Edward Samuel DentApril 21, 1924 ~ July 4, 2017 (age 93)
Edward Samuel Dent, affectionately known as Sam, was born April 21, 1924 in Detroit, Michigan to the union of the former Katherine Chapman and Edward Dent. He was the eldest of five children with one brother and three sisters born to this union. Sam received a premier, Christian education at the Sharon and Hartford Seventh-day Adventist schools before matriculating to Cass Technical High School.
At the age of 13, Sam lost his father unexpectedly, due to a massive heart attack. He immediately became his mother’s primary support in looking after the welfare of his younger siblings. Despite these early challenges, all five children grew to lead positive and productive lives. Later in his adult life, he studied psychology at Wayne County Community College. For those who knew him, it came as no surprise that he ardently disagreed with some of the early childhood theories of Sigmund Freud.
On June 5, 1949, Sam married the love of his life, Barbara Elouise Carson. Together they had four children and were foster parents to many others. Sam also had a daughter who is the eldest sibling. All of their children have been gifted in various arts after the examples of their parents. Most importantly, they all profess Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. This was something that Sam regularly prayed for during his family devotions.
Sam worked for Peck & Peck, a New York based retailer of women’s clothing. He often enjoyed surprising Barbara with expensive outfits from the store. Sam also worked for the Burke Chemical Company as operations manager for the bottling plant. His passion for quality was always acknowledged by Mr. Burke, the company’s owner. His practice of honoring the Sabbath was also admired by the leaders of this Jewish-owned company. One day, Sam overheard Mr. Burke say to his vice president, “Sam keeps Shabbat? Why he’s a better Jew than me!” At the peak of his career, Sam sustained an injury that would end his ability to work in the production industry. However, rather than be idle, he chose to work in capacities that would bless others. He helped to transport many students to Davison Jr. Academy, a school owned by the Burns Avenue SDA Church. The school later changed its name to Clinton F. Warren Jr. Academy. He also served as the school’s custodian. This turned out to be a front for his real mission of mentoring many of the students.
At the end of his career, Sam worked as a facilities professional for a system of Charter schools in Southfield, Michigan. There, he continued his mentorship and was a blessing to the school and students. The system awarded him with commendations for his contributions to their operations.
Sam was a man of many gifts. He was a brilliant mathematician, electrician, poet, singer, songwriter and choir/male chorus director. He was a proud member of the St. Stephens AME Celestial Choir, which was known city-wide for its excellence in choral performances. While singing in this choir, Sam met Barbara, who was also a member, and the two fell in love. Another one of Sam’s fondest musical endeavors was serving as the Director of the first YFC choir at the Eastside SDA Church pastored by Elder Wilbert Forde. Sam was also choir president for the church’s “Signs of the Times” radio broadcast. In 1954, the Eastside SDA congregation purchased a church on Burns Ave. and changed its name to the Burns Ave. SDA Church. Sam was proud to be one of its charter members and recently served as the primary information contributor to the church’s official history.
Sam was an awesome story teller with a passion for youth ministries. This combination inspired him to be one of the most dynamic teachers of the teen Sabbath School class at Burns. His class was always standing room only and impacted the spirituality of several generations of youth. He spent most of his life giving of himself to help others and it is fitting that he is known for his artful solos of the song, “If I Can Help Somebody.”
Sam was preceded in death by his brother Robert, and sister Marie. He leaves to cherish his memory a loving wife, Barbara, one daughter, Portia Anderson (Ben), four sons, Edward Jr. (Onegene), Reginald (Pamela), Cedric (Beverly), Brandon (Alice), six grandchildren, Rafique (Leia), Brittany, Charnell (Raychon), Brandon Jr. (Lydia), Brian (Alecia), Cedric Jr., Alicia, two great grandchildren, Jeremiah and Lelah, two sisters, Dorothy and Grace, one sister-in-law, Addie, and a host of cousins, nieces and nephews.
…I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. -John 14:2, 3