Sam Winters majored in arts and science at Amarillo College, where he also played intramural football and basketball from 1939-1941. He furthered his education at the University of Texas, receiving B.A. and J.D. degrees, and he served aboard a destroyer in the Pacific Theatre during World War II, surviving the crash of a kamikaza at the Battle of Okinawa. In 1948, Sam was admitted to the Bar in Texas and went on to earn many professional honors, including a presidential appointment to the Board of Governors of the U.S. Postal Service. He also served as briefing attorney for the Texas Supreme Court (1948-1949), chaired the Texas Research League and was a member of the National Highway Safety Advisory Committee.