East Central University Assistant Professor Samantha Dillehay, 34, of Ada, and a Defeated Creek Community, Tennessee, native, died at 10:55 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017, at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center in Oklahoma City, from an aggressive form of cancer.
Two services are planned to commemorate Dillehay's life, one in Oklahoma and one in Tennessee. The Oklahoma memorial service will begin at 3 p.m. Friday with a come and go "Celebration of Sam's Art and Photographs" on display in ECU's Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center, followed by a memorial at 5:30 p.m. in the Ataloa Theatre of that same facility.
The award-winning professor began her career at ECU in 2012. She was known for inspiring her students and for her passion to help them find their voice. Sam was always available to listen and continuously pushed and encouraged her students to do and be their best. She truly loved her students and they loved and respected her.
Sam will forever be remembered for her infectious laugh, for being a supporter of LGBTQ+ rights and for her love of Dolly Parton.
Dillehay was born Nov. 13, 1982, and is a 2001 graduate of Smith County High School. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in media arts from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville in 2007. She continued her education by attending the University of Oklahoma, where she earned her Master of Fine Arts in film and video in 2011.
She is survived by her parents, Scotty and Debra Grisham Dillehay of Defeated Creek Community, Tennessee; her life partner, Natalie May of Ada; a sister, Candice Dillehay Fields and her husband, Chris, and their children, Nathan and Emily of the Defeated Creek Community; two brothers, Jeremy Dillehay and his wife, Tiffany, and their children, Nicholas and Charlie of the Pleasant Shade Community; Dustin Dillehay and his wife, Jessica, and their son, Jackson, of South Carthage; her maternal grandmother, Betty Overstreet Grisham of the Elmwood Community; her paternal grandmothers, Marion Sloan of Lebanon, Tennessee, and Kasel Woodard Dillehay of Livingston, Tennessee.
She was preceded in death by two grandfathers; her maternal grandfather, Cranston Evins Grisham, 61, who died Aug. 30, 1997, and her paternal grandfather, Jack Powell Dillehay, 77, who died Dec. 26, 2008.
Flowers may be sent to the ECU Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center at 1100 E. 14th, Ada, OK, 74820.
The ECU Foundation, Inc. has established a fund in her memory, the Samantha Dillehay Memorial Fund. For more information or to give, contact the ECU Foundation Office at (580) 559-5655. The mailing address for the ECU Foundation is 1100 E. 14th, PMB Y-8, Ada, OK, 74820. To donate online, go to alumni.ecok.edu/donations.
Published on October 4, 2017