American Veteran 01

Kenneth A. Samuelson

June 7, 1920 ~ May 24, 2020 (age 99)


Ken Samuelson led a life dedicated to service.  Born on June 7, 1920, in Northfield, Wisconsin, he lived through the Depression that devastated his small farming community.  Upon high school graduation, he enlisted in the Air Force and was assigned to Hamilton Air Force Base where he met his first wife Thelma, a Mill Valley native.  He was accepted as an Aviation Cadet, graduated as a pilot and was assigned to the 453rd  Bomb Group, flying B-24 on 30 missions over Europe in 1944.  After the war, he settled his family in San Rafael and worked for the next 60 years as an insurance broker, eventually owning his own agency until retirement.  He was a member of the Optimist Club of Marin, fixing bicycles for needy children and participating in other service activities.  He and his second wife, Norma Jay, moved to Sonoma County and resided in Petaluma.  There he volunteered as a driver for Meals on Wheels.  After his wife passed away in 2013, Ken moved to the town of Sonoma and became a resident of Sunrise Villa.  Over the past several years, his favorite activity was riding his scooter around town, pickup up trash and running errands, followed by a stop at Peet’s for an iced mocha and a game of gin rummy.  He is survived by two children and six grandchildren, as well as many grandchildren and great grandchildren, nieces and nephews and grandnieces and grandnephews.  Poet Marge Piercy’s poem, “To Be Of Use,” could have been written with Ken in mind:  “I love people who harness themselves, as ox to a heavy cart, who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience, who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward, who do what has to be done, again, and again.”  Ken passed away at his home on May 24, 2020, just short of his 100th birthday.  Burial will be private at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in San Rafael.  Donations in his name may be made to Meals on Wheels, online at

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