Beautiful send-off to larger than life Coast man
AT SIX foot one, Sam Andrews stood proud.
With a personality and worldly plans to match, and love of his life at his side, he was ready to enter manhood.
But on November 8, while visiting family in Darwin, and moments after phoning his mum in excitement about a business deal he'd struck, he hopped in the pool to practise air breathing techniques.
He didn't resurface.
He was found unconscious and despite best efforts from emergency services, could not be resuscitated. He was 27.
He was Salmon to his mates, Sammy to his mum, and Fish to his girlfriend.
His girlfriend Grace Cooper and mother Belinda Hortle, the closest women to his heart, bravely spoke about their boyfriend and son.
They shared stories of his cheeky nature, from hiding jigsaw puzzle pieces, to joyous dancing over chocolate; his love of music, his ability to quote Adam Sandler movies and, above all, the confidence he gave everyone he met.
"He just made me feel bolder … the one person I could be my complete self with, he accepted all the little things about me," Grace said.
"He lived life how it is supposed to be lived. There was this energy about him that drew you in and made you feel good.
"Somehow the room was a bit duller before he walked in."
The pair met through friendship circles and later at the Good Bean coffee shop at the University of the Sunshine Coast where Sam worked.
There was a connection at once, a banter, and Sam's mischievous side was hooked.
Weeks later, towards the end of 2017, the pair made a "beeline" for each other on a night out.
Naturally he phoned his mum.
"I remember him saying, 'mum there is this girl', and I knew," Belinda said.
"He was really starting to find his niche, but as soon as he met Grace, I think he wanted to step up.
"He wanted to be someone who felt proud enough to be with someone like her.
"For a long time, he was this big kid, which we all loved but he was literally stepping up to be a man. And Grace was giving him that push."
Sam's business plans were unfolding on the day he died. He'd met with clients to expand his marketing side gig and plans were in plan for him to purchase the Good Bean cafe.
In his mind he was "looking after his future self".
His shattered circle of friends and family will send off Sam with a "celebratory" funeral in Buderim tomorrow. It will be followed by a wake at Solbar.