Celebrating the Life of Sam Saimo: Mount Si Grad, Passionate Photographer, ‘Friend to All’

Sam Saimo had an eye for angles – angles that helped capture perfectly the beauty of the place he called home… the Snoqualmie Valley.

He loved his home. He climbed its mountains, hiked and biked its trails, floated its river, did flips offsam its old train trestle bridges into the mountain fed water below.

He was an artist. Passionate. Kind. A friend to all – from the time he moved here at 4-years old.

Sam died suddenly on August 20, 2016 – two months after his 21st birthday.

Shock. Disbelief. Broken hearts. He was my friend’s son. He was my daughter’s friend. He was kind to all.

He was Sam.

I knew him through his photos. He developed a passion for the camera and found beauty in every picture he took. No matter the subject or background, he somehow found magic in every landscape, a young child’s face, or friends just enjoying each other’s company.  He had a knack for finding “that moment” with his camera.

I was privileged to share some of Sam’s photos with thousands of people. Sam shared with me the pictures I was too lazy to capture: Rattlesnake Lake at sunrise. The Milky Way over Millpond. Rattlesnake Lake from the top.

Even if I had tried, I didn’t have his eye – nor his talent.

So in turn I got to share those photos – and Sam – with residents of the Snoqualmie Valley, the place he loved to explore and call home.

I am grateful.

Earlier this month Sam saved someone from drowning on the Snoqualmie River. I asked him if I could do an article about the experience. He said he would have done it no matter who was in trouble. He was glad to help, but wasn’t comfortable with an article written about himself.

That was Sam. Quietly doing good things. Capturing beauty. An inspiration and friend to many. An adventurer. A big brother to Will and Julia. A loving son to Jeannie and Dan.

Gone too soon. Always remembered.

Sam Saimo ~ June 22, 1995 – August 20, 2016. Mount Si High School Class of 2013.

A celebration of Sam’s Life will be held Saturday, August 27, 2016 at 12PM at Snoqualmie Valley Alliance, 36017 SE Fish Hatchery Road in Fall City.

In lieu of flowers or gifts, donations can be made to The Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust or given to the Saimo family for a donation to be made in his name.

You can read Sam’s full obituary HERE (enter name in search bar) and enjoy some of his photos below.

Milky Way over Millpond by Sam Saimo
Milky Way over Millpond by Sam Saimo


Sunrise over Rattlesnake Lake by Sam Saimo
Sunrise over Rattlesnake Lake by Sam Saimo


View from Rattlesnake Ledge by Sam Saimo
View from Rattlesnake Ledge by Sam Saimo


City light reflected, Rattlesnake Lake by Sam Saimo
City light reflected, Rattlesnake Lake by Sam Saimo


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  • My son Gabe was pretty shocked when I showed him this article. He graduated with Sam from MSHS in 2013 and remembers him as a good guy. Gabe saw him recently at a hand surgeon’s office. Gabe had suffered a broken metatarsal in his writing hand from a fall, and the doctor asked Gabe if he wouldn’t mind showing another patient who had a nearly identical injury who was there at the time his hand cast so that the other guy would know what to expect. Of course, Gabe (being the helpful guy he is) said yes, and well, it turned out that other patient was Sam Saimo. Stark reminder that we’re here in this life so temporarily. I’m so sorry for Sam’s parents and friends loss. His memory will live in his photography legacy.

  • Beautiful article Danna. Such a devastating loss for the Saimo family and everyone who loved Sam, sounds like there were many, many friends. Wish we could be in town to attend the services.

  • My son Henry Dunn remembers walking to the bus stop with him every day. I never got to know him but my son was shocked to hear of the news. Sorry for Sam’s and friends for his loss.

  • I did not know your friend, but I do know others from the Snoqualmie Valley area. Twenty one years was long enough for Sam Saimo to make a lasting impression on all the lives he touched with his friendship and with his photography. The photos are beautiful. My condolences to Sam’s family. I have lost a young son in the past and I know how devastated they are right now. I have visited Snoqualmie Falls when I lived in Seattle. It is a treasure touched place. Love and best wishes for the future.

  • Living Snoqualmie