PROFILE OF A MUSEUM VOLUNTEER
In Hampton, Nebraska on January 9, 1930 Sam Regier was born to Abraham and Anna Regier; the youngest of 7 sisters and 8 brothers. Times were hard as the great depression was just ending and when Sam was 5, another devastating blow was dealt when their mother Anna passed away from cancer. The family pulled together during the next 7 years but droughts had ruined their ability to farm. Abraham made the decision to move to California, and at the age of 12, Sam began a new period of his life in Reedley, a little farming community southeast of Fresno.
Sam attended Grant School and Emanuel Academy until 9th grade when he had to drop out and find work in order to help the family. Sam worked for other farmers in the area, bringing his paychecks home to help his Dad. He continued helping his father until Uncle Sam called him to San Francisco for a "Swearing in Ceremony" into the United States Navy. From one big city to another, he was sent to Boot Camp in San Diego where he turned 21. It was not exactly the coming of age party he had dreamed of.
The new recruits were put on a Transport to Japan; then a Japanese freighter to Pu Son, Korea. Sam joined the crew of the USS Pasig, which was a water tanker. Classified as a Machinist Mate 2nd Class, Sam's duty was in the engine room. The tanker's mission was to keep all the other ships supplied with fresh water. By the end of a year's duty in the engine room, Sam had lost most his hearing. He was given a 30 day furlough; then it was back to Korea on a destroyer. It was their duty to patrol and pick up downed pilots. After a year abroad, Sam completed his service stateside.
On his way back to California Sam stopped in Madison, Wisconsin to visit his sister Sara. While there he met and became smitten with a beautiful young lady, Marianna Matuscek. He knew this was the love of his life but needed to establish himself and earn some money before taking this next big step. Back home he worked hard and within 8 months, Sam had enough to purchase a '51 Chevy and saved a nice little nest egg. Sam and Marianna were married in Prairie Du Sac, Wisconsin on June 11, 1955. They packed up all her belongings and headed to Reedley literally loaded to the brim. It was a smooth and carefree trip with the exception of a nut coming off the generator shaft that caused its pulley to come off. Luck was on the newlyweds side as Sam found them both, got everything put back together, and they made it to Reedley with no further incidents.
The couple found a home in Fresno and Sam began working at a service station on Blackstone and Clinton Avenues. He was fascinated with the coming and goings of the Fresno Police with their red lights flashing and their trunks flapping. Joining the Police department became his dream and he went for it. When he started nothing was available except in the evidence room, but that sounded like a great beginning.. Sam spent 24 happy years with the department, and other than marrying Marianna, it was the best decision he ever made.
Sam and Marianna were blessed with a daughter Barbara and two sons, Randy and Steven. They enjoyed 60 years together until Marianna's passing October 16, 2015.
Sam had many friends in life, but his buddy Bill Biggers and he connected from the very beginning. Bill was volunteering at the Veterans Memorial Museum and suggested that Sam give it a try. As with Bill, Sam and the Museum connected, and he hopes to have many years there sharing an interest of history with more new friends.