Samuel Winston Pruett

We mournfully announce the passing of Samuel Winston Pruett, 55, of Springdale, Arkansas who left this life on March 6, 2021 to live with his Heavenly Father. Survivors include his mother, Joyce Warren (Pruett) Roberts and Carl Roberts, brother Arthur Warren Pruett and his wife Natalie Pruett, niece Sophia Pruett, nephew Sam Pruett, stepsister Carrie Roberts, stepbrother David Roberts, aunts, and many cousins and friends.

Sam attended Springdale Public Schools and graduated from Springdale High School in 1983, serving as student body president during his senior year. He attended the University of Arkansas and was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. He graduated with a BA degree in Communications in 1988. During that time, he volunteered as a Youth Director at Central United Methodist Church and held internship positions with the Springdale Chamber of Commerce and Northwest Regional Hospital. After graduating, he attended the University of Oxford as a visiting scholar.

Upon graduating from college, he went to work for the Genesis Technology Incubator at the University of Arkansas, where he was quickly promoted to the position of Executive Director at the age of 27. While serving in this role, he was elected and served as the Chairman of the National Business Incubation Association and accepted the industry’s highest honor as the 1993 National Incubator of the Year Award. He also received numerous honors and awards including the “40 Under 40” list awarded by the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal, Outstanding Young Alumni by the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville’s Young Top Five from the city of Fayetteville, Outstanding Young Arkansas Award from the Arkansas Jaycees, Person of the Year Award from the Fayetteville Downtown Rotary, Person of the Week from KHBS-TV and the National Small Business Advocate of the Year award from the Small Business Administration. He also served on numerous boards and memberships.

While at Genesis, he held the position of Economic Development Officer for the College of Engineering at the University of Arkansas, where he secured a $1.7M grant from the Economic Development of Arkansas Fund Commission for improvements to the Engineering Research Center. He also raised $512,000 for the Engineering Intern Program for technology-based companies in Arkansas.

Sam left Genesis to become the President/CEO of the Memphis Incubator Systems, where he oversaw the development of the first technology incubator, Emerge Memphis, and recruited 17 firms into the program.

Three years later, Sam moved to Chicago to become the Executive Director of the Illinois Medical District and President of the Chicago Technology Park Corporation. While serving in this role, he recruited both start-up and large corporate life science tenants, oversaw the successful completion of the nation’s first tuition-free bioinformatics program, secured 9.5 acres for future Park expansion, and doubled the commercial research space.

While serving in this role, Sam attracted more than $1B in new construction, including the nation’s largest free-standing FBI facility. He also received many noble awards and served on numerous boards.

After serving in this role for 13 years, Sam moved back home to Northwest Arkansas, where he consulted and co-founded HRM Services, where he served as the acting CEO/Managing Consultant. During his tenure there, Sam negotiated the sale of the company to a venture-funded woman-owned business enterprise where he remained in a consultant role.

Everyone who had the honor of knowing Sam is left with memories of his generosity, kindness, thoughtfulness, wit and intelligence. Sam was a wonderful and loving son, brother, uncle, nephew and friend. He had such a loving heart for people and animals and touched countless lives with his giving spirit. He had a way of making friends with just about everyone he met, and an incredible gift of making people feel special, valued, and recognized. He had a knack for remembering everybody’s birthdays and anniversaries, as well as a natural talent for storytelling. He was a joy to be around and being in his presence was always a blessing. Those close to Sam know he loved music and he always found a song to match the occasion, bringing cheer and laughter to all. Those of us who knew Sam are deeply saddened by his loss, including his devoted dog and best friend, Beau Blue. Sam left this world a better place, and his spirit will be carried with us always.

Visitation will be held at the Heritage Funeral Home on Friday, March 12 between 1–4 PM. There will be a private memorial for the immediate family.

Donations in Sam’s honor may be made to the Springdale Animal Shelter by contacting them at (479) 750-8166. You may also elect to make donations to Bread of Life at First Church United Methodist by calling (479) 751- 4610.

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Carolyna
Carolyna
22 days ago

I am deeply saddened over the loss of dear Sam. He was so loving, funny and encouraging. I was privileged to consider him my Uncle. The last time I saw him he wore a crown my daughters had made for him and we all sat around catching up. It was as if no time had passed. I wish I had the opportunity to laugh once more and tell him how loved he was. With love and prayers.
Carolyna Garcia
(Jim’s Niece)

Michelle Fries
Michelle Fries
1 month ago

I was devastated hear about Sam’s passing this afternoon when I got on FB. Sam was one close friend of mine in high school. We shared so many memories – in Student Council, youth group, etc. We may, or may not have skipped Sunday school to walk through Bluff Cemetery. We could talk for hours about everything. I could be myself with Sam. He was so witty and fun. He treated me with honor and respect that blessed me more than he could imagine. He took me out one night to the OPO and treated me to lobster -fanciest dinner… Read more »

Kim Nelson Sexton
Kim Nelson Sexton
1 month ago

Sam will always be Remembered for the person he was. He was such a sweet guy who would help anyone. For unknown reasons, this is hardest road to travel for us to travel but yet it’s the most easiest road fir Sam to travel. Sam gained his Mighty Angel Wings and I now pray that Sam is Soaring High and watching over his family. Gone Too Soon but this isn’t a Goodbye… it’s more like See You Later Sam….

Mike & Dena Jansen
Mike & Dena Jansen
1 month ago

Sam was such a kindhearted & thoughtful friend who always made a person feel special. He touched our lives as well as many others & will be greatly missed. Praying for his precious family & many friends.

Travis Ricketts
Travis Ricketts
1 month ago

Sam was always so generous with his time and experience in teaching me the ropes at SHS Student Council. I’m so sorry for your loss, Art.

Nancy Vernon
Nancy Vernon
1 month ago

Was blessed to know Sam in my visits to Springdale. He was so friendly and thoughtful. I will never forget him.

Sheryl Pozza
Sheryl Pozza
1 month ago

It is with great sadness that I read of Sam’s passing. Although we lost touch with both of our travels after High School, all of my memories of Sam include his incredible smile and warm and loving heart. I am grateful I had the opportunity to spend time with him. Extending my thoughts and prayers to Sam’s family and friends.

Mia Mikesell-Bobo
Mia Mikesell-Bobo
1 month ago

When my family moved to Springdale when I was in the 7th grade, I had the blessing of living across the street from Sam and his family. I didn’t know a single soul and Sam befriended me the first day we met. He was my very closest and dearest friend all the way through High School. I’m thankful for so many sweet and wonderful memories. I’m heart broken at the loss of such an amazing man and my friend. My prayers are with you, Joyce and Art, as well as the entire family.

Angie Holloway
Angie Holloway
1 month ago

Sam was a very special man who everyone that knew him, loved him. He was always so kind and had such a giving spirit. I wish I had been given the chance to get to know him even more. He touched a lot of lives and he will truly be missed. My prayers go out to his mother Joyce and Carl, his brother and all of his family and friends! I know God has received a special angel.

Cortne Pruett-Martin
Cortne Pruett-Martin
1 month ago

Sam was such a loving cousin. I have so many sweet emails from him. He was thoughtful, generous, and kind. He had a way of making you feel very valued. Even as a child, I remember his visits to our grandparents home and how I felt happy and safe in his company. His smile lit up your heart and filled the room with love. We love you dear Sam.

Sundelei Horton
Sundelei Horton
1 month ago

Such a kind, loving, considerate and loving man…He was such a good cousin..I loved him dearly as my children did also.. I will miss him greatly.

Carole Pruett
Carole Pruett
1 month ago

Sam became a stepson to me when his farther, Arthur Al Pruett, and I married. We ran a successful retail operation in New Mexico and when Sam came for a visit, the first thing he did was roll up his sleeves and dig in with our operation. Our customers loved him! He treated them all as guests. I could go on with alcalades about Sam & his wonderful spirit. He always treated me as a mom, sister & friend. May his soul be at peace.

Myra Harris
Myra Harris
1 month ago

So glad we got to know Sam when he moved to Vicenza Villa. He was such a joy to be around. We will miss his smiling face. Rod & Myra Harris

Judy Fullington
Judy Fullington
1 month ago

I haven’t known the boys since they were little, however I knew Joyce well years ago.
I am so sorry for your loss! I lost my daughter, Jayme when she was 45. A loss of a child is so hard! My prayers are with you all.
Judy (Tucker) Fullington

Lori Harrison
Lori Harrison
1 month ago

This is a wonderful tribute to our Sam. I have too many memories to share, but I loved him so much and am going to miss him terribly. My heart goes out to the family and everyone fortunate enough to have known him.

Edna Rothwell
Edna Rothwell
1 month ago

While I didn’t personally know Sam, my children did. I knew his mother as a highly respected teacher in the Springdale School District. My heart hurts for her, and she and the rest of the family have my prayers and deepest sympathy.

Sheree Alt
Sheree Alt
1 month ago

I cannot express how heartbreaking this news is to me and my husband, Mark. This obituary depicts Sam in so many ways. We loved him dearly and share many wonderful memories.
Our hearts go out to Sam’s family. May peace be with you all.