Samuel Douglas Caldwell

September 18, 2000January 30, 2021
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Samuel (Sam) Douglas Caldwell passed away on January 30, 2021 at the age of 20.

Sam was born on September 18, 2000 in Shawnee Mission, KS to Doug and Jackie Caldwell. He was the youngest of three children. His arrival was anticipated with joy and excitement, and Sam did not disappoint. Sam was so loved by the entire family from the moment he arrived.

Sam had a big personality and joyful spirit for living. Sam was constantly pictured with a big smile on his face and his hands on the shoulders of family and friends. He was the spark plug keeping everyone entertained. Sam, as a toddler, was constantly carried around by his older sister Molly, who loved dressing him up in all types of costumes...lots of pink and purple. Sam idolized his big brother Jake and constantly tried to “do what Jake was doing”.

As a little guy Sam joyously played all of the youth sports - flag football, basketball, baseball, lacrosse, soccer, plus cub scouts including Pinewood Derby as one of his favorites.

As young adults Molly, Jake, and Sam took their first sibling trip together to Ireland in 2019. This trip was to be the first of many and they were already planning their second trip. They not only loved each other as siblings, but they truly liked each other as friends and really enjoyed spending quality time together.

Sam had a special love for the outdoors, sports, games, and puzzles. He had an extraordinary eye for three dimensional games and constantly outsmarted the adults at a young age. Many memories of Sam include summer vacations at Table Rock Lake, trips to the beach, scuba diving in Belize, and fly fishing in Gunnison, Colorado (he had a special knack for seeing trout in the river and casting to the right spot). Sam loved adventure and the outdoors - rock climbing, hiking in the mountains, and enjoying the cool Colorado days.

Sam had a big group of friends spanning his years at Brookwood Elementary, Indian Woods Middle School, Shawnee Mission South High School, and Regis University. This broad cross section of friends stayed in touch with Sam, because he was such a good friend to so many. Our family is grateful to have hosted many gatherings for Sam and his friends during their school years. There was a constant stream of kids coming through the kitchen to the family room during all those years.

Sam had a quick wit and was not shy about using it on family and friends. His humor always caused a belly laugh, including from his Dad, who was a favorite target. The wonder and comment was always the same, “how in the world did he come up with that!”. We know Sam’s friends will be telling “Sam Stories” for years to come.

While at Shawnee Mission South Sam played lacrosse for 2 years and basketball all 4 years. As a senior, Sam was one of the captains of his 2019 Raider team. He helped lead the Raider Basketball team to the State Tournament. His jersey was #21 and he wore it proudly. He was always fearless whether taking a charge on the basketball court, scuba diving at 10 years old, or rock jumping in Colorado. Sam was in National Honor Society, Link Crew, Sweetheart Court, and many other school and sports activities while at SMS.

Sam attended college at Regis University in Denver for 3 semesters. He moved home in November and his plan was to take a semester off until the pandemic calmed down and he could actually go to class again. Sam had just recently moved to Lawrence to live with friends and his plan was to transfer to KU in the fall and finish his college experience as a Jayhawk. Sam was an excellent writer and communicator but still wasn’t sure of his major. His one defining comment was “whatever I do, I don’t want work to be my life, I want to have time for my family and friends.”

Sam’s friends and family could always count on him to bring a smile to their face. From the day he was born he exuded pure joy and understood how to live life in the present. Sam was known to have an internal God given moral and compassionate compass. He was so kind and caring of others, often with action more than words alone.

Sam loved all animals, especially his beloved miniature aussie Daisy, and he found a home for multiple strays or dogs in need over the years. His job throughout high school was dog sitting and many families counted on him to take care of their furry family members.

Sam was a loving son, brother, grandson, and friend. He is survived and forever loved by his parents Doug and Jackie, siblings Molly (Marion Delano) and Jake, his Grandparents Shirley Landon (Arma, KS), Betty Schall (Olathe, KS), and Sandy Schall (Broken Bow, NE), Dean Shankel (Richmond, IL) and many aunts, uncles, and cousins who loved him dearly.

Sam’s Grandpa Bob passed away on November 14th, 2020 and we know that they are together and his Grandpa is helping to watch over him. They both loved telling jokes or making a witty observation, so we are sure they will be laughing together.

Please use the link below to contribute to the Samuel Caldwell Memorial Fund. In Sam’s honor the Memorial Funds will be provided to local animal rescue organizations and youth sports.


  • Memorial Service - Celebration of Life

    Monday, February 15, 2021



Samuel Douglas Caldwell

have a memory or condolence to add?

Hope Fritton

February 25, 2021

I remember that he was in my geometry class freshman year as a cadet teacher. To be honest, I didn't pay much attention in that class. It was difficult and hard to understand. But Sam made the class way more interesting and fun. Sometimes he would just say a little quip after a lesson that would make you laugh. Sometimes it was just him asking how you were doing. He was a really great kid.

Kathryn Rhoads-Propst

February 22, 2021

When we moved to Overland Park and Skyler started school at Indian Woods, one of the first families to reach out to us and ask Skyler to join Jake's summer basketball team were the Caldwell's. Sam invited Skyler in and made him feel a part of the team immediately. Since that time, we watched Sam grow each year in school activities and all of the basketball things! The common message from the guys was definitely that Sam was the glue that held the team together - on and off the court. He truly had the team heart and you could tell by watching him that he would do anything for his team (look at the way he would sacrifice his body with those charges!) When we heard of Sam's passing, the first thing my husband said was that Sam was the kid that would make a point to look you in the eye in the hallway as you were passing by and greet you with a nice "Hello". Those hallways could be packed with kids running everywhere, fans shuffling to their seats, and it was easy to see people but not necessarily take the time to acknowledge them. But it did not matter, Sam always was so kind and made a point to say hello. Which is unique, especially when he was just getting to know us. As my father said, "Sam was just an all around great guy." He will be so missed but probably still taking those charges and hitting those 3's on the gorgeous Heaven court.

Joe Patterson

February 18, 2021

One of Sam's many gifts was cheering people up who were anxious. I can attest to this firsthand. I remember distinctly at Cub Scout Camp 12, almost 13 years ago (in 2008), when I was feeling down and anxious, Sam came over and checked one me, and before I knew it, he and I were cracking jokes to each other. If I help people like he did, that would mean the world to me.

Sally Giles

February 18, 2021

Jackie and family,

My profound condolences on the loss of your beautiful boy. A young life well lived. What a wonderful video tribute and memorial service. May the love of Jesus Christ sustain you.
Godspeed Sam Caldwell.

Karen and David Ripple

February 16, 2021

Caldwell Family,
As we watched Sam's Celebration of Life, we couldn't help but feel the love that was engrained in his life.
Our son Ryan, has truly been blessed to have known Sam. The boys found a true friendship and were fast friends as they embarked on their college journey. Their friendship is a treasure that will never be forgotten!
Our deepest sympathies go out to all of you, and to all who were blessed to have known Sam.
With love,
The Ripple Family

Kelly Tines

February 16, 2021

I met Sam when he was in 8th grade and joined a bunch of SM West football players to create the first ever Raiders Youth Lacrosse team. There were three or four boys on the team who had played one year of lacrosse but most of the boys were brand new and Sam was the only player to have more than one year of experience. With the exception of one high school kid, our coaches had never played or coached lacrosse. Sam was our fount of lacrosse knowledge. He came to every practice with patience and a great attitude. He worked hard, embraced his teammates, and demonstrated not only how to play the game but how to be a great teammate. The boys were a ragtag team and, I'm guessing, bemused quite a few of the other teams who thought themselves more elite than our boys. While our football players were laying people out, Sam was playing with finesse. They worked in great combination! In the end, our boys prevailed, and Sam led us to the 8th grade championship game and a HUGE upset over the favored team!! I'm not sure I've ever been more proud of a group of kids! The best part of it all was the bond the boys formed as friends as they moved into high school lacrosse and forged a friendship between the Vikings and the Raiders. Sam was a good kid and he will be missed!

Jenny Danaher

February 16, 2021

Sam was my daughter Faith's first boyfriend. This romance developed during a study hall in middle school. They had been friends after going through Brookwood together, but then grew to be a bit more. Sam was there for Faith that year and beyond after losing her dad unexpectedly the summer before 8th grade. I remember it crossing my mind that she'd chosen a boy her dad would have really liked. It was during study hall that Sam helped Faith in a way that she's carried with her. You see, after her loss she threw herself into school almost obsessively. She wasn't satisfied with an A, it had to be a 100%. It was something she could control and that she knew would make her dad proud. One day in study hall as she stressed over a test Sam simply said, "Faith what will it matter five years from now?" He gave her the perspective she needed and she carries that lesson with her today. Sam will always be such an important person in our lives and we will remember him as Faith's first love and forever friend.

Chris Martin

February 15, 2021

Sam and my son Ryan played on the first ever Shawnee Mission South youth lacrosse team in 8th grade. Sam and Ryan had a unique midfielder bond that was one of the greatest two player bonds that I have ever seen in my 10 year youth coaching career. We came into the season as the new team and were very inexperienced team. Sam’s work ethic was unbelievable. Lacrosse is a finesse sport. Sam’s dedicated work ethic made him a great lacrosse player. Our 1st year in the league, our inexperienced team made it to the championship game. Let me set the stage. We called Sam and Ryan “Shake and Bake”. They new where each other were without even looking where the other was on the field. It was a back and forth game. It came down to an overtime play. Who better to give the ball to...Sam! Sam took the ball across midfield, drove the lane. The defense collapsed on him because they knew he was one of best player on our team. Sam, selfishly, without looking passed to Ryan. Ryan scored the championship winning goal. Sam did whatever it took to win a game.

Another demonstration of his competitive spirit was in a high school lacrosse game. Whenever there is a lacrosse game that ends in a tie, they have what is called Braveheart. It is one of my most favorite memories watching lacrosse . It was a JV game that ended in a tie. When a tie occurs braveheart is tie breaker. A braveheart is, essentially a one-on-one version of lacrosse, involving one field player and a goalie on each team. The two field players face-off, then fight for possession of the ball. Whoever is able to score first is determined to be the winner. You can already guess who the coach chose to be our Braveheart, Sam! Sam, like a true competitor he was, won the face off and drove down field and scored the winning goal. The cheers from players and parents in stand roared. I am honored to have known, coached, and watched you play Sam. I will see you in heaven+. You will be missed.

Sandy Schall

February 15, 2021

What a great wonderful young man, all the fun we had with him, once when we even brought a dog home from the lake, we named him tippy, the fun time we had once when we watched the kids and grandpa bob cooked the blanket blank out of the pizza we were to have for super. He will for ever be in our hearts

Love always
Grandma and grandpa Schall who he is telling story’s to now

Tim McCoy

February 15, 2021

Jackie, Doug, Molly, Jake,
That was a beautiful tribute to Sam. Our hearts, and thoughts are with you and we are always here for you.
Tim, Josephine and Molly McCoy


Sister and Brother




Jamaica Senior Trip


SMS Raiders
State Tournament Team
Seniors 2019