It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of our father and friend Samuel Elmer Raney Jr.
Sam was born in Florence, AL, on June 15, 1938, to Edith Josie Liles and Samuel E. Raney Sr. and went home to be with the Lord on Oct. 1, 2012.
Sam graduated from Lepanto High School in Lepanto, AK, and attended Arkansas A & M. He received his bachelor's degree from St. Leo College and went on to receive his Master's at Nova University. He also attended the Southern Police Institute in Louisville, KY.
Sam's life defined values. He was a devout Christian who raised his family at Calvary Baptist Church in Clearwater where he held his membership since 1975. There he served as deacon, Sunday school teacher, and in several other leadership capacities. He chaperoned numerous choir trips, youth trips, and senior adult trips driving the bus and ensuring the safety of those on board. He was always willing to give of his time to serve others.
Sam was passionate about people and for helping others which led him to an extensive and respected career in Law Enforcement. His service included three years on the Tarpon Springs Police Department, 27 years in the Dunedin Police Department, during which time he was promoted to police captain, and 10 years in Dade City where he was assistant chief of police and worked in City Hall. After retiring, he was a consultant for the Seminole Indian Reservation Police Department for four years.
Being the eldest boy in his family, Sam learned the meaning of responsibility at a young age. He had four younger brothers and two sisters whom he helped to look after. His strong work ethic was noticeable even at the early age of 8 when he would go to work in the cotton fields and again at 16 when he was already driving a school bus.
Sam was actively involved in the community. He was one of the founders of the Dunedin Credit Union and the Dunedin Police Athletic League. He coached PAL and was a booster for the Dunedin High School football team where his children attended and his son played football. He was a Mason and a member of Rotary. Holding the title of Rotary president in 2000-2001, and was a Paul Harris Fellow honoree. He was also a member of the Fraternal Order of Police. One of his highlights and proud moments was being named "Mr. Delightful Dunedin."
Sam gave unselfishly of himself. He loved to volunteer his time and was known for his delicious barbecue. He was dedicated to bringing joy to others, especially children, and enjoyed seeing their eyes light up through his role as Dunedin's Santa Claus for many years.
To sum up Sam's life, he was a loving husband, father, and friend. He was a pillar in his church and community, a counselor, and a father-like figure to many. He was known as "Big Sam," not really for his physical size but for the size of his heart, the size of his faith, and the size of his love. He loved "big" and in return was loved by all who knew him. We will miss him dearly but his memories will live in our hearts until we see him again.
He was preceded in death by his devoted wife of 38 years, Betty. Sam remarried and is survived by wife Pat; children Debra and Sam; step-daughter Chrisy Cook; younger sister Shelia; four grandchildren, David, Hanna, Katie and Lauren; two step-grandchildren, Daniel Wilburn, Christopher Wilburn, and numerous nephews and nieces, as well as other family members and friends that were blessed to have had him in their lives.