We have lost a dear son, a beloved brother, a loyal friend. Former Wood River Valley resident Sam Mott passed away on Dec. 10. He was 25 years old, filled with a youthful passion for unexplored adventures ahead.
Sam was born in San Francisco but raised in the mountains of Sun Valley, where he attended Hemingway and the Community School. He spent these years napping in the back of hockey vans, immersed in online role-playing games, and lighting up the stage in local theaters. He crooned as Oliver one year then bah-humbugged as Scrooge the next. He loved frozen peas and goldfish crackers almost as much as he loathed “nuts and mushrooms.” He was never without a book, more often two or three, under his arm. At first “Tin Tin.” Then “Harry Potter.” Eventually, D.H. Lawrence and Thomas Mann.
Sam returned to California to attend the Cate School. A natural athlete, when Sam discovered that there was no hockey in Santa Barbara, he simply took up lacrosse. After Cate, Sam headed east to Boston College. Sam loved the bustling city, the buzzing classrooms, the big creaky house he lived in—but most of all he loved his roommates, his guys, his bros. With his abiding passion for books—it was not uncommon for Sam to read the same book four or five or more times—it was inevitable that he would major in English literature. And as practical as he was poetic, Sam also completed coursework at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, as well as summer internships at Electronic Arts and Audible.com.
Upon graduating, Sam moved to Silicon Valley and worked as a product manager for Flixlab and later Mozilla. Despite being a new arrival to the competitive high-tech world, Sam made an outsized impression on all of the people he worked with. His co-workers spoke particularly about his poise, diligence and keen knack for teamwork.
His loved ones knew another side of Sam; a young man who was loving, spirited, tender and forgiving. He never shied away from big ideas, uncomfortable situations or difficult tasks. He was the first person to lend a hand and the last one to hold a grudge. He saw the best in everyone around him, even when, especially when, they didn’t see the best in themselves. People loved being around him because, through Sam’s lucid eyes, you were always the finest version of yourself. He believed in you, implicitly, no matter who you were or what you were offering in return. He had a wonderfully old-fashioned sense of civility, with just a splash of impish charm. He was a prince. He was a pistol. He was a philosopher. And when he smiled and glanced at you from the corner of his eye, you had the feeling that perhaps he was some kind of a mystic, a monk, a sage … perhaps he was an angel.
Sam loved the mountains of Idaho, the green hills of Sonoma, and the autumn leaves of New England. But more than any of this, he loved his friends and his family, each of whom must now hold onto the memory of his bright eyes, his gentle touch, his hopeful smile. In every moment, forever, we will love and miss him. Our Sammy.
Services in Sam’s memory will be held at the Valley Club on Saturday, Jan. 4, at 4 p.m. In lieu of gifts or flowers, please consider making a donation at crowdrise.com/SamMottFund. Sam’s family will ensure that these gifts are distributed in a way that honors his life.