Samuel Raymond Joseph Cannata, 88, died on Jan. 4, 2017, at 3:40 p.m.
Samuel Raymond Joseph Cannata was the beloved husband of Ginny Cannata; loving father of Mike Cannata and Cathy Buchanan; loving grandfather of: Bethanie King, Hether, Stan, and Nate Cannata, Benjamin Buchanan, Courtney Kesler, and Bethany Buchanan; loving great-grandfather of: Ayven, Logan, and Brynn King, Rydder Cannata and Livi Kesler; and loving brother of Don Cannata.
He was preceded in death by his father and mother, Sam and Mattie Lee Cannata of Houston, Texas, and his son Stanlee Cannata (who passed away in Ethiopia at age of 27).
Sam was born in Houston, Texas, on Nov. 4, 1928. He graduated from Baylor University in 1949 with a premed degree and completed his MD program at University of Texas in 1957. He married Virginia Currey in June of that year and they were appointed in December of 1957 by the Foreign Mission Board (IMB) to Zimbabwe, where he worked in the Baptist Hospital as one of two doctors.
As a missionary doctor he served with his wife, Ginny, in Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Kenya, Southern Sudan, and on the Island of Zanzibar. While serving in rural Ethiopia, the family was arrested and taken to the capital, Addis Ababa, where Ginny and the children were released but Sam was detained for two weeks under government arrest. Accused of being a CIA agent, they wrote a book, “Truth on Trial” about their experience.
They retired from mission service in 1993. He then worked as a doctor for the Baylor University Health Center in Waco, Texas, for seven years. They returned to Kenya, East Africa, as volunteers in 2001. After leaving Kenya they lived in Waco, Texas, for six years, moving to Shawnee in 2007 to be closer to family.
He was an active member of Immanuel Baptist Church in Shawnee. In 2016 they moved to Oklahoma City to live at the Baptist Retirement Village. Sam has courageously struggled with dementia the last several years of his life.
He will be greatly missed by his family and friends.
Sam died on Jan. 4, 2017, at 3:40 p.m.
A memorial service will be held at Immanuel Baptist Church in Shawnee on Jan. 6 at 11 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the International Mission Board or your charity of choice. With the IMB you can dedicate the gift in memory of Sam Cannata.