Gene “Sam” Samuelson, of La Porte, Indiana whose smile lit up a room, passed away unexpectedly at the age of 82 years old on Friday, January 1, 2021.
He was born on October 30, 1938, in La Porte to Russell and Betty Laverne (Wheaton) Samuelson.
Gene was a renaissance man that lived a very full and busy life. He co-owned a Barber Shop at the Rumely Hotel, sold cars with Blue Chip Auto Sales, worked for La Porte Transit, and owned Sam’s Hilltop Bar & Grill. He was also a well-accomplished police officer who held many roles within the La Porte City Police Department. He was an officer and supervisor in the Uniform Division, a detective and supervisor in the Detective Bureau, and an undercover drug investigator. He enjoyed a very diverse career as an officer and when he retired, he retired as the Chief of Police.
Gene clearly did not know what retirement meant since, after his retirement from police work, he went on to work for the La Porte County Weights & Measures for nine years. Each year a different city held a Weights & Measures conference where he would take his wife, Barbara, and his grandchildren. His grandchildren will tell you those were some of their best times with their grandparents. Gene and Barbara loved being grandparents and it showed. Gene held many roles in his 82 years, but his best role was as a grandfather.
Gene also had a very busy social life. He was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Knights of Columbus, St. Michael Council # 1542, Kiwanis Club, Loyal Order of Moose #492, Polish Falcons Nest # 564, PRCU, PNA, the Weights & Measures Association, Past President, and member of the F.O.P. #54, the Police Chiefs Association, and Past President and member of the La Porte County Democratic Club. He was also an integral founding member of the Neutral Zone Teen Center.
Gene is survived by his sons, Gregory (Rebecca) Samuelson of La Porte and Douglas (Victoria) Samuelson of Rolling Prairie; grandchildren, Joshua (Nicole) Samuelson, Jenifer (James Weir) Samuelson, Jonathon (Quinn) Samuelson, Andrew Samuelson, Emily Samuelson, and Tommy Samuelson; great-grandchildren, Russell, Mitchell, & Lydia Samuelson, and Adrianna Weir; sister, Gloria (Jack) Whitacre of Pennsylvania; special friend, Edna Kuk; and the many nieces and nephews who have declared him as their favorite uncle.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Barbara Ann (Ciecka) Samuelson on September 16, 2009, his parents, and his siblings: Betty Hartsough and Russell Samuelson Jr.
He will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him.
Visitation will be from 4-8 p.m. Friday, January 8, 2021, at Frank L. Keszei Funeral Home, Essling Chapel, 1117 Indiana Avenue, La Porte, Indiana, where a Parish Rosary will be held at 8 p.m. The visitation will be live-streamed at, https://www.facebook.com/esslingchapel.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday, January 9, 2021, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 201 Bach Street, La Porte, Indiana 46350. Family and friends may visit from 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the Funeral Home prior to the Mass. Burial will follow at Pine Lake Cemetery. The Funeral Mass will be live-streamed at: https://www.catholiclaporte.org.
Memorial contributions may be made to Sacred Heart Parish or the Food Bank of St. Vincent de Paul at Sacred Heart Parish.
Please share prayers, condolences, and memories with the family at Essling Funeral Home.com.
Those attending are asked to wear a face mask and social distance.