Dr. Lois Neil-Sambar


 Dr. Lois Neil-Sambar, 76, former Glendale Unified School District Director of Secondary Curriculum and Instruction and former principal of Rosemont Middle School, a well-known educator and philanthropist in the Glendale-La Crescenta area, died Tuesday in her home in La Canada-Flintridge following a nearly two-decade valiant battle with cancer.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 22 at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Montrose with Father Jack Foley officiating.  Immediately following  the service, a tribute reception will be held at Oakmont Country Club. 


Lois  is survived by her husband, Chakib (Chuck) Sambar, former President of the Glendale Unified School District and long-time GUSD board member and former  Vice Principal of Instruction at Crescenta Valley High School;  her  son,  William C. Neil, III, of Lake Havasu, AZ;  her son, Richard Neil, a daughter-in-law, Susan Neil and, twin grand-daughters, Lori and Lisa Neil, all of Phoenix, AZ; and cousins, Dr. Carol Bradley, Corona del Mar, CA; Fred Weaver, of Lake Saint Louis, Mo.,  Dr. Pieter Ketelaar, of Wall Township, New Jersey; and  Donald  Walsh of  Michigan.


She was preceded in death by her husband of 39 years, William C. Neil, Jr., and her parents, Walter and Louise (Mickey) Weaver.


Born On October 30, 1934 in Hoboken, New Jersey, she attended Catholic and public schools,  graduating as valedictorian of her 1952 class at Union Hill High School.  She received her  B.A. Degree in history from Colby College in Waterville, Maine, and her M.A. Degree in education from California State University, Los Angeles.  She held teaching credentials for primary education in the state of Michigan and secondary education in California.


Lois was admired for her excellence in teaching, her administrative abilities and for applying for and successfully receiving educational grants totaling millions of dollars for programs and projects in the GUSD schools. She was principal when Rosemont was named a National Blue Ribbon School in 1993. 


After receiving her doctorate in education in 1994 from University of La Verne, she also taught education classes there for several years as well as at Occidental College. She served as an educational consultant on school improvement and accreditation teams, evaluating public schools throughout the state of California. In addition, she held training workshops and classes for new administrators in the schools.                                            She was named a fellow in the U.C.L.A. California Writing Project.


Lois was employed by the GUSD for 26 years, serving first as a substitute English teacher, then  as an English and journalism teacher at Hoover High School, next as an Instructional Vice Principal at Clark Middle School before being named Instructional Vice Principal at Glendale High School.


In 2001, she was named "Woman of the Year" by the Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce. In 2002, Lois married Chakib Sambar on October 12.  They traveled the world together and  when back home worked as a well-recognized team on local charities, cancer fund- raising groups,  and political issues..


She served as secretary of Glendale Healthy Kids, and as co-administrator, along with her husband, Chakib Sambar, for the Glendale Scholarship Endowment Fund and served as vice president of Verdugo Mental Health Board of Directors.


During her 19-year cancer journey, she was a constant source of inspiration to others, teaching classes in writing for wellness at City of Hope, having her own cancer story published in the book Writing for Wellness: A Prescription for Healing, and serving as a mentor to individuals going through the experience as patients,  caregivers or family members.  Her own words reflect her positive attitude and philosophy of life:


"My advice on how to survive what life throws at you is to keep going despite the bumps, curves, ditches, detours and unpaved roads, and focus your attention and love outwardly and keep smiling. This is the way we went about our lives, living with cancer.  We did the best we could under some very challenging circumstances.  But, we tried to laugh, celebrate, love, and give our thanks to God, family and friends for helping us navigate life's highway."


In lieu of flowers, donations can be made In Lois Neil Sambar’s name to:


City of Hope

1055 Wilshire Blvd.,

Los Angeles, CA 90017



Glendale Scholarship Endowment Fund 

c/o Community Foundation of the Verdugos,

Box 313, Glendale CA 91209


Glendale Healthy Kids

223 N. Jackson Street #107

Glendale, CA  91206-4334


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