From left: Jacques Villeneuve, Sam Drossos and Bill Drossos at the grand opening of the Area 27 Motorsports Club’s new clubhouse in June 2019. Bill and Villeneuve co-founded the club together. (Photo Submitted)

Remembering Penticton’s Sam Drossos, former owner of Three Gables Hotel

Sam Drossos died on Aug. 25 at 90 years old following a heart attack

Sam Drossos, lifetime Penticton resident and former general manager and co-owner of Three Gables Hotel, passed away at the age of 90 on Aug. 25 after suffering a heart attack.

According to Karla Kozakevich, his daughter and RDOS chair and Naramata representative, his death was not completely unexpected as he had been dealing with heart issues for the last decade. She said that it was a small blessing because he had told her previously that was how he wanted to die.

“At his age and with his heart condition, he didn’t have quite as much energy and would get winded more easily. But he was still going out and about in the community and living in his home. This is the same house that my brother (Bill) and I were born into so 53 years since he bought the house and finished it. And he never had to leave it,” said Kozakevich. “That was something he always asked for, he never wanted to go into a seniors’ home and he didn’t want to have a long, agonizing or drawn-out death. He said to me, ‘I want to go with a quick heart attack in my home.’ and that’s exactly what happened.”

Another small blessing was the fact that both Kozakevich and her brother had been visiting their father during the day before he ended up dying later that evening. She recalls that he was “happy, upbeat and optimistic, watching TV late at night because he was a night owl.”

Drossos didn’t let his heart condition slow him down near the end of his life, and Kozakevich said he was an active athlete in his younger years, with a passion for golf and skiing. She noted that while his work at the hotel kept him busy, he always managed to have a work-life balance that allowed him to spend time with his family and pursue his passions.

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“My dad started working (at the hotel) at age 18 and worked there for 50 years as the general manager. They sold in 1996 when he was 68 and he retired,” said Kozakevich. “I think he really enjoyed it, and I think part of it was because, between my dad and his two younger brothers, they had 10 children. Most of us ended up working at the hotel at some point in our school years. We were always in there, it was the place we walked down to after school.”

Kozakevich said her dad always ensured he was done work early enough in the afternoon so that he’d be able to swing by the golf course and hit some balls. He also joined both his children on the slopes at Apex when they participated in the downhill skiing club, a testament to his athletic ability to pick up any sport he wanted. He always encouraged his children to pursue their passions, which is how Bill ended up a race car driver following his father’s interest in vehicles. Bill went on to then found the Area 27 Motorsports Club, and which he is still president of today.

“He was huge into sports, in particular golf. Every day dad wrapped up, probably before most people were done work, and he’d head off to the golf course to practice hitting the balls or get a few holes in,” said Kozakevich. “He really focused on having that balance between work and sport.”

Bill added, “Dad loved sports. He always found time to take my sister and I to whatever sporting event we wanted to participate in or watch.”

Drossos never had much interest in venturing out in the world, but rather enjoyed the beauty of the area he had been born and raised in.

“Penticton and the region were really his whole life. He’d travel when he was younger just around the area to golf tournaments, but he wasn’t a huge traveller. He liked to stay in the community, he wasn’t somebody who was off travelling,” said Kozakevich.

Kozakevich said since her father was an all-around athlete “he really was a strong, tough guy,” but he had two sides to him since he was a gentleman with such a kind heart.

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Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
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Sam Drossos watches his daughter, Karla Kozakevich, line up her arrow. Drossos passed away on Aug. 25 at the age of 90 following a heart attack. (Photo Submitted)

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