When Sam Bernsen was born in the summer of 1919, the world was still in the throes of an influenza pandemic. One hundred and one years later, he died in Bethesda after contracting another virus that ballooned into a global pandemic. But between those two world-shaking health events, Bernsen lived a full life packed with public service, baseball and family.

“I consider myself the luckiest person in the world having him as a father,” son Stuart Bernsen said. “He was full of love for his family and his extended family and his friends. He was a wonderful and optimistic person.”

Sam Bernsen died of covid-19 on July 26.

His family emigrated from Eastern Europe in 1900, his son said. He was born in the Bronx on July 13, 1919. He was the youngest of seven children. “He was kind of raised by his sisters,” Stuart said.