Baylor Mourns Passing of Biology Faculty Member

August 9, 2017
Dr. Dan Samples

Daniel Samples, M.D., Ph.D., a lecturer in the department of biology and a faculty associate in the medical humanities program, passed away Sunday, Aug. 6, after a brief illness.

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WACO, Texas (Aug. 9, 2017) – Baylor University is mourning the death of Daniel Samples, M.D., Ph.D., a lecturer in the department of biology and a faculty associate in the medical humanities program, who passed away Sunday, Aug. 6, after a brief illness. He was 66.

A memorial service will be held at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 10, at Elliston Chapel, located at Third Street and Bagby Avenue on the Baylor campus. A reception with the family will follow in the atrium of the Baylor Sciences Building.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of our colleague, Dr. Dan Samples,” said Dwayne D. Simmons, Ph.D., Cornelia Marschall Smith Endowed Professor and chair of biology. “His educational journey was a remarkable one. Although his time with us at Baylor was brief, Dr. Samples found his true vocation in teaching. He was a model teacher. He retired from his successful career as a pathologist to become a lecturer at Baylor. He loved teaching students. He worked above and beyond his lecturer duties, transforming the courses he taught and transforming the lives of students.

“On behalf of my colleagues in the biology department, we extend our sincerest sympathies to his wife, Roxann, and children, Caitlin and Daniel, as they mourn their loss. We will miss him dearly,” Simmons said.

A native of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, Dr. Samples moved with his family to the Dallas area, where he attended school. He enlisted in the Navy in 1969 and served until 1977. While in the Navy, he completed his GED, was honorably discharged and immediately began studying at Richland College in Dallas. He then transferred to Texas A&M University, where he earned his B.S. in biochemistry, M.S. in toxicology and Ph.D. in food science. During this time at A&M, he met his wife, Roxann, and they married in 1983.

Dr. Samples became interested in pathology during graduate school and attended medical school at UT Health Science Center in San Antonio. He completed his training in pathology at Baylor Hospital in Dallas in 1994.

He and his family moved to Waco that summer to join the Central Texas Pathology group and enjoyed working until he was given the opportunity to teach at Baylor University. He found that working with students and teaching was his true calling, and when he was given the opportunity to teach full time, he retired from pathology in 2013.

Dr. Samples greatly enjoyed working with his students and colleagues in the College of Arts and Sciences and looked forward to being the faculty sponsor for Alpha Epsilon Delta, the prehealth society at Baylor.

“Dan Samples’ dedication to his students and to his colleagues was extraordinary,” said Lauren A. Barron, M.D., clinical professor and director of the medical humanities program at Baylor. “He had a way of connecting with and encouraging students from all across the University. His generosity with his time and talent knew no bounds. His answer to students was always and ever ‘yes.’ His brilliance, his unique humor, his energy and enthusiasm, his creativity and curiosity – all combined in such a way that made everyone around him better. It is not possible to exaggerate the tremendous loss we feel with his passing.”

He is survived by his wife; daughter, Caitlin; son, Daniel; mother, Margaret; sister, Sandy Strozeski and her husband, Mike; and brother, Steve.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations may be made to the Baylor Chapter of Alpha Epsilon Delta to support its mission trip to the Dominican Republic. Gifts can be made online to the Alpha Epsilon Delta Team at

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