Samuel T. Sorich, 85
BISBEE — “Today I want to be of service to someone who has a need.” Those were the words Samuel T. Sorich, Bisbee native, spoke every day. Sam passed away December 5, 2020, of complications from COVID-19.
Sam was born in Bisbee, November 9, 1935, to parents Samuel and Jennie Sorich. He attended Greenway School and graduated from Bisbee High School in 1953. During his teen years, Sam worked in various jobs, including the Bisbee Ice plant and as a soda jerk at the Warren Drug store. After graduation he began working for Phelps Dodge (PD), starting off as a janitor. Because of his great work ethic and enthusiasm, he was able to move up: working in the warehouse, then as a pit office timekeeper and eventually he took over as Employment agent in Bisbee. In 1970 he transferred to the smelter in Douglas and worked as the Personnel and Safety Director until his retirement in 1987.
After retirement, he continued to serve in PD smelter labor relations, safety and employment and he worked on contract, tracking copper-reduction and tailings control. He also assisted PD in real estate dealings in Warren, Galena and Briggs.
Sam married Ople J. Noble in 1958. After moving to Douglas, Ople taught school until she retired in 1995. They moved back to Bisbee in 1987, purchasing their current home, and remained there for the rest of their 62 years of marriage.
Sam was an active volunteer in both Bisbee and Douglas. He belonged to Bisbee Elks Lodge, Perfect Ashler Masonic Lodge, Shriners, Kiwanis, and Douglas Rotary Club. He was a long time President of St Stephen Nemanja Serbian Church and Secretary of Warren Community Church. As part of the Gideons International Cochise Camp 02010, one of his favorite things to do was distribute Gideon bibles wherever he had an opportunity. He loved his communities and his communities loved him back. As his granddaughter Megan described him, he was “Human Sunshine.” In addition to his charity work, Sam loved being outdoors in nature, being around family and friends, and attending church.
Sam is preceded in death by his sister, Yvonne Sorich (Skip) Catero and grandson, Ian Painter. He is survived by his wife, Ople; daughters, Debbie (Kevin) Painter of Tucson and Cindy (Don) Lineburg of Phoenix; grandchildren Megan and Bret of Phoenix; brother Ted (Jackie) of Tucson; brother-in-law Skip Catero of Phoenix; and many nieces, nephews, godchildren, cousins, and friends.
He has been interred in the Bisbee Evergreen Cemetery in Lowell. A Celebration of Life will be held in Sam’s honor at a later date. The family asks that any donations be made to the charity of your choice or to the Community Church of Warren Memorial fund.