By Emily Jusuf
Samuel Park ’98, former editor of the arts and entertainment section at The Daily, passed away due to stomach cancer on April 1.
Park was born in São Paulo, Brazil in 1976 and grew up in Torrance, California. After graduating from Stanford, Park attended the University of Southern California before becoming a writer and professor of English in Chicago.
Maitraya Patel ’98, Park’s freshman year roommate in Branner Hall, remembers Park’s passion for The Daily, novels and plays. Park, who served as a resident assistant (RA) in Branner during his senior year, wrote plays himself for the Ram’s Head Theatrical Society as well as for a student-run TV show.
During his time at The Daily from 1996-97, the community knew Park for his close friendship with his co-editor, Curtis Sittenfeld ’97. Sittenfeld is now an acclaimed novelist.
“Sam and Curtis were clearly having the most fun of anybody in the newspaper office during the time I was there,” recalled former Daily opinions editor David Wolitz ’97. “The joy and creativity that came out of that corner of the room was infectious and frankly jealousy-inspiring.”
In October 2016, Sittenfeld wrote an essay in The New Yorker about her friendship with Park called “My Friend Sam.”
“I suspect that if I were to look now at issues of the arts and entertainment section we edited, which was a Thursday insert, they’d make me blush, but we certainly enjoyed ourselves,” Sittenfield wrote. “One issue featured the ‘50 Most Beautiful Sexiest Men Alive of the Year at Stanford.’”
Over the years, Sittenfeld and Park supported each other in their literary endeavors. In 2006, Sittenfeld provided the blurb for Park’s first novel, “Shakespeare’s Sonnets.” Her latest novel, “Eligible,” is dedicated to Park.
“I adored Sam, and I will always miss him,” Sittenfield told The Daily. “Our time co-editing [the] intermission [section] in the fall of 1996 was the beginning of a 20-year friendship. There was no one else like him in my life — his laugh, his generosity of spirit, his incredible intelligence. His absence is a huge loss to me and to his many friends, students, readers and colleagues in academia and the publishing community.”
Contact Emily Jusuf at ejusuf ‘at’ stanford.edu.