After an exceptional life, Sam Chuan Hsieh peacefully passed away in his sleep on January 10, 2022, in Houston, Texas.
Sam was born on June 26, 1944, in Chongqing, China. At the time, China was immersed in World War II and political upheaval. The Hsieh family with three young children fled to Taiwan. Sam grew up in Taipei and earned his Bachelors in Agricultural Engineering from National Taiwan University in 1965. After serving as a Lieutenant in the Republic of China Army, he moved to the United States to pursue a Masters in Civil Engineering at Michigan State University. While at Michigan State, Sam married his college sweetheart, Judy Pei Yu Wang, in 1971.
With a two-mile walk to and from classes, Sam’s first Michigan winter quickly taught him ways to stay warm, such as taking refuge in open buildings en route. During one winter storm, Sam was warming up at the student career center where he happened to chat with a recruiter whose candidate failed to show. This seemingly casual conversation resulted in a job offer that took him to Texas and into the energy industry.
After obtaining his Masters, Sam began his career as a junior project manager for energy projects. One day his boss said, “Sam, come down to Houston for six months to learn how to run a project the right way, my way.” He and his wife left snowy Michigan winters for the heat and humidity of Houston, Texas, the heart of the oil and gas industry. Sam would proudly say he’s a civil engineer by the books and a chemical engineer by trade.
Sam quickly moved up the ranks at Cain Chemical and Occidental Petroleum. He had a masterful eye for business and team management and a special talent for bringing people together. He oversaw chemical plants and pipelines throughout his career and made safety his highest priority at each. During this time, Sam and Judy also welcomed into the world their three children, Edmund, Amanda, and Angela.
Sam’s first failed retirement attempt occurred in the mid-1990s after a successful management buyout of a petrochemical plant. In the late-1990s, he quit retirement and began consulting on petrochemical projects in Kuwait. As much as he loved consulting, Sam fully retired after a couple years in Kuwait. The experience of being driven past landmine warning signs with his wife and children 8,000 miles away allowed his second retirement attempt to succeed. In retirement, Sam enjoyed happy years with his family in Sugar Land, Texas, before losing Judy from cancer in 1999.
Sam eventually reconnected with a dear middle school classmate, Vicky Su. They first met at a co-ed field trip where Sam made a memorable impression with his inability to stay on top of his horse during riding lessons. In Vicky, Sam found an adoring and devoted companion. They wed on a sunset cruise in Galveston, Texas, in 2009 and continued to cruise to many world destinations together.
Sam wholly embraced Texas and the energy industry. He was a proud Texan owning many cowboy hats and boots and often sporting an engraved belt and custom belt buckle. He enjoyed just about every type of barbecued animal you can imagine. Sam recently reflected that he never expected those initial six months in Houston to result in more than 48 years in the Lone Star State.
Sam proudly served his community as the Chair of the Houston Chapter of the National Taiwan University Alumni Association, President of the Sugar Land Chinese-American Association, Chair of the Jian Zhong Elementary, Middle, and High School Reunion, and a founding member of the 168 Investment Club.
Sam loved hosting friends and family, celebrating these cherished relationships over good food, drink, and stories. Family and friends describe Sam as “warm, generous, smart, and loud.” He was a lifelong learner and took every opportunity to share what he learned. Sam often shared how key engineering principles were useful in real life, sometimes to the irritation of his own children. He loved learning about history and culture. His worldwide travels, ultimately to four continents, with friends and family were treasured.
Sam loved the outdoors, including camping, fishing, and hunting. His forestry expertise showed through on many family trips to national and state parks where he could name most every tree and geological formation. He also loved to sail and even learned to fly small aircraft.
Sam Hsieh is preceded in death by his parents, Ming Yee and Shiang Poo Hsieh, his first wife, Judy Pei Yu Hsieh, his elder brother, Dr. Winston Hsieh, and his elder sister, Dr. Hwa Sung Na.
Sam is survived by his wife, Vicky Su; his children and their spouses, Edmund and Christy Hsieh, Amanda Hsieh, Angela and Alexander Lintott, Susun and Hugo Hardel, and Shaunin and Kalexin Baoerjiin; his grandchildren, Kyle and Alex Hsieh, Elizabeth Lintott, Alexi and Raphael Hardel, and Khasar and Aidar Baoerjiin; his sister-in law, Frances Hsieh; his nieces and nephews, Arthur, Helen, and Patricia Na, and Alan Hsieh; and numerous more relatives and friends.
A virtual memorial service will begin on January 29, 2022 at 10:00 am CST. Please use the following Zoom link. https://bit.ly/3rCfSvv The family welcomes friends and family to share stories of Sam during the second half of the service. For those desiring, in lieu of flowers, the family suggests making a donation to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation or the National Parks Foundation to support Sam’s love of the outdoors.