Dorothy (Dot) Perkins Vansant Sams, 96, passed away peacefully with loved ones at her side on April 7, 2023. Dot was a devoted daughter, wife, mother, and grandmother with a lifelong faith in God. She was born at home on Seminole Drive in Marietta, Georgia on August 5, 1926, to Robert Lee Vansant and Ida Perkins Vansant.
When she was 9 years old, Dot’s family moved from Marietta to Athens, Georgia, and later to Montgomery, Alabama where she graduated from Lanier High School in 1942. She attended Huntingdon College in Montgomery for three years and then transferred her senior year to the University of Georgia (UGA) in Athens where she was a member of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority. In 1946, Dot graduated from UGA, moved to the Morningside neighborhood of Atlanta with her parents, and enrolled at Emory University to earn her teaching certification.
While Dot was studying at Emory, she met her future husband Marion Augustine Sams, a native Atlantan who had grown up in Druid Hills, served overseas in the U.S. Army during WWII, and was earning his law degree at Emory. Things moved quickly after that chance encounter in the Emory Law Library. Dot and Marion got engaged and she began to teach Third Grade English at Morningside Elementary School. Dot often laughed about the time that one of her students tackled her in the hallway because he did not like the punishment she had given him for a previous infraction. She was undeterred.
On June 17, 1950, Dot and Marion were married at Haygood Memorial Methodist Church. They lived in the Buckhead area and were blessed with three children plus a menagerie of pets over the next several years including ducks, chickens, rabbits, turtles, birds, cats, and dogs, courtesy of Marion’s father Augustine Sams who gave all of his grandchildren pets each Easter. Dot took this in stride and did her best to keep the critters from escaping or tearing up her beloved yard. Dot and Marion moved their family to East Cobb in 1970.
Dot was always active in her church. She and Marion joined Peachtree Presbyterian Church in 1950 and remained active for 52 years. Dot volunteered with the children’s choir, taught Sunday School, and was a lifetime member of the Women of the Church, serving as President in 1971. Her favorite volunteer effort was Providing housing for local international college students during the Christmas holiday and recruiting church families to serve as their hosts. Dot was also a member of the Rabun Gap Junior Guild, Atlanta Symphony Guild, Cottage Garden Club, and Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary, and volunteered at the Atlanta Historical Society. In 2002, Dot and Marion moved their church membership to Mount Bethel United Methodist Church in Marietta where they were members of the Arthur Wilson Sunday School Class and Dot was an active volunteer.
Dot and Marion were blessed with 70 years of marriage. Marion passed away at age 96 in July 2020. Dot was also predeceased by her parents and her brother Henry Nelson Vansant. She is survived by her children Eileen Vansant Sams, Julia Sams McIntyre (John W. McIntyre), and Robert Augustine Sams; seven grandchildren, brother-in-law Richard H. Sams (Jane), sister-in-law Virginia Sams McCartney, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Just as important as her family was Dot’s group of friends who called themselves The Love Bunch. This group of women shared more than 70 years of happiness, sadness, tragedy, humor, faith, and everything life brings. Along with her marriage, her children, and her faith, it was the cornerstone of Dot’s life.
Dot’s family expresses their deep appreciation to Visiting Angels and especially to Robyn Scarborough, who provided loving care, emotional support, and friendship to Dot which was far above and beyond her job description. The family also thanks Dr. Kirk Paulk, a talented and caring physician, and the staff at Mount Vernon Towers where Dot and Marion moved in 2007. A private graveside family service will be held. If so desired, donations may be made to the Salvation Army, as Dot requested.