Former Winston School student Sam Morris dies heroically; Memorial service to be held Jan. 20

Sam Morris, a member of Del Mar’s The Winston School Class of 2007, died heroically on Wednesday, Jan. 9, in a house fire in Okitbettha County, Mississippi, according to The Winston School Headmaster Mike Peterson.

Sam had been staying with his elderly grandparents when a fire broke out in the house, Peterson said. Sam helped his 89-year-old grandfather out to safety and then went back into the building along with a family friend and caregiver, Geraldine Rice, to attempt to rescue his 92-year-old grandmother. Tragically, neither Sam nor the other two people got out of the house, Peterson said.

“ Sam was just 23,” Peterson said. “Sam was a very well liked member of the Winston community and participated in all aspects of school life. He was a science award winner, played on the school’s varsity sports teams, and also was a recipient of a Winston “W” for excellence in multiple facets of the program. His yearbook thanks his parents for all they have done for him, and he was proud of overcoming the challenges he’d faced as a student to graduate with his classmates in June of 2007. He was a journeyman electrician’s apprentice in Mississippi.”

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, Jan. 20. Please e-mail Mrs. Sterling-Torretti at if you would like to be sent the EVITE link to RSVP for attending the service.

At the request of the family, the school will accept donations for a scholarship to be established in Sam’s name.

“Our thoughts go out the Morris family for this terrific loss,” Peterson said. “And for those of us whom Sam was a friend, a classmate, a neighbor or beloved student, we will remember him as a young man who loved his life but loved the lives of others even more.”