Sam Kamilos, a longtime music teacher and Greek community leader, died at age 86 in a care facility near his Carmichael home Christmas morning.
The Sacramento High School graduate and former Foothill High music teacher was deemed a “Renaissance man” by his friends and family.
“He was an incredibly positive person and had a great energy around him,” said Kamilos’ son Bruce. “You couldn’t help but like him.”
Kamilos was born in Lodi on Oct. 8, 1930, later moving to Sacramento, where he attended Marshall Elementary School. After graduating from Sacramento High, Kamilos met his future wife, Barbara, at the University of the Pacific in Stockton.
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The pair studied music together in the 1950s and Kamilos refined his trombone playing, which he began in the fourth grade.
Kamilos also served in the 10th Division Army Band stationed in Wurzburg, Germany, where he and Barbara married.
“We had a European honeymoon,” she said. “That started our love of travel.”
The pair moved to Sacramento in 1958, when Kamilos began teaching music at Foothill High as the school’s first band director. In 1978, Kamilos took over the family almond farm in the Sutter Buttes area and managed it until recently.
Kamilos enjoyed his Greek ancestry and culture. He served as president of the American Hellenic Professional Society and was president of the Sacramento Community Concert Association, bringing many events to the Sacramento Community Theater.
In his later years, Kamilos was forced to slow down because of his health. He battled lung cancer. A brain tumor was discovered in July. In November, Kamilos fell and broke his hip.
In addition to his wife, Barbara, Kamilos is survived by sons Steve Kamilos and Bruce Kamilos, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
“He lived a full life,” said son Bruce.
The Kamilos family is planning a celebration of life for family and friends sometime in February. The family asks that donations be given to the charity of choice.