Samuel John Oden Memorial Fund

The Wagner family: Adrian & Pam with children Ben, Kylie and Emily

During the summer of his 10th grade year while attending Our Lady of Grace, Sam participated in a mission trip to an orphanage in Honduras. During this trip, Sam met Levi and other children. Together they read books and played soccer for hours. His love for working with kids was an extension of who he was as person - warm, caring and genuine.

We wanted to share a nice story that we hadn’t remembered, but a memory our son Ben shared that surprised, saddened, and brightened our day a bit.

There was a day when your daughter Lyndsay was supposed to babysit our kids at your home in St. Louis Park.  For some unknown reason, Lyndsay was not able to but arranged a combination of Sam and your daughter Emily to watch our children instead.

Sam was the only male babysitter Ben ever had. Ben remembered and shared how nice Sam was, and how well they got along with one another that night. This just shows what sort of a kid Sam was. He could have easily plopped Ben in front of a TV and done something else, but he engaged him and made it a great experience for my son that night.

We wish your entire family the very best, and hope you enjoy this memory as much as we did.

--The Wagner Family

-- Henna Elovaara, mom of Eeli (pictured above) and daughters, iisa, and Oona

Proverbs 16:3  "Entrust your works to the Lord, and your plans will succeed."

Sam and Children

Sam had a special place in his heart for children.  Whether it be reading books at a local elementary school or sharing his love of sports with children on mission trips, Sam loved to offer his time and make a difference in children’s lives.


Sam and Eeli

" Sam had a big heart and a generous spirit, he was always ready to play with kids. Even when he was in hurry, he stopped and gave “high-fives” or hugs or lifted them up in the air. Always with a big smile! He would play games, sing, have different contests, make all kinds of funny videos, watch tv/sports or whatever the kids wanted to do. He always had new ideas for playing too! There was never a dull moment with him, and sometimes we weren't sure who had the most fun, Sam or the kids. All the kids loved Sam from day one! He was a big brother, and the best friend to so many!"

Sam on his 17th birthday