Those who knew Sam Reale know that he had cheated death many times in ninety-six and a half years, but the odds finally caught up to him on Friday, August 23, 2019. Throughout his life Sam worked as hard as any man who ever lived from as far back as childhood when he was one of ten children raised on the family farm in Marlton. As a young man he worked at Kieckhefer Box Company, and during WWII he worked at Camden shipyard building Liberty ships. After the war he went to work for Verchio Asphalt Paving Company and learned the trade that became synonymous with the Reale name in South Jersey: Samuel P. Reale and Sons Asphalt Paving Company, which he formed in 1954. In the ensuing decades his company was one of several that transformed South Jersey from farmland to bedroom communities, including Cherry Hill, Delran, and Cinnaminson. He may have had only a sixth-grade education, but he was as wise as any businessman, incorporating technology into his company as rapidly as it was being developed.
Sam will be remembered not only as a business man and hard worker, but as a great storyteller, recounting tales from his youth with pinpoint accuracy. In his spare time, he enjoyed offshore fishing on his boat and even constructed his own fishing rods. He was proud of his service as a member of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. He also enjoyed vacationing in Acapulco or Florida. Later years found him tending to his garden. He was especially proud of and devoted to the care of over a dozen fig trees. Sam was a Mets fan in spite of having been born in Philadelphia.
Sam is survived by two sons, Samuel “Skip” Jr. (Gayla) and Christopher William; grandchildren, Douglass (Alexandra), Christopher William, Jr. and Nicholas Ryan; and siblings, Carol, Dominick, Frank Jr. and Theresa. He was preceded in death by a son, Scott Mitchell and a granddaughter, Bethany Joan.
Family and friends will celebrate Sam’s long and eventful life on Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. and Thursday from 9 to 10 a.m. at Sweeney Funeral Home, Riverside, where there will be a 10 a.m. service followed by interment at Lakeview Memorial Park, Cinnaminson.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice, 5 Eves Drive Suite 300, Marlton NJ 08053.