In the early morning hours of Sunday, December 8, we lost our much loved husband, father, Papa and Great-papa to hepatocellular carcinoma. He was 76 years old. His illness was brief, being diagnosed in mid-September, but he was truly an inspiration to us all with his uncomplaining acceptance and his never failing sense of humor. We were blessed to have God’s peace and reassurance with us the entire time. We were also blessed to have our precious family with us during the last week before and after his death. Their help and support were beyond wonderful and muchly appreciated. We also owe a great deal of gratitude to our Hospice ‘angels’ who brought such professional and compassionate care into our home.
Sam was born in Phoenix, Arizona on July 23, 1943, the first of five children, to Sam and Ruthanna Monger. He was raised in the Mongers’ home town of Sweetwater, Tennessee, attended grade school and high school there, graduating from Tennessee Military Institute in June, 1961. After undergraduate school at Memphis State College, he attended the University of Tennessee Medical Units where he earned a Doctor of Medicine degree in 1968. In June, 1966, while in medical school, he met and married Patricia Ann Doherty. By the time he graduated, they had had their first two children, David Michael and Ann Blair. From Memphis, they went to Roanoke, Virginia, for a year of internship, then to Clark Airforce Base in the Philippines for two years’ active duty. After two years as an Emergency Room Physician at Bradley Memorial Hospital in Cleveland, Tennessee, the family, now complete with their third child, Laura Elizabeth, made the somewhat scary (having been only briefly west of the Mississippi River) move to Council, Idaho. Sam’s practice there was a dream come true for him…that of an old-fashioned country doctor who knew and loved his patients and their families, who was never too busy to spend as much time as needed with them and whose heart was in his work day and night.
He loved spending time with his family and our Council family, skiing, snowmobiling, camping, hunting and exploring the nooks and crannies of the surrounding mountains and Hells Canyon. Some of his fondest memories were of the extended hunting trips he and David took together. They were always successful and kept our big freezer full of moose, antelope, elk, deer and various game birds. Ann and Laura were active in several rodeo associations, bringing home many trophies and belt buckles. He never tired of hauling horses and gear to one rodeo after another. He faithfully attended every ball game and track meet, as well as school concerts, plays and various other school functions in which they were involved.
In 1992, with all the children grown and gone from home, he decided to come to Moscow to work at the University of Idaho Student Health Clinic, caring for students, some of whom he had delivered in Council. He especially enjoyed working with the athletes as Team Physician and accompanying them on their out of town football trips. He retired in 2001 and chose to remain in Moscow. Retirement was a busy time, keeping up with grandkids from Boise to Baker City to hot dog roasts and s’mores in our own “hundred acre woods”. It was important to him to continue being involved in our local medical community by faithfully serving on the Credentials and Bylaws committee at Gritman Hospital. He was “Doctor Papa” to his family, always ready to advise and reassure an anxious mother or a concerned or hurting child or grandchild.
Sam is survived by Pat, his loving wife of 53 years, their son David, Boise, ID; their two daughters, Ann (Ryan) Preuit, Baker City, OR, and grandchildren, Cole (Lacee) Preuit and great-grandson Levi, Haines, OR; Marine Corporal Blaine Preuit, Camp Pendleton, CA; Emma and Sam Preuit at home in Baker City, OR; and their second daughter, Laura (Curtis) Larson and granddaughter, Avery, Boise, ID. He is also survived by two brothers, Michael C. Monger (Nancy), Greeneville, TN and John C. Monger (Patty), Athens, GA; one sister, Sue Ann (Juan) Donjuan, Memphis, TN and brother-in-law John W. Patton, Franklin, TN, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and their families. He was preceded in death by his paternal and maternal grandparents, his parents and younger sister, Mary Jane Patton.
According to his wishes, there will be no funeral; instead, his desire was to be cremated and his ashes taken by his family and close friends to Council where they will be scattered at his favorite spot in the mountains where so many happy and memorable hours were spent together, camping and exploring the back country on horseback. He was our strong leader, wise and strict in discipline, yet loving and faithful at all times. There, we will have a joyful celebration of his life, sharing precious memories with laughter and tears. We will miss him greatly.
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