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Samuel S Gandy
October 7, 1944 ~ December 31, 2023 (age 79) 79 Years Old
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Imam Samuel Sei Gandy died peacefully at home in his sleep on December 30th, 2023 at 79 years of age.
Sam was born in Blama, Small Bo Chiefdom, in Sierra Leone to the late Thomas G. Hilton and Koma Gandy. From an early age, Sam demonstrated a strong interest in learning, and established himself as a top scholar in school. Sam lost his mother at a tender age, and was raised by his elder sister, Marie, along with his younger siblings. Sam attended Christ the King College and later graduated from the venerable Bo School. He was known for his scholarship, intellect, keen sense of humor, kindness, and enjoyment of his family and friends. He was also an accomplished soccer player, and was a standout goalkeeper who played at the provincial level in Sierra Leone. After finishing his studies at The Bo School, won a highly prestigious scholarship and attended the University of Auckland and University of Otago in New Zealand, where he completed his undergraduate studies and post-baccalaureate studies respectively. He often spoke fondly of his time in New Zealand and his experiences there. In addition to his scholarship and athletics, Sam was an accomplished classical guitarist who enjoyed playing the guitar for himself and others.
He came to the United States to continue his studies and was a PhD candidate at the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied mathematical linguistics, philosophy, and advanced mathematics. In Philadelphia he met educator Judi Lewis through her brother, the late Robert Alexander Lewis. Sam and Judi married in 1973 and settled in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. They welcomed their daughter, Koma Bintu, the following year. After several years in Bryn Mawr, the family moved to the neighborhood of Wynnefield where they continued to reside.
Sam’s love of philosophy, math and teaching continued throughout his life as evidenced by the many students he tutored and helped over the decades. Sam enjoyed sharing his knowledge with young and old, and especially enjoyed providing help to students in need of encouragement with their studies, especially in mathematics. Sam enjoyed several careers over his lifetime - PhD candidate, insurance and financial planning with noted names such as Mutual of Omaha and Aetna, and small business ownership supporting the needs of his community.
Sam was very involved in the Sierra Leone community and also with his masjid. Sam was a devout and proud Muslim, and a pillar and mentor whose counsel and advice was highly valued. He gave time selflessly enthusiastically in support of projects and initiatives too numerous to mention. He especially took joy in supporting masjid youth in their educational endeavors. He also enjoyed reading the Qur’an and engaging in discussions about Islamic thought and theology.
Sam’s kindness, grace, humor and intellect will be sorely missed by all those who came into his presence.
Sam is survived by his wife of 50 years, Judi Gandy, his daughter Koma Bintu Gandy (Lewis) Fischbein, his grandson Adam Rashid Gandy Fischbein, his brother Sam Hilton, his sister Martha Fullah, and countless friends and extended family both here and in Sierra Leone