Friend of hundreds, great-grandfather of 18, baseball devotee. Born Sept. 8, 1916, in Toronto, died Aug. 26, 2012, in Toronto of pneumonia, aged 95.
Born to devout Jewish parents, Sam grew up in a small house in Toronto with his sister and two brothers. His father, Peter, was a well-respected baker in the Jewish community, but Peter was often sick due to an allergy to flour and Sam would help look after him at home.
It was essential that Sam get a job at an early age, and he worked hard for the next 56 years.
In the 1930s, some of the baseball teams in Toronto and in the mining communities up north had a very effective pitcher in Sam. After working in the gold mines in Kirkland Lake, Ont., Sam would play in the baseball fields nearby. He also went to the United States to be considered as a professional pitcher with the New York Giants, but that dream never came to be. The Blue Jays never had a more loyal fan.
The Toronto Jewish community remembers Sam as an honest store owner who toiled alongside his wife Molly seven days a week. Sam was well liked and respected, and when he opened an event ticket office in the store it became very popular.
Sam could get good tickets to any event in Toronto or New York. He knew people at Maple Leaf Gardens, the Blue Jays head office, the Royal Alex and other venues.
Sam and Molly were an integral part of the scene at College and Spadina and gave many acts of kindness and support to people who came by. Their four children Barry, Stan, Gerry and Karen were often seen helping out in the store. Sadly, Gerry passed away in 2010.
Sam had his share of downs in his long life, but he always said that when one dream ends we have to begin another.
Just as he was retiring, Molly passed away from cancer, and several years later he found another lady to share his life for the next 20 years.
During his long retirement he learned to play golf, walked on the beach in Florida for miles, and enjoyed his 14 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.
In his later years, when most of his friends had passed on, Sam made new contacts in the retirement home, making sure that he knew every resident and every employee on the floor. When he entered a restaurant that he frequented the staff put his favourite soup (with plenty of extra crackers) on the table before he even sat down.
After Sam passed away, a resident from his floor at the nursing home told his son Stan that she always cherished Sam because he touched her hand when he spoke to her, and no one else did. Sam Salsberg left his touch on everyone he knew.