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Sammy Ladabaum

Sammy Ladabaum was born on July 9, 1933, to Morris and Mae Ladabaum. Sammy grew up in Brownsville. His cousins Sam and Isy Kolmen lived around the corner. Sammy was known as Shorty and Cousin Sam was known as Big Sam since he was a 6-foot-tall redhead.
Sammy grew up working at his parent’s store, Alamo Clothing, in downtown Brownsville. After graduating from Brownsville High School, he went to Texas Southmost College and then was drafted into the Army during the Korean War. Since he was an only child, he was sent to Germany where he drove tanks.
After completing his tour in the Army, Sammy completed his studies at The University of Texas in Austin in accounting. At the Austin Hillel, Sammy met the love of his life, Randa.
Sammy and Randa were married in Houston in June of 1960 and were married for forty-six years, until her untimely death of lung cancer in 2006. Sammy loved Randa and did everything with her. They worked in the store together, went on weekly date nights, and attended Friday night services at Temple Beth-El. They were always together.
Sammy worked with his dad Morris at Alamo Clothing Store on Washington Street. Over the years, the store moved two times to its’ last home, the old Grande Theater on Washington Street. Randa helped him in the store and loved bringing in plants. Sammy sold hats, boots, jeans, and more. He was one of the largest retailers of Stetson hats in the United States and was very proud of that fact! People from all over Mexico and the Valley came to buy straw and felt hats from Sammy. He decided to open charge accounts in the 1970’s and helped many hundreds of families establish credit and get clothing for their families.
Sammy and Randa had two daughters, Belinda and Gail. Sammy worked diligently to give his family experiences in life that he was not able to have growing up.
He taught Gail and Belinda the value of hard work. Sammy taught Belinda how to work at the store…write up sales, fit clothing on customers, go to market, and more. Belinda and Sammy spent many an afternoon talking about the future, college, and about reading articles in his favorite newspaper, the Wall Street Journal. He sent Gail to computer camp in the 80’s as they both knew that it would be a good skill to have in life. Gail fondly remembers the Sunday rides around town and the special dinners at restaurants on Thursday night with the family.
To say Sammy was an avid reader would be an understatement. He loved reading several newspapers daily, as well as reading a plethora of 20-30 magazines a month. Sammy loved watching CNN and Fox News as well as talking about local Brownsville politics. He and his friends, Pancho Maldonado, Vincent Crixell, Henry Zepeda, and Joe Trevino would meet every morning at 11 a.m. at C&L Drug Store downtown to discuss the daily Brownsville and national news stories. He also enjoyed conversing with the merchants in downtown Brownsville. Israel Lizka, Bernie Levin, and Bill Bradford Sr. were also his lifelong friends.
Sammy Ladabaum closed the Alamo Clothing Store in 1981 so he could retire and be with his wife Randa. Several employees had been with him for over 30 years. These employees were Juanita Martinez, Juanita Espinoza, Raquel Deanda, Ana Maria Santillan, and Enriquetta Herrera. Sammy was a supporter of the BISD DECA program which taught high school juniors and seniors lifelong skills in business. One of the DECA Students became a friend of Sammy’s for life, retired Brownsville Police Chief Carlos Garcia. Carlos worked for Sammy while he was in high school.
Throughout his life, Sammy was a walker. Whether it was downtown, Amigoland Mall, Sunrise Mall, or down McLelland Street, Sammy got his exercise by walking. Sammy and Randa would be seen walking every night after dinner. After their walk, it was followed by a treat at the local Dairy Queen. He and his friends, Israel Lizka, Tony Verb, Oscar Gonzalez, and Joe Trevino would walk every morning at Sunrise Mall and afterwards, hold “Court “at Whataburger to discuss the daily news.
Prayer, gratitude, and thankfulness were very important to Sammy. Throughout his life, he was a Friday night regular at Temple Beth-El with his wife and daughters. He served on the Temple Board of Directors as treasurer and assisted with many events. He served in the Bnai Brith Organization and worked on the United Jewish Appeal. He and Randa were honored by the United Jewish Appeal.

One of his favorite sayings was, “Si no te cuidas, nadie se cuida.” The translation is “if you do not take care of yourself, no one will”. Sammy was a quiet contributor to many organizations and charities throughout the United States.
Sammy Ladabaum passed away on Saturday December 29, 2018, at eighty-five years old. He is buried next to his wife, Randa, in the Hebrew Cemetery.