Samuel James Calavitta

Samuel James Calavitta

June 04, 1942 ~ February 19, 2021

Resided in: Capistrano Beach, California

Samuel J. Calavitta
06/04/1942 – 02/19/2021

Sam is survived by his wife of 58 years, Diane, 3 sons – Sam Jr., Joseph, and David Calavitta, and 11 grandchildren, his sister Lois and brother-in-law Tom Dadian, Sister-in-law Joan Hoff, along with many nieces and nephews.

Sam began his teaching career in El Segundo, CA where he taught elementary school for 9 years. After moving to Victorville, CA in 1979, Sam continued his teaching career at Victor Elementary School District for the next 30 years. He spent most of his teaching career at Parkview and Village Elementary Schools where he introduced District wide events such as the Junior Olympics and the Math Competition – which was eventually named after him. Students and co-workers knew him as Mr. Cal.Mr. Cal, along with his wife Diane, spent several years teaching for Azusa Pacific working with prospective teachers in Reading, Writing, and Classroom Management.

Mr. Cal truly loved teaching and every student was special. His YOU CANtheme was the message he resonated and hoped to pass on to each and every student.  The poem by Walter D. Wintle was always the first days homework assignment which remained words to live by for many of Mr. Cals students as they graduated and entered junior high and high school. The poem is as follows:

     If you think you are beaten – you are
     If you think you dare not – you dont
     If you like to win, but think you cant
     Its almost a cinch you wont

     If you think youll lose, youre lost
     For out in the world we find
     Success begins with a fellows will
     Its all in a state of mind

     If you think youre out classed – you are
     Youve got to think high to rise
     Youve got to be sure of yourself
     Before you can win a prize

     Lifes battles dont always go
     To the stronger or faster man
     But sooner or later the man who wins
     Is the man who thinks he can.

Ultimately, in the later years of his life, Sam found great solace in the mercy and love of Christ. It was this grace that encouraged him in his daily battle with Parkinsons, and, in his last days, filled him with the hope of eternity.

We confidently trust the soul of Sam Calavitta to the boundless mercy of his Father. Please pray for the repose of Sam Calavitta, the comfort of his family, and the continued inspiration for all those whose life he has affected.

In lieu of flowers, if you wish to send condolences, the family welcomes a donation in Sams name to the St. Jude Childrens Hospital ( Thank you.

The funeral Mass on Friday, March 19 at 10:30am at San Francisco Solano Catholic Church may be viewed on live stream at



Vigil Service: March 19, 2021 10:00 am

San Francisco Solano Catholic Church
22082 Antonio Parkway
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688

Funeral Mass: March 19, 2021 10:30 am

San Francisco Solano Catholic Church
22082 Antonio Parkway
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688

Graveside Service: March 23, 2021 10:15 am

Riverside National Cemetery
22495 Van Buren Blvd.
Riverside, CA 92518

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Memories Timeline

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Guestbook Entries

  1. Yolanda Smith March 3, 2021 at 3:29 pm - Reply


  2. Yolanda Smith March 3, 2021 at 3:31 pm - Reply

     Yolanda Smith

  3. Jessica and Liz Howard March 3, 2021 at 4:10 pm - Reply


  4. Chris Wallenburg March 4, 2021 at 6:55 am - Reply


  5. Leann Marshall March 4, 2021 at 8:01 am - Reply


  6. Kim Bailes March 4, 2021 at 8:18 am - Reply

    Kim Bailes

  7. Cindy strollo March 4, 2021 at 5:25 pm - Reply

    Best teacher I ever had

    • Bethany Faler March 4, 2021 at 7:01 pm - Reply

       Best teacher by far. He always cared! Never forgotten! My condolences.

  8. Dawn Griego March 4, 2021 at 5:33 pm - Reply

    Wonderful teacher!! My condolences

  9. Bill and Jeannie Gothard March 4, 2021 at 5:34 pm - Reply

     Sam was a wonderful teacher who made learning fun. My daughter did so well in his class, as did all of my students entering Sixth Grade. Our condolences go out to Dianne and his family.

    • Nataly Herrera March 4, 2021 at 6:06 pm - Reply

       I talk to my kids about Mr. Cal up to this day. He was my 6th grade teacher at Village Elementary. He has been best Math teacher I ever had. He made Math so much fun! I will never forget him. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and passion with all of your students. You are gone but will never be forgotten 🕊

  10. Gregory L Denmark March 4, 2021 at 6:48 pm - Reply

     Rest In Peace Mr. Cal, You were by far the best teacher I had. Thank-you and rest among angels!

    • Trish Covarrubias March 4, 2021 at 6:55 pm - Reply

       Remembering you is always easy, forgetting you will never happen. You made such an impact om me as a student and also when we Co-taught together. You are forever in my ❤ Rest easy, Mr. Cal.. LOVE YA

  11. Deborah Woods March 4, 2021 at 6:56 pm - Reply

     Mr. CAL was a bright light in the High Dessert! My mother Juanita Woods always spoke highly of him and I’m sure they’ll be still be teaching in heaven! Praying for Mr Cal entire family !

    • Yolette Rios March 6, 2021 at 6:49 pm - Reply

      Hello, I had the pleasure of teaching with your dear mother. I always admired her style and her kind way she treated everyone. We shared many laughs and I was always so impressed with Miss Juanita. 

  12. Nicki (Lindenberg) Moss March 4, 2021 at 8:05 pm - Reply

     I will never forget my days spent with Mr. Cal in 6th grade at Parkview Elem. He was the best teacher, this is where we learned who we were. So many fond memories, square dancing, wood working, Country report and the best getting to stay in the classroom to “clean” with my best friend instead of going out for PE. Praying for his entire family during this time of loss. You are never forgotten!!

  13. Laura Pennington March 4, 2021 at 8:55 pm - Reply


  14. Anthony Deleja March 4, 2021 at 9:11 pm - Reply

     Best teacher I ever had, and his wife following in 2nd at Village elementary school. Condolences to the calavitta family.

    • Paul McClendon March 4, 2021 at 9:35 pm - Reply

       Mr. Cal, 6th grade was the best. You made math fun and the dances on Friday were awesome. Don’t know if I can forgive you though for taking my Reses Peanut Butter Cups away from because it wasn’t a healthy snack. I get it though. I would do 6th grade all over again. Thank you for the impact you made on my life. Rest in Peace, and my condolences to your family.

  15. Nancy Petersen March 4, 2021 at 9:24 pm - Reply

      I enjoyed beginning my teaching career working with Sam conversing about everything from teaching, wrestling, and life everlasting. What an inspiration he has been to sooo many. Diane and family, know he was so proud of you all. Mark and I send our condolences and prayers for peace and comfort.

  16. Dawn McOsker March 4, 2021 at 9:35 pm - Reply

    Mr. CAL, … he was the most influential teacher! (and stylish too 🙂 helped me evolve with confidence to go into the 7th grade. The square dancing was off the charts!! I always looked forward to Friday’s!
    He was so kind, especially with his time. My thoughts and love go out to his family. ❤️
    Dawn McOsker

    • Joe Wiggins March 17, 2021 at 10:03 pm - Reply

       Me. Cal! Best teacher I’ve ever had. He was my 6th grade teacher at Desert Knolls. He is legendary in fact. He taught us to CARE about what we did. To LISTEN before you speak, to have MANNERS and RESPECT. Running the mile before school, square dancing, the ‘disco’ on fridays. I know many of us in that class passed the District math exam (for graduating Seniors in HS) without missing one question – and we were 6th graders. He set the tone for so many of us and it’s clear that his way of doing things worked extremely well. Thank You Mr. Cal for making such a huge impact on my life and also so many other lives. A Legend! 🙏🏻

  17. Carol Bachofner March 5, 2021 at 4:16 am - Reply

    Mr Cal made a huge impact on our daughter, Erin. He encouraged her positivity which has helped her in every part of her life! I remember the square dancing skirt I made her for Fridays. Jr Olympics and the smile he had (so easily) for every student. A great guy all around. Condolences to Diane aand tge family.

  18. Bachofner Family March 5, 2021 at 5:30 am - Reply


  19. Penny O’Rear (Onken) March 5, 2021 at 6:35 am - Reply

    He truly was one of the best! His legacy will live on through all he poured into others. I am a teacher and have the privilege of using so many of the things I learned from him with my students because it worked! His passion for learning and life was contagious. His smile was always present. His firm and loving ways gave many students the confidence to achieve much more than they thought. My heart aches for the loss but smiles at heaven’s gain! I am praying that all the sweet memories flood the family and loved ones during this new season without their patriarch ❤️

  20. Athena Abatecola March 5, 2021 at 7:18 am - Reply

    I found out about Mr. Cal’s passing a few days ago upon logging into Facebook after a long absence…I remembered how I had searched for him on Facebook many years ago but couldn’t find him, so this was heart-breaking news, especially since I had wanted to meet with him again someday to see how he had been doing and to thank him for giving me such an enjoyable 6th-grade experience. Mr. Cal was by far one of the best teachers I had ever had and was the perfect role model of what a teacher should be: passionate, enthusiastic, encouraging, caring, knowledgeable, inspiring, fair, and much more. I still remember when there was this one student in our class who had a breakdown (he might have been angry over some problems at home) and was letting out all his anger. Mr. Cal encouraged him to just let it all out, and the kid eventually calmed down. I’m very sure Mr. Cal had an idea of what that kid might have been going through, and he never gave up on him. He treated him just as well as any other student in the class, and that is very admirable. Mr. Cal truly did care about each and every one of his students. I remember how he gave each of his students a nickname, too, and he had always referred to me as “the Goddess of Wisdom” because of my name’s origins. That actually taught me more about my name because before that, I hadn’t really been aware of its origins lol He encouraged me a lot when I tried solving math problems as quickly and accurately as I could, and it may be because of him that I grew so fond of math and science in the first place and continued on with it even several years later. It may also be because of him that I wanted to go into the teaching profession…I wanted to help and encourage others in the same way he did. I doubt I can ever reach his level, but I’m thankful that I had the honor of studying under such an amazing teacher and learning very valuable life lessons from him (I still remember the “You Can” poem he had us memorize in the 6th grade). I also immensely enjoyed his classes, which he always made interesting, fun, and entertaining, and the math competitions and square-dancing were a plus (those were some of the most fun times I had in 6th grade). Although at times I felt alone as an elementary-school student, his classes were something I could look forward to during my elementary-school life. I don’t think I could ever forget the wonderful memories I have of those days. I just wish I could have met him just one more time…However, since that is no longer an option now, I can only pray that he is in a better place and living the life he truly deserves, free of the stress, pain, and suffering that so many people here on Earth have to endure. Thank you, Mr. Cal, for all of the good you have done in your life and for helping nurture so many around you to become better people. You may be gone, but never forgotten, and forever loved.

  21. Elisa Bier March 5, 2021 at 11:16 am - Reply

    My. Cal was the best teacher I ever had!! Sending love and prayers to his family.

  22. Joe & Linda Torres March 5, 2021 at 12:12 pm - Reply

     Our prayers & condolences to Diane & Family. From Joe & Linda Torres

  23. Joe Torres March 5, 2021 at 12:14 pm - Reply


  24. Patricia Rivera March 5, 2021 at 7:42 pm - Reply

     Me. Cal was one of the greatest teachers ever. Such a kind, and amazing man. I’m so thankful I was able to know him, and be taught by such a wise man. He will be greatly missed.

  25. Judith Wunsch March 5, 2021 at 9:55 pm - Reply


  26. Trevor Taylor March 6, 2021 at 7:26 am - Reply

     Mr. Cal, what a blessing and gift you were to my life. Thank you for loving and believing in each of your students.

  27. Ray Montgomery March 6, 2021 at 7:51 am - Reply

     I met Sam in high school on the water polo and seimming teams where we learned team work as well as being responsible for our self development. After high school I did not see Sam again until he and Dianne joined the Thunderbird Square Dance Club in Apple Valley. He was missed when they left the high desert and moved near the beach.
    Our condolences to Sam’s family on their loss.
    Rest in Peace Sam.

  28. Kenny & Jamie Murphy March 6, 2021 at 8:28 am - Reply

     Our sincere condolences go out to the whole family. Truly a beloved teacher and family man.

  29. Tifarah C McDaniel March 6, 2021 at 11:09 am - Reply

    Tifarah C McDaniel, truly my heart is overwhelmed with sadness to hear about the passing of this great man
    I am glad that I was able to see and speak with him when I returned to Victorville from Washington DC. My prayers with Mrs. Cal and their sons David was among my age group and was an awesome gentleman.

  30. Wheels March 6, 2021 at 11:27 am - Reply

     Mr. Cal, what a great name given to thee. You were the inspiration of what others could not achieve. The lessons that you gave, the expert at track coaching, math brain obstacles, these are just a few of what God has Blessed you with to pass on to others. And I can’t forget how big of a man ready to quell the differences. I oppose to be on your side, would not dare to see no way or another. You have brought laughter, discipline virtue, and education by far the best I have known. My condolences to the Cal Family. It’s a heart breaker for me and for many others. I wish life was different, but everything has a purpose and truly believe God was is in our lives. Take care Mr. Cal, you’ve predicted things to come pass only if we agreed and followed. With all my Body and Soul, miss you and Love you the most.

  31. Mike youmans class of 86 March 6, 2021 at 1:00 pm - Reply

     I am so sorry to the family. He was my teacher at desert knolls in apple valley. We were one of the smallest schools in the high desert but with him coaching us in basketball our team was unstoppable. Rest In Peace Mr Cal♥️

  32. steve March 6, 2021 at 5:32 pm - Reply


  33. Yolette Rios March 6, 2021 at 6:39 pm - Reply


  34. sharon rajacich March 6, 2021 at 6:41 pm - Reply

    sharon rajacich

  35. Yolette Rios March 6, 2021 at 6:45 pm - Reply

     I am very sad to learn about the passing of Mr. Cal. We taught together for many years at Parkview School in Victorville. Our families were involved with wrestling and we shared a lot of interesting conversations. My condolences to Diane and his children. Sam was a class act.

  36. Michael and April McCauley March 6, 2021 at 9:12 pm - Reply

     Mr. Cal taught both of our kids at Village Elementary and we were so happy that we had the chance to meet him. He made such a good impression on us and our.children. The last time he saw my son, grown up, with his own daughter, Mr.. Cal hoped he might teach her as well. In our parent/teacher meetings you could always tell how much he loved teaching. It is a tribute to him how many former students remember and loved Mr. Cal. Rest in Peace.

  37. March 7, 2021 at 7:24 am - Reply

    From knowing Sam and you, Diana, we know Sam is with the Lord. He was such a great inspiration to me as a young teacher at Desert Knolls. I am glad to have know him, especially after he discovered such joy for the Lord. He honored you, Diana, for your patience in showing him the way. Our hearts and prayers are with you at this time. May the Lord grant you and your family peace.
    -Sandy and Randy Burk

  38. March 7, 2021 at 5:03 pm - Reply


  39. Karen Mueller March 8, 2021 at 4:53 am - Reply

    When I think of Sam I am always reminded of square dancing, math competitions and his generous smile.

  40. Mary Jane Young March 8, 2021 at 9:32 am - Reply

    Mary Jane Young

  41. Mary Jane Young March 8, 2021 at 9:38 am - Reply

    So sorry to hear about Sam. He was always such an upbeat person! We always enjoyed visiting with him! He was an excellent teacher and really enjoyed it! My thoughts are with you at this time.

  42. Tom Lovecchio March 8, 2021 at 2:31 pm - Reply

     I just found out of my cousin Sammy’s passing today. I am Tom Lovecchio, a first cousin from Jamestown,NY. I am very saddened to hear of his passing and give his family my deepest sympathy. My mother was a sister to his father Tony. If the family wants, I have pictures of Sammy when he was younger with our Grandpa and Grandma Calavitta and his father. Please contact me if you want me to email them to you. I would of loved to have talked and seen him again. Sammy was always in our hearts and minds. May God bless your family during these very hard times. Sammy will always be in your hearts and in your souls.

    • David Calavitta March 10, 2021 at 9:10 pm - Reply

      Hi Tom, this is David, Sam’s youngest son, I would love to see any pictures you have of my dad as a boy. Would you email me at

    • Roman March 11, 2021 at 10:30 am - Reply

       Good day Tom, This is Roman, Lois Dadian*s oldest son.
      Id appreciate to have those photos, my email is
      Thank you

  43. Bucky Buckles March 9, 2021 at 9:00 am - Reply

     Mr. Cal was one of a kind. Done so much for the kids especially his role in the math competitions he ran. But I missed the competitive nature he was driven towards especially when it came to our bowling league on Friday nights. Bless you and your family

  44. Cendy March 9, 2021 at 9:03 am - Reply

     Mr. Cal was my 6th grade teacher. Every time I pass by The school I always remember his class and what a wonderful teacher and person he was. Favorite teacher so far. He was truely one of a kind and I’m so blessed to have had him as my teacher . My condolences to all of his family. Rest in Paradise Mr Cal🕊

  45. Linda & Samuel McDaniel March 9, 2021 at 1:41 pm - Reply

    From Samuel & Linda McDaniel,

    What a wonderful Teacher and person. All three of my children loved him. He was an inspiration to their lives. He coached my Son in the Track and Field and chance to compete in Hershey, PA. plus being good teacher to him and my two daughters. he was always down to Earth and truthful whenever you spoke to him. Always look at life in positive not negative way. My children, husband and I will definitely missed him.
    My Prayers and Condolences to his wife and sons!

  46. SARAH FIORILLO March 9, 2021 at 4:45 pm - Reply

     Mr. Cal was my 6th grade teacher at Park View 36 years ago. He was an incredible teacher, mentor, and inspired so many. I have great memories of that year, including square dancing on Fridays, fun math games, the Junior Olympics, and our field trip to Olvera Street and La Brea Tar Pits. He was funny, caring, a great listener, and dedicated to teaching every single kid in his classroom. I’m grateful I got to see him a few years ago at Molly Brown’s Cafe. To Mrs. Cal, the Calavitta family, and Joan, my deepest condolences. Mr. Cal loved you all so much.

  47. Michelle Soto March 10, 2021 at 4:48 am - Reply

     Mr Cal was my professor at APU. He was such a dope individual… HIM AND HIS FRUTIES! 😌
    Mrs Cal was my RICA professor and such a sweetly pie!

    Much love!


  48. David Hulihan March 11, 2021 at 12:18 am - Reply

    Mr. Cal was a wonderful teacher and influence in my life as a student in 5th and 6th grade at Village Elementary. He helped instill a confidence in myself that I still carry to this day. I always admired his positivity, humor, and self-discipline. He entertained us on the playground by grabbing a tetherball poll and holding himself completely horizontal in mid-air! Math team and square dancing were such a fun thing for me to look forward to when I normally dreaded going to school. He truly was one-of-a-kind in so many ways. My condolences to the Calavitta family.

  49. Jason Smith March 13, 2021 at 11:44 pm - Reply

     You will be missed old friend, you were one of those one of a kind teachers, the kind that taught priceless values to a nobody like me, I am forever grateful for that

  50. Matthew Barrón March 14, 2021 at 8:45 pm - Reply

     I will never forget your kindness, your endless compassion for students and their families, and the inspiration day in and day out. I wear the teacher badge because of your example that you set in the two years I had you. “For out in the world, we find – success begins with a fellow’s will – it’s all in the state of mind.” Thank you again for being a light in this world, for being an example of a Christ follower, and treating others the way you wanted to be treated. Revelation 21:4

  51. Donna G Miller March 15, 2021 at 9:29 am - Reply

     Cliff and I are so sorry to hear about Sam’s passing. Have wondered how he was doing this past year. We always enjoyed Sam at the bowling alley and miss his can do attitude. Going to miss his hugs when we all get back together again. Our condolences to Diane and the family. Your husband and father was dearly loved.

  52. Jose Manuel Berrios March 15, 2021 at 10:56 am - Reply

    Joe Berrios, I remember the dedication Sam had to his family & students. I have great memories of his energy while son Sam was a member of our wrestling team at VVHS (First CIF champion in school History) Our prayers are with the family

  53. Steven montes jr March 15, 2021 at 4:04 pm - Reply

     Mr CAL was one of the greatest teachers i ever had… he was a inspiration to all his students.. he will truly be missed by all that knew him

  54. heather noel March 17, 2021 at 3:37 am - Reply

     Mr. Cal was my teacher in 6th grade at Desert Knolls, and I have always given credit to him for instilling in his students the desire to excel beyond what was expected at grade level. He prepped us for the District Math Test which was administered to middle and high school students normally, and a large percentage of our 6th grade class passed. His passion for teaching and his ability to inspire students was of great magnitude, and undoubtedly, he is responsible for giving so many of his students the gift of greater self confidence and cognitive thinking skills as they entered junior high! Rest in peace, Mr. Cal.

  55. Jorge Mora March 18, 2021 at 12:03 pm - Reply

    Jorge Mora

  56. Laurie Bell March 18, 2021 at 1:48 pm - Reply


  57. Laurie Bell March 18, 2021 at 1:49 pm - Reply

     Mr.Cal was the best teacher I ever had. He will not be forgotten. RIP ❤️

  58. Robby Guynn March 18, 2021 at 10:36 pm - Reply

     To say that Mr. Cal was only my teacher would be an understatement. Mr. Cal was a mentor, a coach, a leader, and a roll model. Mr. Cal changed the trajectory of my life. My memories of Mr. Cal and the influence he had on my life still impact me to this day. In having become a teacher now myself, the influence he had on my life impacts the morals and values that I hope to pass on to my students. I pray that I can impact lives just as Sam Calavitta impacted my life.

  59. Jack and Barbra Davis March 19, 2021 at 12:40 am - Reply

    I only had him for math. My wife was lucky enough to have him all day. We both made the most of dancing in his classroom on Fridays during lunch. To this day we use the term “Calavita math” any time we do any kind of everyday arithmetic. He taught us everything from manners to how to balance a checkbook. His smiling face and positivity were unmatched and he always believed in us, even if we didn’t believe ourselves. He made the world a better place and will be sorely missed.

  60. Jack and Barbra Davis March 19, 2021 at 12:44 am - Reply


  61. Frank and Blossom Tavares March 19, 2021 at 9:16 am - Reply


  62. Frank Tavares March 19, 2021 at 9:27 am - Reply

    I could take up this whole guestbook talking about how amazing of a teacher and man Mr. Cal was. He did not only teach his students about the subects in school, but he was a master at teaching his students the subject of life and how to deal with challenges you will face! I feel priviledged not to only have Mr. Cal as my 6th grade teacher, but also as a family friend. I know my family valued his friendship, as we still talk about all the wonderful times we spent withi him and his family! From my sister’s on going joke about her calling his shoes ugly and him coming back at her the same. LOL! To me bringing my newly wed wife to meet him at his home in Victorville, and we sit there for hours listening to him tell stories! Mr. Calavitta, I hope you knew what a legacy you left and how many people’s lives you changed! You will be deeply missed! Until we meet again in heaven! Rest in Peace! Love Frank and the rest of the Tavares family!!

  63. Robin and Tim Owens March 19, 2021 at 9:57 am - Reply


  64. Robin and Tim Owens March 19, 2021 at 9:58 am - Reply

     Our deepest condolences to you all.
    Love, Tim and Robin

  65. Julie Field March 19, 2021 at 10:26 am - Reply


  66. Wilhelmine kraus March 26, 2021 at 7:46 pm - Reply


  67. Bedfordshire May 15, 2021 at 11:47 am - Reply


  68. Amber Gerbitz Knight May 17, 2021 at 11:35 am - Reply

    It was an honor to be one of Mr. Cal’s students. He helped us focus on a “can do” attitude and made learning fun with square dancing classes and prizes. What a great legacy he leaves behind and blessings to him and his family for the number of lives he impacted. May God Bless him and keep him. 🙏💜

  69. Kiara August 29, 2021 at 12:21 am - Reply

     Incredible teacher who subbed for Mrs. Cal and it was always a fun experience. Thank you for making school fun. My deepest condolences to Mrs. Cal.

  70. Mike Tablada December 13, 2021 at 12:22 pm - Reply

     RIP Mr Calavitta…He was our PE Teacher at El Segundo Junior High. ESJH closed after our 8th grade graduated and the Raiders moved onto the campus. He taught all of us how to lift weights, eat properly, and arm wrestle. His Jr High arm wrestling tournament is remembered fondly by all who participated. He lead by example as he was yoked back at the same time as Arnold S. was at his peak. I have passed his weight lifting lessons onto my sons…Thank You Mr Calavitta

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