Life Story / Obituary
Throughout his 91 years, Bob Samples lived fully and completely at every opportunity. He traveled far and wide, sailed the seas serving his country, fought in battles of war, worked hard for those entrusted to his care, and experienced much living life to the fullest. Most importantly, Bob loved unconditionally and through his fine example, he leaves a lasting legacy never to be forgotten.
Bob’s story began on a typical, Michigan spring day in 1926. An exciting time in the U.S., it was the heyday of the Roaring Twenties, when Big Bands were king, and Prohibition was law of the land. Major U.S. manufacturers were implementing the beginning of the eight-hour, five-day work week, and factory towns were flourishing. Yet for David James and Hallie Virginia (Johnson) Samples, it was cause for celebration when they celebrated the birth of their little boy, Robert Jackson Samples on April 13, 1926.
Born and raised in Dearborn, Michigan, Bob was the second of eventually 13 children in his bustling household. He joined his older brother, David, and when Wilbur, Stella, Joseph, Marylou, Dorothy, Eva, Danny, Irma, Eileen, Lorraine, and John came along, there was never a lack of anyone to play with, or as Bob grew older, to watch over. To support their thriving family, Bob’s father worked for the Ford Motor Company while his mother remained at home as a homemaker. It was during Bob’s childhood when days of plenty turned into years of hardship with the onset of the Great Depression. These were difficult times, especially for large families such as Bobs. Work became scarce, and it was a chore just to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. While many did what they could to get by, times were lean and many learned to do without.
With talk of impending war overseas, the economy began to bounce back little by little, yet at a cost. Bob attended the area schools and at the age of 17 and with World War II well underway, he, like many, felt the call to duty. He left high school to join the Merchant Marines and literally fell in love with the ocean. Although he had been raised by the Great Lakes, Bob was in awe at the majesty of the ocean waters. He especially loved it when they let him take the helm of the ship. Bob also managed to get them to have one of his shipmates, the cook steer. As a just reward, his friend the cook made Bob lots of goodies including fresh donuts and his first taste of pizza.
Another thrill Bob encountered while steering the ship through the waters of San Francisco, California was seeing his first jet aircraft fly overhead. His time in the service afforded Bob the opportunity of travel and in so doing, he traveled throughout much if the world, including a very dangerous and monumental time during the invasion of Normandy. Following the thankful end of World War II, Bob was then drafted to serve during the Korean War where he spent two years on active duty, attaining the status of Sergeant. Upon his discharge from active duty, he went on to serve with the Reserves for an additional two years.
It was during this time in Bob’s life when he came to realize true love in the heart of his future wife, Margaret. They met as childhood neighbors, and Bob was friends with her older brother. Married before a congregation of family and friends in 1950, the newlyweds barely had a chance to begin their new lives together when Bob was drafted into the Army at the start of the Korean war. He returned home to a growing family that eventually included daughters, Loretta and Karen, and son, Bob. From the beginning, Bob placed the needs of his family as a priority and they were the most important part of his life. He provided Margaret and the kids with unconditional love and made sacrifices without hesitation. Bob was a hard working man and together with his wife they made a beautiful life for their children. It was Bob’s heart’s desire to make his children’s lives better and with more opportunities than he had growing up during the Depression.
Bob’s time in the service gave him an affection for travel. He always enjoyed traveling, including a favorite windjammer sailing cruise he went on one time in the Caribbean. Besides his family, one of Bob’s greatest achievements and joy for work was the water intake project he designed at the Point Lepreau nuclear generating station in New Brunswick, Canada. During that time he was also able to spend treasured time with his beloved Margaret and where she was able to enjoy an endless supply of her favorite lobster and seafood. In his free time, Bob loved golfing and swimming and he did so whenever he could.
There was no greater joy for Bob than the love of family. He led a rich and rewarding life with those he loved by his side, and he would not have wanted it any other way. A man of integrity and honor, he was ever dedicated and devoted. Bob was larger than life, full of energy and well liked by many. One of a kind, his dynamic personality was always a pleasant experience to everyone he encountered. Bob was the most selfless individual, and in him his family found a selfless hero who leaves much to be remembered. Deeply loved and forever missed, Bob’s memory will always be cherished.
Robert J. Samples, age 91, passed away peacefully surrounded by family October 9. Beloved husband of the late Margaret. Loving father of Loretta (Gil), Karen, and little Bob (Laura). Dearest grandfather of Jason (Sarah), Jessica, Alex, Jackson, and Freddie. Family will receive friends Thursday 2–9pm at Neely-Turowski FH, 30200 5 Mile Rd, (between Merriman & Middlebelt) where a funeral service will be held Friday 1:00 pm. Interment at Cadillac Memorial Gardens West.