"If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”
In 2012 Sam and Diane Dumond joined Ignatians West. Together they served at Blessed Sacrament School in Hollywood for one year and then moved to St. Jerome’s School due to the proximity to their home in Redondo Beach. Sam served as a counselor and Diane as a nurse. After two years at St. Jerome’s they joined St. Margaret’s Center in Lennox and became an integral part of the food pantry. While the usual time of service expected of an Ignatians West volunteer is one or two days a week both Sam and Diane created a schedule that often included 4 days a week.
Sam and Diane were a faithful dedicated team. They were acutely aware of the needs of people who are poor or marginalized and worked tirelessly to bring them hope. A few years ago Sam was slowed down due to illness. He continued to come to Ignatians West meetings when he felt up to it and would accompany Diane to St. Margaret’s Center. As his illness progressed we saw less of Sam.
Two weeks ago, we received word that Sam passed away.
Responses poured in:
“This makes me very sad – but we know Sam is in a better place. He was a kind man and had a good sense of humor and a good heart.”
“Great sadness, but great joy in heaven for welcoming such a good man.”
“Prayers and blessing to one ‘good servant’ of God.”
“Sam and Diane were among the friendliest and warmest people I met at Ignatians West and I always looked forward to seeing them each month. Sam will be truly missed, but now we can pray to him and not for him.”
“It has been an honor and a pleasure to have served with Sam as an Ignatian volunteer. He was always warm and gracious with everyone. May our Lord receive Sam with open arms and grant Diane strength…”
I share Sam’s story with you today because he was a man who heard the voice of God and allowed that voice to touch his heart. He was never shy about sharing his faith or the struggles that faith presented. He took his faith to the streets where over the years, in addition to being part of Ignatians West, he was an enthusiastic supporter of the Los Angeles Catholic Worker and of the social justice work of his parish American Martyrs.
After a long and successful career as an engineer with Hughes Aircraft, Sam returned to college and studied to become a marriage and family therapist. Diane laughs today when she remembers the 3000 hours he had to work to earn professional status in the field. There is no doubt with his kind heart and the twinkle in his eye that he eased the road for clients who sought his counsel.
Sam has 4 children and 7 grandchildren to whom he left much love and a wonderful example of a servant leader.
Ignatians West Board of Directors
Nicole Gilbert holds a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. She has been licensed as a psychologist for over 25 years and is currently Clinical Director at Trauma and Beyond Psychological Center in Sherman Oaks, California. She has served in that capacity at various residential and outpatient treatment centers for patients suffering from severe mental disorders, trauma, and addiction. She also has a private practice in Brentwood.
Nicole has served on the Board of Ignatians West for 2 years. She is a parishioner at St. Monica Catholic Community in Santa Monica where serves on the Pastoral Care and Social Justice Ministry Council, the Parish Council, and as a Eucharistic Minister. As a woman of faith she feels guided by the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises.
Nicole is French and conducted her studies in Switzerland, France, and the U.S. She has two adult daughters and is engaged to be married next year.
Vicki Graf, Ph.D. is Professor of Education at Loyola Marymount University. She is also the Interim Chair of the LMU Department of Teaching and Learning and the Interim Director of the LMU Special Education Program. Her passion is the inclusion of children with disabilities in schools and the greater society. She created one of the first Catholic Inclusion Programs in the US and is creating an online program for Catholic educators to be able to teach and support students with disabilities and their families in Catholic schools. Vicki is involved in numerous international projects in South Sudan, South Africa, and in Northern Ireland all involving inclusion of individuals on the margins especially girls and children with disabilities. Locally, Vicki serves on the Advisory Board of Rosary Academy in Fullerton and the CSJ Educational Network in Fullerton.
Yolanda Litchman was born in El Salvador, Central America. She came to the United States in 1967 to study English which led to studying business administration and a long career in the business world. In 1998 she began volunteering at Blessed Sacrament Church in Hollywood. Within a short time, she assumed the position of Executive Director of the Social Service Center, a position she held until 2011 when she retired. During these years she also supervised the Community Christmas Toy Program for children, was involved with the Urban Sanctuary Program for people who were homeless and became involved with LA Voice, an interfaith organization that works on social justice issues. At LA Voice she served as vice president of the board of directors; thereafter, as local committee coordinator. Currently she is volunteering as manager of the Cardinal McIntyre Charity Fund at Blessed Sacrament Parish.
Yolanda has one daughter, Camille.