Remembering Sam Townsley

Sam Townsley

By Joy Neighbors

For more than 50 years, Sam Townsley made French Lick Springs Hotel guests feel welcomed and special. He was always there for them as the hotel’s Bell Captain. In fact, Sam lived in a room on the second floor of the hotel just so he could be on-call whenever he was needed.

Sam Surrounded by Friends in 2014
Sam graduated from Kentucky State College in 1955 with a degree in history. How fitting that his is the friendly face so often recalled by guests and visitors to this historic hotel where he worked for half a century. Sam retired from the resort in 2005 but came back in 2014 to see what changes had been made during the restoration. He was delighted to see old friends and reminisce.

Sam passed away on August 20 at the age of 90; a man who knew the true meaning of the words service and hospitality. One of his last requests was for his ashes to be spread at St. Ignatius Cemetery at West Baden Springs Hotel. The Jesuits cemetery had been established during the thirty years the Society of Jesuits owned the former hotel and was used for the interment of the seminary’s priests – 39 have been buried there. The Society of Jesuits and Cook Group agreed to honor Sam’s request.

On Monday evening, October 3, a Celebration of Life service was held for Sam at the small, peaceful cemetery. Tears were shed but happy memories were shared. Sam Townsley left a lasting legacy of kindness that touched thousands, if not millions of lives during his time here. He is fondly remembered by his "family" - the associates and management of French Lick Resort.