Mavis Sams, age 84 of Fort Dodge, IA, passed away peacefully on Monday, October 9, 2023, at UnityPoint Health-Trinity Regional Medical Center in Fort Dodge, surrounded by her family. Mavis Jean Smith was born on December 24, 1938, the youngest of five children, to parents George and Mabel (Schnirring) Smith in Sac City, IA. She grew up on a farm just outside of Sac City, first attending country school and then Sac City High School. Mavis graduated with the Class of 1957.
On August 15, 1959, Mavis married the absolute love of her life, Maylan Sams, in Sac City. This union was blessed with three children, LaDon, Ty, and Desiree. Throughout their married life they lived in several places but the majority was spent in Manson, IA, where they raised their family. Mavis worked in production at Northwest Bodies in Manson for over twenty years and later at ADF Manufacturing in Humboldt, IA. She retired in 2000.
Mavis loved her family and always made spending time with them her top priority. Whatever they were involved in or enjoyed doing, she was right alongside supporting them. She and Maylan lived in California for a short time and while there, Maylan’s love for drag racing began. His love for racing very quickly became Mavis’ and the rest is pretty much history. From there on out weeknights and weekends outside of work were consumed with motorcycle hill climbs, dirt track racing, or drag car racing. Mavis was known as the “Grammy of the track” as she faithfully attended races well into her eighties. She took great pride in supporting all of her kids and grandkids by attending their activities and events, even if it meant traveling to another state. She was always along for the ride…always there, supporting her loved ones in any way she could.
Sadly, in 1997, Maylan passed away which meant Mavis would spend the next twenty-six years still very much devoted to their union. Always knowing in her heart that one day, their reunion would be glorious…much like their whole married life together was here on earth. Their relationship was one to admire. Their strong love for one another was evident. Mavis was someone that everyone adored. Her whole demeanor was that of kindness, patience, giving and caring for all in her presence. Once retired, she decided to work part-time at CVS Pharmacy to make her ‘race money’ and along with that became a volunteer at the hospital in Fort Dodge. She was awarded recognition for giving over one thousand hours of service as a volunteer. In fact, over the years she volunteered over 5000 hours at the hospital.
Mavis enjoyed quilting in her spare time. This was something that she learned to do growing up with her mom and aunts/cousins. She made each of her kids a quilt that they will forever cherish. She also enjoyed putting together puzzles and almost always had one out on the table to work on. She was one of a kind, the kind that the world needs more of. Her family will miss her dearly as will all who knew and loved her. Rest assured, she was greeted by Maylan with open arms and they now have the best seats in the house as they watch down on their beloved racers, cheering them on as their forever biggest supporters.
Mavis is survived by her children, LaDon Sams of Fort Dodge, IA, Ty (Barb) Sams of Lincoln, NE, and Desiree Sells of Fort Dodge, IA; grandchildren: Ty Johnson, Casey Jo (Jordan) Peterson, Ryan Sams, MyRranda (Jason) Kendle, and Brock Sells; great-grandson Bryan Johnson; sister Shirley Kitsmiller of Sac City, IA; many nieces, nephews, other extended family members and friends.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Maylan Sams; parents George and Mabel Smith; sister Marie Ramstad; brothers Wayne Smith and Darrel Smith.