A former Louisville community college chemistry professor who worked to improve sanitation and preserve safe drinking water supplies in the nation of Cambodia has died.
Michael Lynn "Mickey" Sampson died last week of a heart attack, according to a statement from Resource Development International-Cambodia, the private non-profit organization that Sampson founded.
He was 43.
Mr. Sampson had lived in Cambodia since moving his family there in 1998. He previously was an assistant professor of chemistry at Jefferson Community and Technical College, which at the time was part of the University of Kentucky community college system.
Mr. Sampson, a Louisville native, first visited Cambodia in the early 1990s while on sabbatical from his teaching duties. There, he saw firsthand the nation's widespread water and sanitation problems and decided to do something about them.
Resource Development, the organization that Mr. Sampson founded, made ceramic water filtration and distribution systems; developed programs to warn Cambodians about the risks of contaminated water, and created TV programs for children promoting health and literacy.
According to a statement from Resource Development, Mr. Sampson had been experiencing health problems for some time. He died Thursday in Bangkok, Thailand, after flying there to see a specialist. Mr. Sampson's body will be returned to Cambodia for funeral arrangements, the resource organization said.
Mr. Sampson is survived by his wife, Wendi, two sons and two daughters, his parents and one brother.