Earl H. Samel
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Earl H. Samel
  • November 6, 1924 - April 3, 2017
  • Saint Louis, Missouri

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Earl H. Samel, a veteran of World War II, and a member of the Greatest Generation, passed away peacefully at McKnight Place on the evening of April 3, 2017. Earl was the beloved husband of Patricia (Linn) Rocklage Samel, and the late Blanche (Duffy) Samel, and the loving father of Christine Samel. Earl is survived by his wife, Patricia, his daughter, Christine, his step-daughter, Lynne Rocklage, his grandsons Christian (Paula) Webb, and Matthew (Amy) Webb, and his three great-grandchildren, Rylie, Corbin and Lucas. He is also survived by his brother Robert Samel, and many, many very special nieces and nephews - great-nieces and nephews - and great-great-nieces and nephews.

Earl was predeceased by his sister and brother-in-law, Marilyn and Joseph Martin, and by his brother and sister-in-law, Richard and Delores Samel. He was also predeceased by his sisters-in-law, Jeanne (Duffy) Cummings, Caroline (Linn) Carna and Gene (Linn) Manzo, and his brother-in-law, Larry Cummings.

Earl served in the Army Air Corps during World War II as an Airplane Armorer Gunner. He was a member of the 680th Bomber Squadron, 73rd Wing, 497th Bomb Group. He was part of the Air Offensive Japan and the Eastern Mandates, operating out of Saipan. He earned many medals including the Asiatic-Pacific Theater Ribbon with Two Bronze Stars, the Good Conduct Medal, the Air Medal, and the Distinguished Unit Badge.

After he returned from the war, he graduated from Normandy High School (Class of 1944), and attended Washington University. Earl earned a Bachelor of Science in Education degree (1950), and a Master of Science in Health and Physical Education degree (1953) from Washington University. During his high school years at Normandy, he played football and wrestled, and he played baseball for Washington University.

In 1950 Earl went to work for Normandy School District as a Physical Education teacher and Coach at Normandy Junior High. He was instrumental in the development and operation of Camp Viking, an annual outdoor, day camp program offered through the district. Later in his career, he served as the Health and Physical Education Coordinator for Normandy, and in this capacity, developed the walking path area through the grounds of the former St. Vincent's Hospital. He was known as "Coach" and mentor to many.

Earl loved the outdoors, and was a strong advocate for conservation and preservation efforts throughout the state of Missouri. Until recently, he owned and frequented his 150 year old cabin, "Tranquility", in Jefferson County, Missouri, where he photographed and chronicled all the flora and fauna that bloomed and freely wandered his property.

At the time of his death, Earl was 92 years of age. He would be the first to say he "had a great run"!

Earl's family extends its appreciation and thanks to the caring and devoted staff at The Gatesworth and McKnight Place, and the staff of St. Luke's Hospice. Earl certainly received the most excellent care possible from these dedicated individuals.

Visitation will take place on Monday, April 10, 2017, 10am - 12:30pm, at Kriegshauser Mortuary West Chapel, 9450 Olive Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63132. Internment with military honors will follow immediately at Calvary Cemetery, 5239 West Florissant Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63115.

In honor of Earl's life, and in lieu of flowers, the family asks that gifts be made to the Missouri Prairie Foundation, P.O. Box 200, Columbia, MO, 65205 or online at www.moprairie.org.