Samuel Willie Wakeman died peacefully at his home on the morning of August 5, 2022, surrounded by his family while watching a final sunrise at Minot’s Light.
Sam was born in Boston in 1943 to Francis McElwen Wakeman and Samuel Wiley Wakeman Sr. He grew up in Hingham and later settled in Cohasset where he learned to play around with boats as anyone with a family of seafarers and shipwrights would. An engineer like his father and grandfather before him, he attended Lafayette as an undergraduate and received an MBA from the Tuck School in Dartmouth. He was a uniformed officer in the Navy throughout his career, CEO of an insurance broker early in his career, and later left insurance to buy Goodrich Lumber – a hardware store in Duxbury, MA – which facilitated the transition to a career in flannel shirting. which he enjoyed very much.
Sailing was Sam’s passion. He learned to sail from his parents, had extensive offshore racing experience and was part of four America’s Cup campaigns, successfully defending the Cup in 1967 and 1974. Every effort was made to free his calendar for a week in the summer to sail with close friends. On the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) cruise. His expertise and wit were recently reviewed by the NYYC Race Committee, which he chaired from 2012-2017. He readily admitted that his finest achievement in sailing lay in the relationships and friends he had made from New England to New Zealand, the company of which he would no doubt fail to be. They also maintain a childhood friendship that has stood the test of time. His absence is deeply felt by those who gather annually for Camp Sammy, a weekend of laughter, laughter and lobster commemorating the adventure of a lifetime.
Sam served various organizations including the Reservation Trustee, Derby Academy, Governor’s Academy, Cohasset Town, the New York Yacht Club and was the third generation Commodore of the Cohasset Yacht Club. He was known for examining both sides of a dispute and trying to strike a balance through discussion and disagreement. That balance was perhaps best seen when his family frequently asked him if it was going to rain (and should they bring a jacket), to which he replied, “Well, maybe…or not.”
Sam is survived by his beloved wife Linda, with whom he was forty-three, daughter Neely (Peter), sons Willie (Lok Ting), stepchildren Heather and John, and his three lovely sisters Nancy, Judy and Susie (who lived next door). He was a proud “dad” to his granddaughters Mabel, Theodora, Wilhelmina, Madeline and Tillyard.
Sam’s life is best illustrated by a statement from his mother, Franny, who, upon learning of the birth of Sam’s first child, proudly declared, “Well done dear!”
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the reserve’s trustees (thetrustees.org).
A memorial service is scheduled for September 16 at 11 am at St Stephen’s Church in Cohasset, welcomed at the Cohasset Yacht Club.
Posted August 14, 2022
The Patriot Ledger, published in The Coastal Mariner