Samuel Joe Pyritz, 79, of San Manuel, Arizona passed away on Aug. 30, 2019. Sam was born at home on Oct. 26, 1939 in Battle Creek, Michigan to Jack and Audrey (Erwine) Pyritz. Sam joined the Marine Corps when he was 17 years old and served his country faithfully for three years and nine months. He received an honorable discharge on June 13, 1961.
After serving in the military, Sam went to work for KVP (Kalamazoo Vegetable Parchment) paper mill in Michigan. At the paper mill he met a skinny, long-legged, spunky dark-haired beauty named Joyce and after a whirlwind courtship of a legendary three weeks they were married. Sam and Joyce had a special story that set an example of a lifetime of love to their family and friends. They celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary in the hospital on Aug. 4, 2019.
In March of 1967 Sam and Joyce packed up their family to head west to the land of opportunity in San Manuel, Arizona and Magma Copper Company. The copper strike in June 1967 made the move short-lived and the Pyritz family moved back to Kalamazoo. However, Sam loved the warm weather and beautiful mountains so much that in June 1970 they headed back out west and settled in for good.
Sam was a machinist for Magma and then BHP Copper Company for 29 years to the day until his retirement at the mine closure in 1999. Sam was so skilled at this profession that he was restored to and retained his position even after losing an eye from a stroke in the summer of 1980. He enjoyed his years at BHP and the lifelong friendships that he made but he really enjoyed retirement too and spent many years golfing, traveling to Michigan for the summer months, and visiting the casinos and his kids with Joyce as his constant companion.
Sam had a unique way of drawing people close to him. He had a fun sense of humor, an easygoing disposition and an adventurous spirit. At different times in his life he loved golfing, hiking, running, camping and exploring the mountains in his sand rail and later his RZR. One of his favorite activities was taking daily walks with his beloved Schnauzer Sophie, until health problems made him stop.
Many days you could find Sam sitting on his porch enjoying the Arizona sunshine and often friends and family would join him there. He and his buddies spent many days telling tales and drinking a beer on that porch.
But Sam’s greatest joy was his family and he will be forever missed, remembered, and loved by his wife, Joyce; his son, Don (Cecilia) Pyritz of San Manuel, Arizona; his daughter, Lauri (Charley) Ivy of Bagdad, Arizona; his daughter, Dr. Shelly (Avnel) Hogan of Maricopa, Arizona; and his daughter, Lynette (Johnny) Wells of Vail, Arizona; 12 grandchildren, Jacob Ivy, Heather (Jason) Brown, Chuck (Megan) Ivy, Joshua (Lyndsay) Cruce, Delora Pyritz, Mark (Lynda Barber) Cruce, Ariel Hogan, Gage (Heidy) Hogan, Wyeth (John Doty) Hogan, Connor Wells and Brian (Stephanie) and Denise Nielsen; and 11 great-grandchildren, Maya, Aiden, and Tyler Brown, Hailey and Emiley Ivy, Tyler and Kaitlyn Cruce, Liliana Hogan, Kayla Ivy, and Rylan and Brooklyn Nielsen.
Sam was preceded in death by his great-granddaughter Cailyn Brown.
Sam was a great man, amazing husband, father, papa, and friend. He will also be loved and missed by many extended family members, friends, and neighbors as well.
Memorial services will be held on Friday, Sept. 6, at 1 p.m. at Vistoso Funeral Home, 2285 E. Rancho Vistoso Blvd., Oro Valley, AZ 85755 and a dinner will follow at 4 p.m. at the San Manuel Elks Lodge.