Samuel Gay, 91, of West Philadelphia, a retired machinist inspector for the former Merck Sharp & Dohme Co., died Thursday, Nov. 17, of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at Lankenau Medical Center.

Mr. Gay, known to friends as Sam, was a very stable, reliable man who put down roots, stayed put, and flourished, his family said.

Born in West Philadelphia, he lived in the same house his entire life. He attended John Barry Elementary School, William Shoemaker Junior High School, and Overbrook High School.

He served in the Merchant Marine and U.S. Coast Guard from 1944 to 1946.

Mr. Gay spent his entire career with the pharmaceutical giant Merck Sharp & Dohme, now called Merck & Co. Inc. His workplace was initially at 640 N. Broad St., in the Spring Garden section of Philadelphia, and later in North Wales, Montgomery County.

In 1948, he started out as a janitor in the maintenance department and rose to machinist inspector before retiring in 1991.

Two days before he died, he told his daughter, Marilyn Gay Edney, that he never took advantage of the company's sick days. "I never took a sick day because I loved going to my job," he told his daughter.

As Mr. Gay's health began to decline, he had the help of his son-in-law, Willie Edney III, who drove him to medical appointments and became his confidant.

"He considered my husband like a son," Marilyn Edney said.

Mr. Gay's passions were listening to jazz and watching boxing on TV and at the Legendary Blue Horizon in North Philadelphia. His other favorite pastime was travel, with his wife, daughter, and a niece.

The group toured the United States and cruised the seas. On one occasion, the four took a jazz cruise featuring Dizzy Gillespie. "I have great memories," Mr. Gay's daughter said.

He was married for 54 years to Marjorie Goodson Gay. She died in 1998 of a heart attack, also at Lankenau Medical Center.

Besides his daughter, Mr. Gay is survived by sons Samuel Jr. and Glenn Edward; eight grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren. Six siblings preceded him in death.

Mr. Gay chose cremation. Services are private.

Donations may be made to the American Heart Association via