‘Liz’ Elizabeth Anne Samples Marchand

“Liz” Elizabeth Anne Samples Marchand passed away in the early morning hours of Friday, May 25, surrounded by family and friends at her home in Blanco, Texas.
Liz was born Feb. 10, 1968, to Bill and Margaret Rose Samples in Big Spring, Texas. She spent most of her childhood years in Big Spring, Denton, El Paso and Las Cruces, and later graduated from Permian High School in Odessa, Texas, in 1986. She was a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso and went on to study nursing at Pueblo Community College.
Liz moved to Pagosa Springs, Colo., in early 1993 to work for her parents, who owned and operated the Spanish Inn Restaurant. During her time there, she learned to make what was said to be the best green chile in town.
Shortly after moving to Pagosa Springs, she met Mike Marchand and the two married in February of 1994. They had Mike’s daughter, Marissa, and together they had three children, twins Maria and Mikaela, and Austin.
She was a successful entrepreneur starting and later selling two companies, Allstate Insurance Company and a local day spa. She then spent years doing global marketing and travel for Parelli Natural Horsemanship. Liz served on the Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and was instrumental in the continued success of WinterFest and ColorFest hot air balloon rallies.
Liz was known as a hero to many people. On Aug. 13, 2003, she rescued seven children who were swept away in a flash flood during a camping trip at Navajo Lake. Her quick thinking and heroic efforts also saved the life of Casey Mudroch, who was trapped in a tent underwater. Liz miraculously found him in the dark of night and was able to pull him from the tent and get all of the children across the lake, where they found help.
She moved to Midland, Texas, in 2013 with Chenault Consulting and later moved to Blanco, Texas. In Blanco, she worked at Blanco A/C, Electrical and Plumbing and later helped with the startup and daily operation at West Henly Materials (rock quarry).
Her friends and loved ones knew Liz as silly, fun, adventurous and positive, no matter the circumstances. Her laughter and smile were contagious. She shared compliments at every opportunity. She enjoyed cooking for family and friends; she loved working in her yard and spending time with her granddaughter. Outside of her beloved peeps, she also loved her animals, travel, hot air ballooning, scuba diving and being outdoors.
Diagnosed with breast cancer on Valentine’s Day of 2014, Liz was a tenacious warrior, keeping her positive and strong attitude to the very end. She endured many surgeries, hours of chemo and radiation, countless trips to the doctor and she never gave up on anyone or anything, including herself. Cancer did not define Liz, but it made her blossom as an inspiration to others. The best parts of Liz rose to the surface during her walk with cancer, she amazed every doctor who crossed her path with her strength and resilience. She didn’t let her fears define who she was. She was strong for everyone around her, especially her children. Her tenacity and strength lives on in them.
Liz is survived by daughters Maria Marchand, Mikaela Boehmer (son-in-law Alex Boehmer, granddaughter Emily Boehmer) and son Austin Marchand, step-daughter Marissa (grandchildren Jaiden, Julian and Adelaide), former husband Mike Marchand, brother Keith Samples and his wife Raina, numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and all their children, many friends and co-workers.
She was preceded in death by parents Margaret Rose and Bill Samples.
A Texas Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, June 30, in Blanco, Texas, at the home of cousins Jason and Catherine Wheeler, time to be posted.
A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date in Pagosa Springs, Colo.
A wide-open, heartfelt “thank you” to all who treated Liz as a patient, and to friends and family who encouraged and loved her through her journey. We are confident and find joy in knowing that she is at peace and healed.
Liz wrote a message to us this past Valentine’s Day: “The future is still so uncertain, but I am blessed and loved, and every single day I am humbly, abundantly grateful for the ‘right here, right now.’ Love to you all!”

This story was posted on June 7, 2018.