After a long courageous battle with Parkinson's disease and dementia, Johnnie Frank (John) Samuel went to be with the Lord on March 30 at home, with his wife and children by his side.
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He was born Oct. 21, 1934 in Deepstep, Ga., later moving to Macon where he met and married his sweetheart, Martha. There they raised four children and were active members in their church. John taught senior high boys and he and his sons spent many weekends clearing and helping build cabins for a church camp that is used to this day. He would keep up with the children so Martha could play softball with the church team.
John enlisted in the United States Air Force, serving stateside at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, and Osan Air Base, Korea. After serving four years he continued his education, earning degrees in Business Administration and Certified Public Accounting. He also served in the Georgia National Guard, North Carolina Guard, and the West Virginia Guard, serving 29 years.
His second career began as an executive with Sears Roebuck & Co., taking he and his family to the Kingsport/Johnson City, Tenn. area, Hampton, Fayetteville, N.C., Huntington, W.V., and finally to regional offices in Greensboro, N.C., where he retired with 32 years of service. He received numerous awards for outstanding performance and management style.
In 1995 he and Martha built their home in Williamsburg to be closer to grandchildren. Before his illness, they traveled the world seeing almost all the continents. He always told his friends he was only there to keep up with her luggage. He also loved traveling with Ford's Colony neighbors visiting Civil War sites. John worked James City voting polls several years and volunteered to file income tax at Old Towne Medical Center until his illness prevented him from continuing.
John was a man who had a strong belief in honor and country. He was a disciplined man of principles, a devoted husband, father and grandfather. He was a true man's man.
He will be sorely missed by his loving wife, Martha of 57 years; daughters Vickie (Tommy) Garner of Carrollton; Crystal Samuel of Myrtle Beach, S.C.; and sons, Randall (Cathy) of Charleston, S.C. and Kevin of Williamsburg. They have been blessed with nine grandchildren and three and a half great-grandchildren.
A celebration of his life will be held on Saturday, April 6 at Nelsen Funeral Home, 3785 Strawberry Plains Rd, Williamsburg, with visitation at 1 p.m. and a service at 2 p.m., followed by a reception. Burial will be at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Riverside Hospice, 12420 Warwick Blvd, Newport News, 23606, National Parkinson Foundation, 1501 NW 9th Ave, Miami, Fla., 33136 or
, 11835 Canon Blvd, Ste. A102, Newport News, 23606.
We express gratitude to his nurses and aide at Riverside Hospice, Megan and Laura, caregivers who helped Martha, Hattie Barbourf of Friendship Care and Angie Mayo and the loving care of his neurologist, Dr. Patricia Mayse, and the members of the Fords Colony emergency department for the times they came to help.
Online condolences may be expressed at www.nelsencares.com and www.vagazette.com
Published in Virginia Gazette from Apr. 3 to May 2, 2013