Sam Bonart Marcus

Sam Bonart Marcus was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on August 12, 1935, and died on January 16, 2023 after succumbing to Lewy Body dementia and the Covid-19 virus.

He graduated from the Hotchkiss School, where he took great pride in being the founding member of the Astronomy Club, and Yale University with a degree in Electrical Engineering. He overcame dyslexia in an age where learning differences were ignored. He attributed much of his future success to the habits he developed at Hotchkiss and Yale including hard work, perseverance, scrupulous multi-color note taking, meticulous organization, and confidence that every problem could be solved.

At the urging of his sister, Bertha Rose Marcus Levy, he moved to Dallas in 1958. Soon after, Bertha Rose introduced him to Betty Crossman. Sam married Betty in 1959 after a three-month courtship, and they had two children, Jerome and Sam, Jr. Sam was a loving father and adored coaching his son’s YMCA football and baseball teams. With no experience playing either sport, he read several books on how to coach these sports.

In 1958, Sam started his career at Collin Radio and found the large company environment stifling. In 1961, he began his entrepreneurial journey when he co-founded Credit Finance Corp. with Lawrence Burk, who became one of his lifelong friends. In 1963, he found his calling when he started the Sam Marcus Agency, Inc. (“SMAI”) with the encouragement of his brother in-law, Lester A. Levy, Sr. Sam cherished being his own “boss” and grew SMAI to be a very successful P&C insurance agency serving individual and commercial accounts.

While Sam enjoyed many hobbies (hiking, photography, computers, puzzles, chess, commercial aviation, and classical music), travel was his greatest passion. He made his first trip to Europe in 1957 when he sailed with his parents on the Queen Elizabeth I. He and Betty went around the world in 1968 visiting Egypt, Iran, India, Thailand, and Japan. When he won a large multinational’s insurance account, he relished the opportunity to travel to his client’s offices around the world.

In all, Sam visited 70+ countries, could say “hello” in 25 languages (including Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Swahili and Hindi) and had his travel photos displayed throughout his home and office, and once in the Dallas Morning News. He attended five World Cup finals after becoming enamored watching the 1970 World Cup final on closed-circuit TV at Moody Coliseum.

Later in life, he loved hiking in Zermatt, Aspen and La Jolla. In 1993, he summited Mount Kilimanjaro with Jerry, his nephew Lester, and his childhood best friend, Freddie Kullman. Realizing this would be an extraordinary challenge for a 58 year-old, he hired a trainer with whom he trained religiously.

Sam shared his new love of hiking with family and friends. Many a birthday was celebrated in Colorado with his extended family and friends. Hiking and biking daily for a week was the itinerary. These many years together on the mountain have cemented Sam’s legacy of loving the great outdoors and is shared by his children and grandchildren.

Sam was fascinated with computers and owned an Apple Two computer with serial number 475. In exchange for an early Texas Instruments desktop computer in the late 1970’s, he wrote a program for rating and pricing Texas automobile insurance policies. He would stay-up late at night teaching himself how to code and sometimes working all night.

As a devoted Cowboy fan, he attended Cowboy games consistently from the second season in the Cotton Bowl in 1961 through 2008. Several times, family vacations were rearranged so that the family could attend playoff games. In all, Sam attended three Cowboy Super Bowl victories, and would be thrilled by the Cowboys’ winning a playoff game on the night of his passing.

While not a natural salesperson, he won people over with his genuine interest in the individual(s) he was meeting. He savored having lunch with people and learning about them and their lives. After Sam passed, the first thing that many of his friends mentioned was how much they enjoyed being with him.

Sam created several proverbs which he repeated throughout his adult life including: “if two and two appear to add up to five, don’t think arithmetic has changed, you don’t know all the facts”; “never take no for an answer”; and “Murphy was an optimist!” In addition, he developed a sports betting theory named “The Up/Down Theory.”

Betty died of pulmonary hypertension in 1982. Sam was married to Nancy Weiner Marcus from 1984 to 1994. He was a devoted stepfather, and developed strong relationships with Nancy’s children, Lisa and Jeff, that continued after their divorce.

He was married to Sherri Tauzin Marcus from 1999 – 2020. They spent considerable time in La Jolla, California where Sam adored the Southern California coastline, and was an enthusiastic hiker and bicyclist.

Sam was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2019, and his condition was later upgraded to Lewy Body dementia. The Covid-19 pandemic was challenging for him (and everyone with this disease) due to the forced isolation. For Sam, it robbed him of the opportunity to do what he enjoyed most: seeing his friends, making new friends, and traveling the world.

He is survived by his sons, Jerome C. Marcus and Sam B. Marcus, Jr.; daughters-in-law Jordana Roberts Marcus and Julie Carbonell Marcus; grandchildren Samantha Marcus, Shelby Marcus, Robert Marcus and Katherine Marcus; sister in-law Barbara Cohn Marcus; brother in-law Stanley L. Crossman; nephews Walter M. Levy, Lester A. Levy, Jr., and Adam B. Marcus; and nieces Anne Levy Cox and Bamsie Marcus Kimmel.

The family wishes to express its gratitude to his doctors who cared for Sam during his disease, Cindy D. Marshall and Derek Cheng; his many caregivers including Lenny Shephard and Joyce Sarfo; and his hospice nurse, Julie Lopiano, for their wonderful care and devotion.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to support the Baylor Scott & White Memory Center (c/o Baylor Scott & White Dallas Foundation, 301 N. Washington Ave., Dallas, TX 75246) and/or KERA-TV (c/o Cynde Horne, 3000 Harry Hines, Blvd., Dallas, TX 75201.