February 7, 1948 – September 18, 2019
On the morning of September 18, 2019, God welcomed the gentle spirit of Thomas Eugene Sampson, also known as Big Daddy, into eternity. At the Saint Thomas West Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, the man known for his own open arms and warm embrace softly and peacefully left us for his eternal home.
Gene was born to Elnora Mason and Eugene T. Merriweather. His step-fathers, George W. Sampson and Calvin O. Mason, played a major role in molding the man. He graduated from Attucks High School in Hopkinsville, KY in 1966 and went on to earn a degree in aeronautical engineering from Tennessee State University. Gene was a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Grad Chapter in St. Paul, MN.
Gene married Carolyn Luckett on April 21, 1979 in St. Paul, MN. From this marriage Gene received his own special gift, his daughter Ayasha Luckett Sampson. Later, Gene’s giving spirit motivated him to “adopt” a son, Robert Perkins, and daughters Rachel Robinson and Rebecca Haapala. The Sampson family joined Pilgrim Baptist Church in St. Paul, MN.
As an aeronautical engineer, Gene started his career at McDonnell Douglas
in Berkeley, MO, and eventually retired from Honeywell, Inc., in Minneapolis, MN. While he spent many years working in large well-known corporations, Gene’s passion for entrepreneurship, and his love for feeding people eventually won out. He went on to co-own Big Daddy’s Old Kentucky Barbecue in St. Paul, MN.
His true passion for feeding families extended to communities at large, in his home state as well as surrounding states.
His well-known signature “Big Daddy’s Old Kentucky Barbecue and Sauce” were loved by everyone who tasted them. The famous signature taste that he perfected will be almost as much as Gene.