Samuel James Tensley, Sr. was born May 10, 1939 to the late J.C. and Fannie Lue (Patrick) Tensley in College Park, Georgia. After relocating to East Chicago, Indiana from Georgia with his Uncle Dan Tensley. He became employed at Apple Woods Farms formerly Main Poultry until his retirement.
On December 28, 1963, He was united in matrimony to Eunice L. Cobb-Tarver. Together they raised four children: Paul Sr., Hilda, Dianne and Sam, Jr. Among their four children, Sam, Sr., and Eunice helped to raise many family members and children from the New Addition Community. He was affectionately known as “Uncle Sam/Mr. T” to all that knew and loved him.
He accepted Christ under the leadership of the Late Rev. Dr. W.H. Robinson at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he was appointed to the Trustee Board. Later under the leadership of the Late Rev. Dr. J.E. Hughes, Sr., he was a dedicated member of the Male Chorus, most known for his lead in the gospel spiritual “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”, headed the church kitchen committee for many years, where he was definitely required to always cook his famous “collard greens” and the personal driver to preaching engagements both near and far for the Late Pastor Hughes, in which took great pride in doing so. He continued to be a faithful member of NEMBC until his health failed.
“Uncle Sam” or “Mr. T” enjoyed cooking. His expertise was being a Grill Master. He enjoyed babysitting all his grandchildren over years, especially his 1st great grandson Jabari. You could find the two sitting on the porch watching the neighbors go by or watching a late-night episode of Law and Order. All of his grandchildren and great grandchildren were his pride joy.
He was a resident of Lake County Rehabilitation and Nursing Center before making his earthly transition on December 4, 2020 at Community Hospital of Munster, Indiana, where his daughter, Hilda, was nearby his room.
He was preceded in death by his Parents, Siblings: Rev. Flemming Tensley, Fannie Howard, Mary Bryant, Frank Tensley, Mary Spencer, and Theresa Turner; Son, Paul M. Tarver, Sr, and Daughter Lorraine Tensley.
Sam Sr. leaves to cherish his memory, loving wife of 56 years Eunice L. Tensley of Hammond, IN, Children- Hilda L. Richmond of East Chicago, IN, Dianne G. Tensley of Portland, OR and Minister Samuel C. (Sylena) Tensley, Jr. of Montgomery, AL., Grandchildren; Kevin (Candice) Smith, Sr. of Gary, IN, Aaron (Willetta) Tarver-Harris of Snellville, GA, LeVella (Horatio) Nalls and Jennifer (Keith) White of Merrillville, IN, Diamond Brooks and Paul Tarver, Jr, of Indianapolis, IN, Kennie (LaDora) Williams, Jr. of Sacramento, CA, Timothy Tarver of Springfield, IL, Carlos Tenley of Portland, OR, Shaquille Tensley of Alexandria, VA , Samuel Tensley, III of Visalia, CA, Diamond Haskins of Merrillville, IN and Shamar Tensley of Lynn Haven, FL. Very Special Great-Grandson, Jabari B. Moore, Sister; Vicky Thornton and Sister-In-Law; Bernice Tensley of Atlanta, GA, Melvie Turner of Midway, AL, Ruby Harris of Rochester, NY, Gracie Perkins of Chicago, IL, Sadie Cobb-Smith of Gary, IN, and Dorothy Jackson of Alexandria, VA.
22 Great Grandchildren. Special Niece, Sonya Brown, Godsons; Reginald Brooks, Michael Smith, Randall Butts, Brian Causey and Guan Hillsman. Special Caregiver, Estelle Williams. A host of other relatives, friends and church family.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 11AM at Greater Destiny Bible Church 1920 E. Columbus Drive East Chicago, IN. Visitation one hour prior to service. Interment Fern Oaks Cemetery, Griffith, IN.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Samuel Tensley, please visit our floral store.