Motorcoach community mourns the passing of industry veterans

The motorcoach community is mourning the loss of three industry veterans: Wilhelm Matthews Sambdman, Gerald Douglas Kuykendall and Susan Marie (Denney) Abbott.

They are being remembered for their contributions to the motorcoach industry.

Wilhelm Matthews Sambdman

Wilhelm Sambdman

Wilhelm Matthews Sambdman, 97, died Sept. 11, 2021, in Peachtree City, Georgia. Sambdman began his long career in transportation when he joined the U.S. Air Force and was trained in air traffic control. After his service, he was hired by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration as an air traffic controller, first at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and then at the FAA Air Route Traffic Control Center in Hampton, Georgia, according to his obituary. After his retirement, Sambdman established the Atlanta transportation company Samson Tours, which is now operated by his sons.

“I could write for a long time what I learned from Bill,” said Ken Presley, Vice President, Legislative & Regulatory Affairs & Industry Relations/COO. “Truly one of the kindest and most generous gentlemen I have ever known.”

Gerald Douglas Kuykendall

Gerald KuykendallGerald Douglas Kuykendall, 72, of Cleveland, died Sept. 21, 2021, in Hixson, Tennessee. Gerald and his wife, Dalphna, owned and operated Royal Charter and Tours for 27 years. Aside from serving God and family, Kuykendall described his calling as “Touring God’s Creation,” according to his obituary. He and his wife built the motorcoach business from scratch, and he maintained their coaches in tip-top condition. Kuykendall attributed his success to his “Heavenly Father” and displayed on every coach the words “Blessed and Highly Favored.” Kuykendall served on the Tennessee Motor Coach Association board of directors. 

Susan Marie (Denney) Abbott

Susan AbbottSusan Marie (Denney) Abbott, 62, of Nolensville, Tennessee, died Aug. 26, 2021, at Williamson Medical Center in Franklin, Tennessee. She was married for 40 years to Chuck Abbott, CEO of Gray Line Tennessee. After raising her family, Abbott pursued her nursing degree, eventually specializing in cardiac care. She contributed her valuable nursing skills to many medical mission trips, including to Brazil’s Amazon region, the Dominican Republic and Mexico, according to her obituary. Her nursing career included positions at St. Thomas Hospital and Vanderbilt Medical Center, and as a clinical director for the nonprofit Neighborhood Health. Abbott was a regular attendee at International Motorcoach Group (IMG) meetings with her husband, according to Bronwyn Wilson, the group’s President, who described her as “vibrant and funny.” 

Read about other industry veterans who have passed away.

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