commander of the Robert H. Brooks VFW Post #4125 of Roslyn; past president of the Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery in Roslyn; past member of the Cle Elum Kiwanis, Ellensburg B.P.O.E. #1102 (Elks Lodge), 65-year member of the Cle Elum Eagles #649 and member of the VFW Post #1373 in Cle Elum. He was also the Master of Ceremonies for the Class of 1943 reunions.
Sam’s legacy will be carried on by his wife of 68 years, Margy; son Steve; grandchildren Garhett, Taryne and Carson and their mother Melody; many nieces and nephews as well as his comrades from the 81st Infantry Division. Sam also leaves many friends in the area. Waiting in Heaven is his son Bob, his mother Mary and father Sam, as well as his sisters and brothers.
Johnston & Williams Funeral Home of Cle Elum has been entrusted with caring for Sam’s family. Online condolences may be left at www.johnston-williams.com
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