Born and raised in Pittsburgh, he was a math major at Princeton but took as few classes in that major as possible so he could spend his time pursuing his love for computers and programming.
Sam was one of the pioneers in that field and co-authored a widely read book on C language programming, C: A Reference Manual, which is still in use today. Although he learned to love computers on giant mainframes, he also was an early advocate of the personal computer.
After earning a Ph.D. at Carnegie Mellon, he worked at a startup there and then for Texas Instruments. He most recently worked at Google in Pittsburgh.
His wife, Diana, said he had two mid-life crises. In the first, he took up motorcycle riding, and for the second he indulged his other great talent in music as a valued bass in the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh.
Sam is survived by Diana; two sons, Samuel Drew and Michael; grandsons Oliver and Gregory; and a granddaughter, Lucy. Remembrances may be made to the Pine Creek Presbyterian Church or the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh.