A memorial service for Rev. Leonard Philip Samuelson, 85, of Reedley will be held at 2 p.m. on Nov. 22 at the Lindsay First Baptist Church with a graveside service to be held in Allenwood, N.J. He went home to be with his Lord on Nov. 14. He was welcomed into heaven by his parents, Sigurd and Hulda Samuelson, and his wife of 53 years, Kathryn Allen Samuelson.
He was born on Sept. 12, 1918 in Winnetka, Ill. He graduated from New Trier High in 1937 and enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserves prior to attending the King's College in Belmar, N.J. His college days were interrupted when he was called into active duty in May 1941 as a seaman first class on the U.S.S. Vincennes as a yeoman for the ship's librarian, navigator and chaplain. His ship was engaged in action in the Coral Sea, Battle of Midway, Doolittle's Raid on Tokyo and the landing of the Marines at Guadalcanal. His ship was sunk as the result of shelling by the Japanese 8th fleet in the Battle of Savo Island. He lost 332 shipmates and was left swimming and drifting in shark-infested waters for eight long hours until rescue came. His call into ministry came as a result of this experience.
He continued to serve his country as chief yeoman to Admiral Turner in the South Pacific. In 1943 he was shipped stateside and given leave to marry his college sweetheart, Kathryn M. Allen of Allenwood, N.J.
After his honorable discharge at the end of World War II, he earned his bachelor's degree from Eastern Baptist College and two more degrees from Eastern Baptist Seminary in Philadelphia, Pa. He served as a missionary in Arizona to the Hopi Indians as well as pastorates in Pennsylvania, New York, Arizona and California. He pastored the Lindsay First Baptist Church from 1970 to 1980. He and his wife, Kathryn, retired in Reedley in 1990 and were active members of the Reedley First Baptist Church.
He loved people and loved to share his faith. His hobbies included Boy Scouting (he was an Eagle Scout), photography, short-wave radio, and traveling to mission fields.
Surviving are his sister Ruth Samuelson of Carol Stream, Ill; brother, Glenn and wife, Lois of Lansdale, Pa. and their two children; son, Eric and wife, Laura of Maui, Hawaii; son Bill and wife, Karen of Coarsegold; daughter Liz Stiffler and husband, Bob of Orofino, Idaho; daughter Debby Estes and husband, Sam of Reedley; 18 grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren.
Remembrances may be made to the L. Philip Samuelson Memorial in care of the Lindsay First Baptist Church, 581 E. Honolulu, Lindsay, CA 93247.