HomeObituariesDorothy Harweger Sams

Dorothy Harweger Sams

Dorothy Harweger Sams, a resident of Princeton for over 50 years and a co-founder of the Lamplighter Bookstore (Nassau St.), peacefully went on to be with our Lord on March 20, 2023, at the age of 91 surrounded by family. She was born in Cisna Park, IL in 1931. The day Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, she recounted as the most important day of her life, as just prior to hearing the announcement she had listened to Rev. Fuller on the radio and had made the decision to put her trust in Jesus as her savior; that decision then guided all the following decisions of her life.

Dorothy received her B.S. in Education from Illinois State Normal University (1953), and her M.A. in Education from University of Illinois (1958). In 1956 she married Burnett, and his work in computer science moved them to Dartmouth College, MIT, Bethesda, and Cranberry, NJ before settling in Princeton where they raised their two daughters.

Dorothy taught grades 1-6 for 8 years, in Champaign, Bloomington, and Urbana, Illinois, as well as in Hanover, NH, and Plainsboro, NJ, before staying home to raise her daughters. She volunteered in the public school, and served at Nassau Presbyterian, Kingston Presbyterian, and Princeton Alliance churches in various capacities. She, her husband and friends, co-founded the Living Word nonprofit organization, under which the Lamplighter Christian Bookstore was founded and provided Christian books and ministry to the Princeton University community for 25 years. She was passionate about both people and sharing the truths of the Bible, and devoted much of her time to recruiting volunteers and running fundraising efforts over its 25 years.

She loved spending time with her family and hosting international students in their home. She also enjoyed leading neighborhood Bible studies for 11 years, square dancing, dramatic readings, university lectures, and traveling to Europe, China, and Japan. Each Easter she thoughtfully created scavenger hunts with rhyming clues for her grandchildren. In her later years she worked as a receptionist at Gund Investment Co. and taught at the Mercer Christian Academy in Ewing, NJ for 10 years. She adored teaching and served as a Sunday School teacher at Princeton Alliance Church throughout her 70’s. She will be remembered for how freely she gave to others in need, particularly in providing opportunities for people to hear the Bible taught and respond in faith to Jesus Christ.

Dorothy was predeceased by her husband of 61 years, Burnett. She is survived by her two daughters, Barbara Becker of CO, and Deborah Smith of NJ; their husbands Gordon and John; and seven grandchildren, Cassandra (and Joshua), Kyle (and Karyn), Davidson, and Evelyne Becker; and Daniel, JoAnna, and Jacqueline Smith. Dorothy spent her last five years living with Deborah’s family in NJ.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Burnett H. and Dorothy F. Sams Visiting Professor of Preaching Fund at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, 130 Essex Street, South Hamilton, MA, 01982.

A private family memorial will be held on November 19, 2023. Condolences can be sent to Barbara.X.Becker@gmail.com.

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