Samantha May Van Handel was born in Billings, Montana, in 1959. She made the big move west with her parents, Sam and Arlene Schanaman, to be with grandparents and other family. Samantha was raised in Vancouver and graduated from Fort Vancouver High School in 1977. She attended the University of Portland for the next 4 years studying business administration and tax accounting. She worked for various companies in the local area and enjoyed traveling.
She married in 1991 and moved to California. In the Bay Area she enjoyed accounting work, home restoration, and gardening. She and her husband later moved to North Bend, Washington, where they welcomed their cherished son, Stefan, into their lives. Samantha was a nature lover, especially knowledgeable about birds and wild animals, and loved to take peaceful walks along the nearby river. In addition to being a self-employed tax preparer/accountant, Samantha played an active role in North Bend’s art and music scene.
In 2014 she moved back to Vancouver, Washington, to fight brain cancer. She gave it the good fight with the help of her team at Compass Oncology and the angels at Highgate assisted living. She passed into her heavenly home on October 31, 2019.
She leaves behind her son Stefan, of Bellingham, sister Shelly (Peter) James, nieces, nephews, and many special friends. Those who knew Samantha will remember her kind and gentle nature which was mixed with a good sense of humor and a mischievous spirit.