Samuel Alan Carlan

Born on December 20, 1952

Departed on December 1, 2020

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Samuel Alan Carlan, 67, of Gallatin, went to be with Jesus on Tuesday, December 1, 2020. Born in Salisbury, NC, December 20, 1952 he was the son of the late Delmer Carlan and Lenora Young Johnston. Samuel was also preceded in death by a brother, Steve Carlan.
He and his wife, Marcia, met at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, TN. Later they transferred to Virginia Tech and were married in 1974. Sam earned his Master’s degree in Forest Economics after which he began a lifelong career with International Paper Company and worked in several locations. Their beloved son, Josh, was born in 1984.
In 1989 Sam was transferred to the Corporate office in Memphis, TN. After 36 years with IP he retired in 2014. Following his retirement Sam and Marcia moved to Gallatin, TN where they became members of Goodlettsville Nazarene Church.
Sam was a devoted Christian. His faith, family, and friends were his greatest joys. Throughout his life Sam served in many ministries with his church including being church treasurer and secretary of the board. He loved being a part of several mission outreaches to other countries.
Sam, Marcia, and Josh traveled on many vacations that he lovingly planned in great detail. He loved nature, camping, hiking, biking, canoeing, and exploring almost all of the national parks. Sam also enjoyed woodworking, Civil War history, and reading---especially his favorite author, J. R. R. Tolkien. He was a huge fan of Virginia Tech football.
Sam had an easy-going personality and always saw the best in everyone. He loved talking with people and his dry sense of humor was endearing. He was a loving and devoted husband and father as well as being a dearly loved brother, son, grandson, and uncle. He made people smile everywhere he went.
He is survived by his wife of 46 ½ years, Marcia Carr Carlan; his son Joshua Alan Carlan; brothers, Stan (Claudette) Carlan, John (Lisa) Johnston and Fred (Sue) Johnston, Jr.; sisters, Sharon (Rick) Brown, Joni (David) Brice, Judy Johnston, Darlene (Terry) Geiser, and Gail (Tony) Guerrero; sister-in-law, Diane Carlan; and numerous nieces and nephews. A celebration of life service will be held at GoodNaz Church at a time to be announced. In lieu of flowers a donation may be made to the Lewey Body Dementia Association ( in memory of Sam for their ongoing research. The family wishes to thank Brookdale Memory and Dementia Care in Goodlettsville for their loving care during this past year and Adoration Hospice for making his last few months comfortable.
Sam will be greatly missed by everyone who knew and loved him. But we celebrate HIS joy in knowing he is now smiling with Jesus.

21 Comments to Samuel Alan Carlan

  1. Melody Hudspeth
    December 4, 2020 4:59 pm

    Sam was one of our oldest and dearest friends. He was like family to us. We will miss him so much.

    Tim and Melody

  2. Monica and Bennett Schwontkowski
    December 4, 2020 5:05 pm

    We will miss him.
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you .
    Monica and Bennett Schwontkowski

  3. Ben and Laura Cross
    December 4, 2020 5:27 pm

    Such a beautiful life well lived. A wonderful example to us all. I’m thankful he isn’t suffering and is in the sweet, loving arms of Jesus.

  4. Sharon Carlan Brown
    December 4, 2020 6:00 pm

    My world is better because he was a part of it. All my love.

  5. David Clemons
    December 4, 2020 6:29 pm

    Had wonderful memories with my college roommate praying for the family he will be sorely missed
    See you on the other side.

  6. Fred Johnston
    December 4, 2020 6:32 pm

    Sammy is one of my favorite people that I have ever known and he was a large bright spot in our family. I certainly will miss him and I will always enjoy remembering his life and times in our our family.

  7. Rick Champion
    December 4, 2020 6:36 pm

    Ah Samwise, my dear old friend. There are so many wonderful memories and times we shared– truly about the most kind-hearted and compassionate person I ever knew. So many great camping experiences — and I have this photo you took of me on what I’m sure was out last excursion– an early morning canoe trip somewhere there in Virginia. So many other times just sharing life–and lots of Beatles–you were a good expert there! If ever there was a person I knew who truly lived out the Beatitudes in a very natural way, it was you. You made my TNC life bearable–more, you made it fun! To say ‘a great man’ is just so understated…but also just honestly the truth. May you rest in peace old friend, may you rest in peace.

  8. Virgil Mullins
    December 4, 2020 7:34 pm

    Sam was a wonderful person and a dear friend. He always ask about our boys and how they were doing. He will be missed by everyone who knew him.

  9. Cheryl and Mike Jackson
    December 4, 2020 7:51 pm

    I grew up in Jacksonville FL with Sam and after all these years we ended up catching up again in Nashville two years ago. Sam and his sisters were all friends in our church youth group. It was so nice to reconnect with him and Marcia. My heart breaks for all the Carlans and Johnstons. Marcia, your love and devotion was evident…you remained by his side until the end…as much as Covid would allow. May God be beside you during these difficult days and bring you peace and comfort.

  10. David J Spann
    December 4, 2020 9:44 pm

    What can I say – I miss my friend. I glad his suffering is at an end. I am glad to know he’s with our Lord. I am glad to know that I will see him again.

  11. Debbie and Jerry Woodard
    December 4, 2020 10:10 pm

    Sam was a true friend to many. Faithful to the Lord, his church family, and his beloved family. It was our blessing to know him and call him friend. He will be missed. Thankful to know he is healed and we know exploring with great joy his forever home. Sending much love to you Marcia, Josh and his extended family.

  12. Alan and Martha Thompson
    December 5, 2020 2:16 pm

    Sam and Marcia attended First Church of the Nazarene where I pastored for several months before I retired. We quickly connected with them and enjoyed our brief association. Sam had a good heart. Our deepest sympathy to Marcia and the family.

  13. Colleen Stephens
    December 5, 2020 7:31 pm

    I always enjoyed seeing Sam every Sunday. Always had a smile on his face. He will be missed but I know he is with Jesus and is healed. We will see him again. Will continue to pray for the family.

  14. Angie Brazil
    December 5, 2020 7:39 pm

    When I think of Mr Sam, I just smile. He always made me smile and laugh with all his stories. I loved his sarcasm, humor and just the fun atmosphere when he was near. My prayers are with your family, and I’m so happy he is laughing with Jesus now.
    “So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy.”
    ‭‭John‬ ‭16:22

  15. Scott Brazil
    December 5, 2020 7:42 pm

    Sam was a such joy to be around. I remember he always loved to talk about Virginia Tech football at Church as most of us were SEC fans . I had the pleasure of spending a week in Honduras with Sam on a work and witness trip. He wore this bandana around his head all week so we named him “Sambo”. He was full of laughs and it was a trip to remember. Prayers to Ms. Marcia and the family.

  16. Caroline Mirelli
    December 5, 2020 8:03 pm

    Sam loved children. he was always ready to donate bicycles for the toy drive. A very genteel man. Blessings to the family..

  17. Joe Brackett
    December 5, 2020 8:11 pm

    Sam was a great example of how to live a Christian life. He was a blessing to me and my family .. I always remember the two of us singing to Louis Armstrong. On our way to hockey game. What a great nite

  18. Shaylin Applegate
    December 6, 2020 4:26 pm

    I am so happy to have been apart of Sam’s life and provide him care the past few months of his life. And I’m blessed to have met Marcia too in the process. He was an amazing man who left an amazing legacy behind. So happy he is in his new body in Heaven with the Lord. I can’t wait to see him again one day.

    • Marcia Carlan
      December 7, 2020 9:43 am

      Thank you Shay for caring for Sam. You always had a smile and gentle touch with him and your prayers meant the world to me as I sat with him each day. You will make an amazing nurse some day!
      Love you,

      • Shaylin Applegate
        December 25, 2020 6:36 pm

        Sorry I am just now responding, I pray for you and your son everyday. I will always carry y’all in my heart and I love you too. Have y’all had the funeral yet? If not, when is it?

  19. Mark Lancaster
    December 7, 2020 10:12 am

    Sam was a wonderful Christian man and friend. I was blessed to be Sam’s pastor for 20 years. During those years of serving the Lord together Sam was a rock for me on numerous occasions! I was happy for Sam when he retired, but hated to see he and Marcia move. The dedication of Sam and Marcia to Grace Church was stellar! Very thankful to our God that I had the privilege to count Sam by friend and Christian brother.

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