Obituary of Samuel Mark Aanestad
Samuel Mark Aanestad was born on July 16, 1946 to Rev. Wilhelm and Harriet Wiita Aanestad in Bismarck, North Dakota, and passed away at home in Penn Valley, California, surrounded by his family on May 6, 2018 at the age of 71. He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Susan Aanestad; his children Kaesa Aanestad Moore (Darren), Erik Aanestad (Tiffani), Kirstin Bolton (Steve); grandchildren Rhiannon and Reaghan Moore, Sela, Ava, Britta and Eila Aanestad, and Apple, Ian, Isaac, and Soren Bolton; his siblings Bill Aanestad (Dorothy), Steve Aanestad, and Ellen Aanestad; and many beloved cousins, nieces and nephews.
Sam was the third of five children, and grew up in parsonages in North Dakota, Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. It was in Spring Valley, Wisconsin, that he met his high school sweetheart, Susan Thompson, and married her in 1969. They moved to California that year so that Sam could continue his studies at UCLA where he earned a Bachelor of Science and a Doctor of Dental Surgery. He later completed a fouryear residency in oral and maxillofacial surgery at Highland Hospital in Oakland. Sam practiced oral surgery in Walnut Creek for a year before relocating with his family and entering into practice for himself in Grass Valley in 1980.
Sam loved Nevada County and being engaged in his community. Some of his favorite activities included being a member of the Rotary Club of Grass Valley, a coach for youth soccer, football and baseball teams, a tournament-level Little League umpire, and a member of the KNCO radio broadcast team for Nevada Union High School football. He especially enjoyed attending his kids’ athletic and academic events and could often be heard offering passionate encouragement. He served as an elder at his church and gained great friendships through participating in men’s fellowship groups. He was on the staff of and served as Vice-Chief of Surgery at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital and was a long-time board member for the Grass Valley School District.
In addition to local community interests, Sam worked to promote his profession as he served as a member and chairman for the California Dental Association Council on Legislation, as president of the Butte-Sierra District Dental Society, and as a member of the Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and the American Dental Association. He had a heart to help those less fortunate, and he traveled to Mexico with Los Medicos Voladores as well as provided free care in clinics in the Sacramento area. He was honored as UCLA’s School of Dentistry Alumnus of the Year in 1998.
Always interested in public policy and government, Sam earned a Master of Public Administration degree in 1991 and was elected to the California State Assembly,
3rd District in 1998. In 2002, he was elected to the California State Senate, 4th District where he served two terms. His top priorities included rural health care, water rights, and Veteran’s issues. He was most proud of his work with Kristie’s Law and fighting for those who couldn’t fight for themselves.
By 2014, Sam had retired from both politics and surgery. In his retirement, he volunteered with Interfaith Food Ministry and enjoyed being involved with his regular bible study group. Sam appreciated being able to spend summers back in Wisconsin with family and friends, enjoying sunsets over the lake, boating with his grandkids, and spotting bald eagles. He loved all things that fly, speaking his mind, a great cigar, the search for the perfect barbeque rib, Frank’s Pizza, and a good book. He was a faithful believer in Jesus Christ, a hard worker, a dedicated servant to his community, a family man, and an honest and genuine person in all his endeavors. He always told his wife that she was the love of his life, his family that he loved them, and his friends always knew he would stand up for them.
We will miss him all of our days.
Sam was preceded in death by his parents and his brother David. A memorial service in honor of Sam will be held at Twin Cities Church, 11726 Rough & Ready Highway, in Grass Valley on June 2, 2018, at 2:00pm. A reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, his family welcomes donations to Hospice of the Foothills, Los Medicos Voladores, and Nevada Union High School Athletics. HOSPICEOFTHEFOOTHILLS.ORG | FLYINGDOCS.ORG | https://TINYURL.COM/Y8LVFWJ9
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