Samuel H. Baron, Ph.D., passed away unexpectedly on August 16, 2017. He was 96 years old, and healthy until death. Sam was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1921, and had three sisters Sue, Carol and Dorothy. He came from humble beginnings, raised by his hard-working immigrant father, James, a clothier, and his devoted mother, Dinah, a second generation immigrant. Sam's parents were from Odessa, Russia and Polish Galicia, respectively. Sam’s father, though he had a 6th grade education himself, valued education and made it possible for his four children to attend college. Sam received his B.S. in botany from Cornell University in 1942. It was during his years there that he discovered his lifelong appreciation for nature and the outdoors. Sam was drafted into the Air Force upon graduation, and later served in the Army. He was, quite possibly, spared his life when he contracted infectious mononucleosis and was evacuated from the front to England, later returning to serve in Germany, Czechoslovakia, France, Austria and Italy.Sam was part of the initial cohort to attend the Russian Institute at Columbia University, the first academic center of its kind in the United States, in 1946. He received his Ph.D. in Russian history in 1948. After being the subject of a McCarthy era investigation at the University of Tennessee, Sam taught at several other institutions: for ten years at Grinnell College, seven years at the University of California San Diego and twenty two years at UNC-Chapel Hill. He retired from UNC as Alumni Distinguished Professor of History, Emeritus in 1986. In 1987, the Samuel Baron Distinguished Professorship was established at UNC. It was last occupied, from 1994-2015, by James Carney, former Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost.Sam wrote five books, three of which were published by Stanford University Press. He was most well-known for "Plekhanov: The Father of Russian Marxism", published in 1965. This book was eventually translated into Spanish, Japanese and, most unexpectedly, Russian. Sam also edited several anthologies on Russian history and authored 80 peer-reviewed articles. He traveled to Russia nine times, for a combined total of eighteen months, having received grants from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, among many other sources. During his time at the University of Tennesse-Knoxville, Sam met his wife to be, (Mary) Virginia Baron. Their courtship was marked by hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains and singing together with friends, another lifelong passion. Sam was, in fact, singing along to classical music just hours before he died.Sam and Virginia had three daughters. The family lived in Finland and Austria during two sabbaticals, while Sam traveled behind the “Iron Curtain” to conduct his research. The family tremendously enjoyed summers on Vinalhaven, a small island off the coast of Maine, for 50 years. There, they had a rustic home, which had no running water or electricity until the 1980’s. Sam wrote many of his scholarly works while on the island. In retirement, Sam and Virginia moved to Carolina Meadows, where he found many stimulating friends, joined a French conversation group, took watercolor painting lessons, organized a “Thoughtful People” speaker series and led sing-alongs. Sam had a full and interesting life, and gave much of himself to others. Over their 60 years of married life, he and Virginia traveled to China, Japan, Mexico, Peru, and throughout Europe and Eastern Europe. A particularly memorable trip, taken in their 80's, was their visit to the Galapagos Islands on a sailboat, and later in the trip, exploring Machu Picchu.Sam is survived by his three daughters, Sheila Alvarez of Playa del Rey, CA, Carla Baron of Albuquerque, NM, and Laura Baron of Chapel Hill, NC; his sister Dorothy Marsh; three grand-children, Christine Alvarez (Matthew Collar), Daniel Alvarez and Diana Baron-Moore; many nieces and nephews, and their offspring. The family eagerly awaits the arrival of a baby in late September, as the circle of life continues.Sam is pre-deceased by his parents, James and Dinah Baron; sisters Sue (Marvin Rauch), Carol (Jerry Grossberg); brother-in-law, Lee Marsh; wife Virginia; and grandson, Michael Alvarez. Sam will forever be remembered for his exuberance for life, interest in hearing people’s stories, passion for reading and learning, enjoyment of all of the arts, cooking, traveling the world and disciplined fitness. A memorial service will be held at Carolina Meadows in the fall. In lieu of flowers or gifts, please make a donation to the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood or the Sierra Club, all of whose work Sam supported for many years.