S: Margaret Hall Samuel: Celebrating 90 Years of Love, Faith, and Laughter
FC: Margaret Hall Samuel: Celebrating 90 Years of Love, Faith, and Laughter
1: God bless this house and all who dwell within And every guest who comes Its humble walls within God keep this house from sorrow and alarm From sickness, sudden death From evil, sin and harm God make this house a home we all may prize A place of peace and rest An earthly paradise (No floods, fires, earthquakes, stealing, termites, acne, bedbugs...) | In loving memory of Lance Michael Samuel and Christine Margaret Samuel. In special dedication to Robert Warren Samuel and Margaret Hall Samuel, who breathed life into our vast family tree, opened our minds, transformed our hearts, and blessed us with a devout faith in God.
2: The Matriarch
4: The Patriarch
6: And so it begins.....
7: The Samuel Clan
11: Lance Michael
12: This loving note from her husband, Sam, was discovered by Margaret on her desk the morning of her 90th birthday, demonstrating Sam's undying love and devotion to his wife even in death.
20: Roses are red Violets are blue I hope I get to be 90 Just like you! I love you Grandma! Love, Daniel
23: Dear Grandma- It is hard to imagine life without a presence like yours. You have been there as an ever-present part of my life since day one, and I believe it has helped shape me into the person I am today. It is always great when you come down because it gives me someone to talk to that actually has something interesting to say. Those hours of just talking at the dinner table are memories I cherish. Through good and bad, you have been there as someone I could talk to and lean on when I need someone. When Drew died so many years ago, I felt lost and did not know what to do. It was too much for me to handle as a 12-year-old boy. Thankfully, you and Grandpa helped me through it, and I doubt I could ever repay that kindness you taught me. I could have ended up so wrong, but your guidance, passed on to both my parents and my siblings, steered me in the right direction, especially spiritually. I could have easily fallen away from the faith here in college like so many others, since there is no one here to keep an eye on me, but I know your spiritual example helped me understand the faith in ways I could have never had by myself. I could not have been or be where am now without your direct and indirect guidance, and I can never thank you enough for that. Love, Nick | FAITH | FAITH | FAITH
24: Dear Grandma, Thank you for all that you have taught me over the years. You've taught me to persevere when times are tough and I feel as if I want to give up and run away from all the problems in life. You have the desire to always help people, opening your arms to anyone that is having a problem within their life, be it a personal issue or a family issue. Your strong sense of faith in God inspires me to believe even though it is hard with all the temptations in the world today. I may not have known Grandpa very well, but knowing you is the one thing I would never change and I am proud to call you my Grandmother. Love, Zack | You are sweet and never blue, Always saying "God bless you". Always loving to people you meet, Even if they are a creep. We love you Grandma, you're a treasure, Always bringing us much pleasure. God blessed us with the gift of you, That's what makes our lives so true. We love you Grandma! God bless you!
25: Grandma, It is an honor every time you come and stay with us. You always give great advice in religious and worldly manners. You always have great stories to tell and are always happy to share them with us. You are always fun to have around and you have a great sense of humor. You deserve the best birthday this world can give you. Happy birthday Grandma! Love, Jake Maupin
30: Dear Grandma, It seems like just yesterday I was eight and looking desperately for something red, white, and blue to wear for the Fourth of July celebration at your house. I can’t tell you how much I looked forward to that each and every year growing up. I loved coming over and spending time with all the cousins, but even more so I loved coming over to see you and Grandpa. You would always be in the kitchen finishing up making salads, or cutting up vegetables, and Grandpa would be outside on his grill cooking hamburgers and hotdogs. But the best part of the night would be watching Grandpa and all the boys setting off fireworks as we sat and ate all the delicious desserts! I remember how important it was to Grandpa to make sure we had cool fireworks because he wanted so much to make it a special night - and he definitely did! It seems strange how in the normal course of life, the littlest things can spark memories. Every time I see an older man I think of Grandpa, and how much I miss him. I miss how he would always compliment me on sitting up straight and when he would knock me on the head every once in a while with his ring, because I knew it was a sign of affection. I especially miss his hugs, his great big hugs. Whenever I go to eat a donut (which happens most frequently) I think of Grandpa’s donut maker! Oh how I loved that! I loved not only the wonderful taste of them, but the aroma that filled your house whenever he made them. At the grocery store, I’ll see SlimFast, and it takes me back to sitting at your kitchen table watching TV with Grandpa while he drank his SlimFast milkshake (which I was so jealous of!) and I ate the peanut butter and honey you would make for me with a glass of milk. But the thing that reminds me the most of Grandpa, is when someone says to me, “Your legs go on forever.” I always took such pride in the fact that my Mom would tell me that my legs were just like Grandpa’s. But memories of Grandpa are not all I have: memories of you, Grandma, are ones that I cherish so very much. You have always been such an inspiration and role model in my life. You’re laugh is the most contagious laugh I have ever heard, and
31: one that I will never forget. I remember sitting at our dining room table this year, and my Dad poured my Mom a glass of wine, and my Mom started telling stories and laughing, and she goes, “I’m just like my mother, I just love to laugh!” When anyone is around you, it seems like your constant optimism permeates the atmosphere. You have such strong values and are the strongest woman I know, and I can’t tell you how much I admire you for that. Your unwavering faith has truly impacted my own faith. The memories I have of you are probably too many to recount, even if I had ten pages to write. But one of my fondest is sitting and listening to your stories. They are so captivating, whether they are about the saints, about you growing up, or yours and Grandpa’s courtship. They all are so fascinating, and each one always seems to have its own lesson hidden in it. I also loved, as any kid would, the lollipops and jelly beans you always had on hand to give us! I looked forward to them every time I would come over, and without fail you would always treat me to them. Finally, like Grandpa’s, your hugs are something I absolutely love; there is just some- thing about them that makes them the best hugs I will ever receive. You and Grandpa have instilled so many values in me and taught me so many lessons. You have taught me to respect everyone, no matter who they are. You have taught me to be kind, to listen, and to love. You especially have taught me to be steadfast in my faith. I attribute who I am today not only to the extraordinary upbringing by my parents, but also to you and Grandpa. Growing up, you were both such a strong presence in my life. Not only do I attribute who I am to you because of your direct influence, but because of the amazing person you brought my Mom up to be. Thank you so much for everything Grandma! I don’t think you can possibly imagine how much you have given me and the impact you have on my life. I love you so very very much, and I feel God has truly blessed me with such wonderful grandparents. Love, Lauretta
32: A warm hug, a tight embrace Squeezing my ribs together Too cheerful to notice Deep, reassuring voice exclaiming "Hey there, Sammy!" A warm hug, a light embrace Breathing in the sweet floral scent Too cheerful to notice Soft, comforting voice replying "Well hello, dear!" Her faith attracted guardian angels Spreading their angel wings Protecting their large family They raised the hands that wiped my tears and cleaned my scrapes They bred the voice that sang me to sleep and encouraged me They nurtured the heart that loves unconditionally and gives willingly They grew the distinct laughter that is my home There are no other words There are no other phrases Than we thank you honestly And we all love you deeply Love all the Harvey Grandchildren
33: 1. Helping Grandpa in his garden, especially with the cucumbers, tomatoes, and green beans. Then getting to eat a thick, juicy tomato slice with one of Grandma's famous burgers out on the patio deck. 2. Fireworks & sparklers on the Fourth of July in Grandma and Grandpa's backyard, followed by camping out in the tent overnight. 3. A full day's tour at Mount Vernon with Grandpa, who referred to it as a good stretch of the legs (of course it was four of my legs for every one of his)! 4. Making doughnuts with Grandpa and all the cousins, especially the part where we covered the doughnuts in sugar by jumping up and down holding the bags! 5. Grandpa having the piano tuned before we arrived from Texas for us to practice his choice of songs. Then put on a play recital for him and Grandma! 6. Grandma's five star baking skills which deftly created the most amazing melt in your mouth cinnamon twists, world's fluffiest eggs & pancakes, the most perfect grilled cheese sandwiches ever, absolutely scrumptious thumbprint cookies, magic carpet cookies, and, of course, her bourbon soaked fruitcake!!! 7. Saying the Rosary with Grandma and listening to her devotion to Our Holy Mother Mary and Her Most Beloved Son, Jesus Christ when speaking of Mass, Communion, & the power of prayer. 8. Learning how to cross-stitch from Aunt Christine (she even gave me a beautiful sewing basket)! Then peacefully sitting with Grandma while I worked on completing my first cross-stitch piece upstairs in their formal living room. 9. The gift of their presence at our wedding in Texas. It meant so much to me that both of them could be at the rehearsal dinner, wedding & reception as well as come over to my parent's house to spend time with Jason & me afterwards. I will treasure the beautiful Holy Family Bible they gave us, always! 10. Grandpa & Grandma called to check on me after the birth of our second son, Grant. It was such an amazingly kind and thoughtful gesture. Their blessings & well wishes meant so very much to me. Grandpa said he was so proud of us and there was no better feeling in the whole wide world! Their beautiful congratulations card arrived a week or so later, I have kept it all this time! A symbol of their great love for each other which started with their children, and continues in their grandchildren and great-grandchildren...and for all generations to come. | My Top 10 Favorite Memories of Grandma & Grandpa By Rebecca Marie
35: Dear Grandma, You have such a large impact on my life. Your delicate sweet face and kind words are what have brought me such joy in life. I always enjoyed coming over to your house and talking about religion, what impact it has on the world and how it corresponds to family. You and Grandpa were always so welcoming when I came with my mother and brother to visit during the summertime. I specifically remember talking about how important it was to attend a Catholic college because it was important to make friends with the same faith background, and you were right. I have never been so happy as I am here at Ave Maria University. I call this place my second home and I have you to thank because you were the one that mentioned this school to my mother and made it possible for us to visit here. I have wonder memories of 3120 Battersea Lane. There was always an "aroma of warmth" when I entered the house....the smell of home cooked food and your perfume filled the air. It made me feel comfortable and at home. I loved to help in the kitchen, cooking for you and Grandpa and recall the delighted look on your faces when you bit into the homemade goodies we made. I also loved how grandpa would always critique me on my stature, running his finger up or down my back to get me to stand up straight. Even though I did not always appreciate it at the time, I know he did it with love and always with a smile on his face. Thank you for influencing my life in so many wonderful ways Grandma. You and Grandpa have had such a big impact on my development as a person. You continue to inspire me to be more than I thought I was capable. I love you Grandma, Ashley
36: Dearest Grandma, My, how time flies! I feel like it was only yesterday that you and Grandpa graciously opened your house to our family in the summer of 1995 on our return from Germany. Those lazy summer days, filled with swimming next door, throwing the ball outside, wondrous home cooked meals, decadent desserts, and let’s not forget the late night run to the hospital for my appendicitis, provided me my first opportunity to really get to know you and Grandpa – and I was immediately smitten. Not least was I taken by the comical contrast between the two of you: Grandpa’s brusque, principled demeanor versus your calming presence and gentle touch. While curious at the time, it didn’t take me long to fall in love with those two personalities in the ensuing years (or to find that tender heart of Grandpa’s that he hid so well). I could hardly have foreseen, however, the close relationship we would forge in the future. While I gleaned at the time how special the two of you were, it wasn’t until I came of age in high school and was allowed to help Lance tend to your yard that I began to fully appreciate everything you and Grandpa had to offer. Believe it or not, I waited in anticipation to mow your lawn each weekend (and not for your infamous grilled ham and cheese sandwiches), wondering what new things I would learn from my discussions and time with you and him. You two were simultaneously a window into my past, providing me a glimpse of where I came from and who I am, and instruments guiding my personal development. I came to see the old, grumpy and obstinate Grandpa of my childhood, who had a penchant for inflicting pain on his grandchildren with that notorious West Point ring of his, as a man of unyielding integrity. He never strayed from his principles, but rather, made a concerted effort to make sure those values that should be common to all were instilled in his grandchildren, through discipline if necessary. I realized there was a reason behind every critique of Grandpa’s: to eat all your food was good manners; good posture and a firm handshake were basic essentials of properly holding and conducting yourself; cleaning and putting away your tools was a lesson in taking care of your belongings
37: and doing a complete job; his refusal to accept excuses taught me to hold myself accountable and take responsibility for my actions. These, among so many other valuable lessons, are the little things in life that made him such a model grandfather, husband, and father, and which he endeavored to cultivate in us. While Grandpa taught me how to comport myself with dignity, you had the greater task of teaching me how to make sense of life through your instruction on religion. My conversations with you have afforded me the rare ability to appreciate the value and significance of our faith and how it ought to inform our decisions and lifestyle. I owe to you my life- altering experience of Medjugorje, along with your constant vigil and prayers on my behalf, which undoubtedly played a pivotal role in where I am today. But it has been your personal example that has impacted me the most. As devout as you are, God has not spared you in the least from recurring trials and tribulations and much grief. Yet, each and every encounter with adversity and sorrow has brought you closer to God. Your deep and abiding faith is truly an inspiration to us all and gives credence to your maxim that “He never gives you more than you can handle.” In the end, words cannot do justice to the profound influence you and Grandpa have had on me – and everyone else you have touched. Many count themselves lucky to have met one person as extraordinary as you. I, however, was one of the fortunate few who not only met two such people, but was granted the privilege to know them personally and interact with them regularly. I will always treasure my summer memories at your house and will continue to look forward to walking into your home, being greeted with that brimming smile and precious, utterly infectious, laugh of yours, and building more memories in the years to come. So here’s to you on another incredible milestone! May you reflect on happy times past, look forward to cheerful times ahead, and, most importantly, enjoy the moments at hand. Happy 90th Birthday, Grandma! I love you to the heavens! Your adoring grandson, Sam
39: I’m not very eloquent when it comes to discussing emotions. I usually never end up finding the right words that do justice to the depth and specificities of how I feel. I think this is partially why I end up turning to painting as a form of self-expression - it comes more naturally to me to channel through a creative and tactile process, where I end up being able to express emotions I don’t even necessarily comprehend. Grandma and Grandpa were always very supportive of my painting and hinted that they would love a piece of my artwork for their home. Of course I was more than willing to give them something I had already done, but I felt like they deserved more - a painting that they inspired, something that showed my extreme gratitude for everything they had done for me, something beautiful enough to hang up in a place where all my relatives would see it. Unfortunately, I was unable to finish this project before Grandpa passed away. I always wondered if he would have liked what I ended up doing, especially considering how critical he was of the painting in the dining room and the fact that my finished artwork was also a landscape! What I eventually gave Grandma was my interpretation of a “family tree” - a gestural, colorful painting of a tree that was chaotic, but unified. For the tree, I used varying bold and lively brushstrokes that together defined the figure. I offset the vivacity of the tree with a peaceful blue spring sky. It almost reminded me of the tree in the front yard of their house that I used to love to climb as a child. I’m not sure if Grandma got the metaphor of the tree painting. She seemed to like it though, which is really all that matters to me. Aunt Christine was also very enthusiastic about it; in fact, talking about the painting is one of the last memories I have with her and I feel blessed it was such a great one. The painting is hanging up right now outside Grandpa’s study and I am honored that my work is displayed in the same vicinity as Uncle Randall’s. To Grandma, Grandpa and Aunt Christine: I’m sorry if I have had a hard time telling you just how much you have meant to me and how positively you have affected my life. I love you. Family may be messy sometimes but it’s all we’ve got. Grandma, thank you for being the unifying force, the roots, of our family. Thank you for always keeping it all together and being so strong. Thank you for the unconditional love and support you’ve always given me, especially in my career as an artist. Thank you for teaching me by example about respect and appreciation. Happy 90th birthday, you are always in my heart. Love, Meghan
40: Love, Rachel
43: Saldana Family
44: Harvey Family
47: Christine Margaret
48: Lovejoy Family
53: Samuel Family
54: Kotzot Family
56: Morin Family
58: Maupin Family
61: Love, Rachel
62: Dear Grandma, It’s hard to put into words the impact you and Grandpa have had on me. As far back as I can remember, I recall the hearty welcome of Grandpa as I’d walk through the door, the great bear hug he always had waiting for me, your ready smile and the twinkle in your eye as I kissed and hugged you hello. The immediate warmth that enveloped me as I walked in always put me at ease. It was as though I had come home. My favorite memories were when we came to your home during summer vacation. Grandpa would wake me up too early, but I always received the best rewards for my early rising: the awesome cereal cabinet (cheerios with sugar on top was a definite favorite!), shaking the doughnut bags and eating their delicious goodness, the many days of swimming at the neighbor’s pool with Grandpa, and the treasured talks with you while you sat on your rocker recalling the past or your great love for the Lord. These memories are sunshine to me on the rainy days of life, and I will always cherish them. Perhaps even more important than those poignant memories are the lessons in faith, love and family that you and Grandpa instilled in me. These are especially meaningful now as I begin my own family. The love between you and Grandpa was apparent every time I came to visit. The tender touch briefly given, the laughter and smiles that were exchanged, and the attentiveness that you showed each other in small acts underlined the everlasting love between you. Through all the trials and tribulations that God placed in your path, you and Grandpa found a way to move forward, and not only forward, but to cultivate an even deeper love for one another. Your love and devotion to our Lord is awe inspiring. I strive daily to try and emulate that same love of the Lord and instill those same values in my own child; for without the Lord many of the trials of life would be too much to bear. The religious pilgrimage to Alabama implanted in me the seed that led to my desire to go to Medjugorje. You were so supportive of my decision to go and challenge my faith; for that, I will be forever grateful. My pilgrimage to Medjugorje changed my life and left me with a desire to deepen and broaden my faith. It was because of your steadfast support, encouragement and prayers that we even made it to Bosnia at all – between Lance’s crazy driving, getting lost in the mountains of Croatia, and the “no machine gun signs” on the entrance to the towns in Bosnia, I know that we arrived safely because of your “special connection” with the Lord. Grandma, you mean more to me than I can express. I have treasured all the times that I’ve been able to spend with you, especially the long talks regarding faith. I always come away with a renewed determination to make faith a larger part of my life. I only hope that I can be the example to my children that you are to me. I look forward to many more visits and years with you. I love you Grandma. With all my love, Margaret
63: It has now been 6 years and 3 months since Grandpa passed on. I must say that it is too infrequently that I think back on the memories of the family; those people and memories that helped shape me into who I am today. But let me go back to those early days and think back on how they have helped me become whom I am today. I have memories of a small sausage dog running down the stairs at 3160 Battersea Lane, Duchess or Duke, I'm not sure which, but the memory of a dachshund wriggling its way up and down stairs sticks with me, perhaps because it's always an amusing sight. The front door was always unlocked and open to guests. The welcoming calls of Grandma and Grandpa's booming voice rung out as we gave a knock of notice and then walked in. After we paid our respects to our hosts and spent some quiet time in the living room, which seemed at the time a place of spotless furniture and breakable items, it was time for playing downstairs in the den, and if we were good, a Disney movie from the massive collection. It seemed dinner was always a highlight, whether it be Grandpa's famous barbecued chicken from the grill, or one of Grandma's home cooked meals - meals that I often think back on today with fondness, and a wish for one at my next port. The rule always was if you clean your plate you get desert, typically ice cream with your choice of sauce. That, coupled with asking Grandma's permission to raid the candy jar for peanut M&Ms always made their house a special place. Holidays were forever a special occasion at Grandma and Grandpa's. I think my first Christmas memory was from the den, tree bedecked with ornaments and lights, Uncle Heinz playing the guitar, and most of the family there sharing the holiday time together. Fourth of Julys were always illuminated by fireworks (under Grandpa's careful supervision). I enjoy looking at the pictures of those past days in my parent's house. They serve as a reminder of the importance of family, especially as the world continues to grow and become connected through computers and smart phones. However, the memories of Grandma and Grandpa I hold dearest are those of more recent years, letters to Grandpa as I struggled to find my path in life, and talking and sharing meals with Grandma and Aunt Christine. Hearing about our family roots is something I find important in my life. It helps me recognize where we came from, and how our family will fit into the future world. I love you Grandma, and I look forward to many more times with you in the future. Love, Andrew
65: Happy Birthday Grandma, Here’s to a great one and many more! I apologize in advance for not being able to make the actual party, but I'll be flying back from Brazil that day. I will stop by shortly thereafter, though, to pass on my best wishes in person. In fact, you and Grandpa have some responsibility for me missing the celebration due to traveling overseas. Growing up, I was always fascinated by your stories of how it was like to live in Germany, Japan and Grandpa’s time in Vietnam. I still tell friends about how your car was stolen and used to rob the Emperor’s mail for the first time in Japan and how you lived in a good sized house in Tokyo, which would be worth a fortune now but at the time had very basic comforts. Hearing all of these stories when I was young made me realize that I wanted to go explore some of the same places and understand the differences in scenery and culture. Once I started it was hard to stop (and I haven’t). You and Grandpa and the rest of the family certainly had a fascinating life. It wasn’t just the stories of traveling though that inspired me. I feel very fortunate to grow up so close to you and Grandpa so that we were able to visit on a regular basis. Whether it was coming over for a BBQ and a game of catch in the backyard, visiting Civil War battlefields with a home packed lunch, making donuts, or just listening to you speak of growing up in Colorado, our visits to your home in Mount Vernon are still some of my fondest memories of growing up. I realize I haven’t kept as good of contact as I should have these past couple of years. It's been a very busy time for me with work and travel distracting my attention, but I hope you realize that I think about you often and always send my best wishes and prayers. Happy birthday once again! Your loving grandson, Craig
69: Dear Grandma, You are an amazing person and it fits you so well to preside as the matriarch of this immense family. Attempting to comprehend ninety years of living -- how much you have experienced, what you have seen and the wisdom you have accumulated from so many years -- is no less than staggering. I would like to think that all of us, from your children to your great-grandchildren, have learned from both you and Grandpa. I know I certainly have. Living so far away from the family for so long in Germany and then periodically returning to your house in Mt. Vernon provided a modicum of normalcy to my transient upbringing. The summers with you and Grandpa were what I came to look forward to most. They were the equivalent of my rock, that sense of stability one needs in life. Simply being around the two of you taught me much about life – whether the spiritual aspects of faith or the more practical aspects of life such as learning Grandpa’s handyman skills. Much of the adult I have become is a result of my time there and what I took away from the two of you. My only regret is I never learned quite how to make donuts nearly as delicious as Grandpa’s! Happy Birthday Grandma! Your life is an example to all of us. I will always look upon it, this incredible family and your lasting relationship with Grandpa as a source of strength from which to draw upon. I count myself fortunate to have been blessed with you as my grandmother and will forever remember you and Grandpa because of my namesake! I look forward to wishing you a happy birthday personally and hope that we can spend more time together. All my love, John
70: Dear Grandma, Happy 90th Birthday! I congratulate you on a dime shy of a century long life. You have done an amazing job in so many aspects. I don't know this from many first-hand observations, but from the trickle-down effect now visible throughout our extended family. You have shaped this family in so many immeasurable ways to help us become who we are today. In many aspects, family can be very similar to ice: it is in the togetherness of thousands and thousands of little droplets under freezing conditions that mold it to become one icicle. As I was walking to class on one of those rare Texas cold mornings, I noticed that the overnight freeze had an amazing effect on the fountain. A normal four-tiered water fountain, as plain as can be, had morphed into a beautiful, shimmering, frozen, tree-like sculpture. Always carrying my 35mm camera along with me had finally paid off. This picture is just one moment stopped in time from one perspective. It is chaotic, yet there is still a rhythm and flow to everything. You can see the individual beads of water as well as the bigger icicle formation. Our family encompasses these aspects, as well as numerous others, as we are all unified through the loving life that you have led; and we will always have part of you with us, as you helped shape us into this amazing and unique icicle known as the Samuel family. Thank you, and Happy Birthday Grandma! Love, Brian Kotzot
71: Dear Grandma, Happy Birthday!!! It's hard to believe that you are 90 years old. You still have so much spirit and spark it seems like you are in your 20's. If only I could give you my knees in exchange for your wisdom! I have so many fond memories of you and grandpa. Spending time over there throwing the baseball with grandpa, deep frying doughnuts, watching all the old batman and robin shows, mowing the grass, cleaning the gutters, going to church with you and grandpa and the whole family. All those are memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life and try to replicate with my own children and grandchildren. I see with my mother how wonderfully you raised her -- and all her sisters -- and I know that it all comes from a great mother. I realize now I would not have the wonderful life I have without all the values and life lessons you gave my mother. You are an inspiration to all of us, Grandma, and of course especially with your Catholic faith. Your faith is stronger than I could ever imagine having, but that doesn't mean that I can't try to have faith like you. And I know that’s what you expect from all of us! You are so kind and sweet, no matter what happens. When I was in the hard place, you and grandpa gave me the strength to get through it all. I remember telling you about my problems and asking for advice on how to tell grandpa. You said, "Everything will work out as long as you have faith, just tell him and be honest." I have tried to live my life by that advice, being honest with people and trusting that everything will work out for the best so long as I hold onto my faith. You always have such great advice, Grandma. I just wish that I had been able to spend more time with you over the past years. I know that my life would be even more complete with all the knowledge and wisdom you have to share. Thank you so much for being the best grandmother a grandson could ever ask for. Happy 90th Birthday, and wishes for many more! Love always, Your Grandson, Lance
74: Dear Mother, It is so hard to put into words all the wonderful memories I have of you and Dad, to acknowledge all the sacrifices you have made and all the help and guidance you have provided. Your prayers for each of us have been constant and I know they have made a huge difference in my life. I can look back and see where your prayers influenced me, how I was unknowingly guided to make an unlikely, but better, decision. You have always been a presence, and I thank you for that. When Gary and I got out of the Air Force, it seemed so natural to come back home. You and Dad welcomed us in while we got on our feet and decided where to live. Your support when we decided to move down to Richmond was wonderful, as we started our family and moved to a new house. You helped us to make that house a home, helped us to welcome each of our children, and our home was filled with memories of good times you spent with us and the comfort for the times that were a bit more difficult. It was hard to leave that behind as we relocated to Stafford, but you were there again to help us create a home and even more memories. Over the past few years I have looked forward to our 4th of July celebrations, sharing some of the holidays and every visit you were able to make. Our family has been truly blessed to have you with us at our home. I enjoy all the stories, the laughter, and even the time we spend on the everyday things. My family has gained insight as they hear about your growing up years and realize how much life has changed since then. I am still learning things about my faith, and I thank you for that. I am really so fortunate to have that time with you! I love you so very much, Mother! Your 90th birthday birthday is truly a milestone. I know that God has been watching over you – may he bless you and us with many more years to come! Love, Charlene
75: Dear Mother, I have many fond memories of sharing Christmas with you when our children were growing up. You were a big part of their life and were always setting an example of the real meaning of Christmas and teaching the values of giving and sharing. Our children greatly benefited from spending time with you on those special occasions and both I and all of them will always remember them warmly. And we all really enjoyed the friendship, the family, and sharing good meals. My best wishes on your birthday – may you have many more (and lots more Christmas celebrations). Love, Roger | HAPPY 90TH BIRTHDAY!! | Celebrating Christmas on Battersea Lane with Grandma, Peter, Alicia, and Craig. | Christmas in Baltimore with Andrew and Grandma. Grandma sure looks good in red!
76: Dear Mother, This picture sums up one of the most precious gifts you gave me - the conviction that every child should be loved and treasured, unconditionally. Alicia was not even two years old then...but so willing to hold Craig. Just as you taught me, you proceeded to teach her...how to support the baby’s head, how to hold him, but not too tightly, and the magic of gentle sounds. Most of all, you showed how important it is to love each baby as he or she is. Those lessons of welcoming a child and loving each child were two of my major life lessons. I have carried those into my adult life, learning to add balance as I go. My passion for parenting and sharing it with others came from your passion for children and meeting their needs. Thank you for planting that seed, for living it as best you could, and for continuing to pass on the message to my four children. They in turn, are living and sharing this focus and reverence for life in their lives. It is beautiful to witness in action. You have given us so many gifts of insight and love. This one is one of the most far-reaching and profound. Thank you. With deep love and respect, Ann Marie | Thank you for the lesson on loving unconditionally .....
77: To Mother on her 90th Birthday, It’s very difficult to put into words what you have meant to us over the years. You have been a constant in our lives and a great example for me especially in our faith. You have not only taught me many things about being a Catholic but have also been a wonderful example of how to live the faith as well. Your example had a big influence on my decision to convert and I thank you for that. We could never repay the many prayers you have said and the assistance you have provided over the years; you are truly well connected in heaven! The constant support and assistance which you and Dad provided over the years have helped our family in so many ways. Your help enabled our family to create a home and your advice encouraged us to do things that otherwise we would not have done. Your generosity has always been greatly appreciated, but the gift we treasure the most is the gift of your time spent with us and our children. Nothing can ever compare to the memories that we have of you with our family. You have truly enriched our lives and we thank you. On this momentous occasion we hope to make many more! With much love and many blessings, Gary
78: The little things are the things worth while The word of praise, the pleasant smile, The helpful thought the handclasp true, The kind of things you always do. Just the little things that help along And fill one's life with joy and song. | Frank R. Hall regarded his wife, Eugena Kelly Hall, with love and admiration. He also had a deep appreciation of the many things she did on a daily basis to make their marriage a very special one indeed. This poem was given to "Gene", as she was called by family and friends, from Frank Hall as a Christmas gift. Their daughter, Margaret, embraced these same qualities and passed them on to their own children through her words and the way she lives her life. Mother and daughter set a wonderful example. Happy 90th Birthday, Mother, from your Mother and Dad Hall. They are surely celebrating with you! With all my love, Your daughter, Marcia | JUST THE LITTLE THINGS
80: Dearest Mother, Reflecting back over the years of my life, I am touched by happy memories of you -- Your gentleness and patience as you cared for every baby that God sent you. Your caring and loving hands that took care of each and every need of ours and continued to care for the needs of our children. Your tender Mother's heart that listened with understanding and wisdom to all of our problems and rejoiced with us in our successes. The commitment you had to making the meaning of Christmas come alive and special occasions so memorable. Your warm, cheerful smile, big hug and extra special dinners that welcomed us home whenever we had been away. The steady way you encouraged and guided us in our faith by your example of prayer and self sacrifice. The good night kiss and planting the sign of the cross on our foreheads as you blest us. All along sowing seeds that would allow us to lead our lives as good strong Christians. Because of the happiness of my childhood, I wanted a large family. You made it seem so easy. It wasn't until I became a mother myself, however, that I realized the extent of your hard work and sacrifice. You've been such a wonderful example for me. I am grateful for all the times that you and Dad welcomed me home, with all my children, to stay however long we needed to. For all the help you provided over the years, as you left your home to come and welcome a new baby or help us in our time of need. Perhaps most of all I cherish the trip to Birmingham and the closeness of God and family that we all experienced. I will never forget the memories you both created for our family. I want you to know that it is my joy to care for you. The time is precious -- a time to learn from you about family, love and faith. I so enjoy your reminiscences and stories of times past. It allows me, for a short time, to be a part of it. Your laughter and happiness I carry with me. You inspire me with what you hold most dear, love of the Lord and love for family. I continue to constantly learn from you. I am grateful for your example and count myself lucky and blest to have you as my mother. May you have a truly wonderful 90th birthday, Mother, and I pray that God blesses us with many more occasions to celebrate your life. I love you so much. Melanie
81: Dear Mother, You have no idea how you and Dad impacted my life...well, first of all you did give birth to me, but more importantly you raised me....that was the more difficult part. Often in the course of my life, I consider the myriad of memories with you and Dad and our family, that have helped form me as a person. Pictures taken in 2010 in Florida with Zack, Ashley and Brett serve as analogies as I reflect back on my life. You were like a Mother duck shepherding her ducklings from the safety of terra firma to to test the sometime suspecting waterways of life....often you were alone. I, as one in many, was scared of the ability to float not to mention the fear of possibly being swept away in turbulent waters. We watched you and our fear lessened. You held your own, proudly, courageously, patiently, cautious, yet confident in the course you were taking and the guidance you were giving. Sometime we got caught in a current that caused us to drift away from the shelter of the fold....you and Dad were there to guide us back to safety. Of course, in due time we learned to navigate on our own, but our skills were founded and honed on the excellent instruction we received. When we were afraid to ride the roller coasters of life you sat down right beside us, buckled us in and held our hand. Initially, we were filled with trepidation, our heart beating fast and furious as we experienced life's travails. You and Dad were next to us...our voices commingling into loud outbursts, silent grimaces and giddy cheering....as we shared the spirals, dips and nauseating upside down loops that no one thought we would survive. But we did. We came through - sometimes exhausted, sometimes exhilarated, sometimes woozy, sometimes laughing and sometimes crying at the experience shared. Memories were made and lessons learned. We became closer through it all..respecting and understanding one another a little better. Looking back, only you truly know if the ride I shared with you was a "bigger", "better" or "worse" ride than others. Regardless, I do know that the courage and enthusiasm you and Dad exhibited during my "life ride" was ever constant, even when you did not like the ride or did not want to be on it. For that I can never adequately express my appreciation. This last picture, taken while driving to Disney world with the kids in 2010 was written in the air by a plane with a bright blue, heavenly sky as background. In large letters it symbolizes the monumental impact your own faith has had on my life. Appropriately simplifying the sum of it all by "LOVE GOD." These words are the same that you have spoken time and time again. The true reason for life. The true purpose of life. For me, you are the manifestation of His love for me. And I thank Him daily for the gift of you and Dad. I love you Mother. Happy 90th with more to come! Renee
82: Dear Mother, While I’ve only known you for 32 of your 90 glorious years, that’s 31 more than I needed to appreciate what a treasure you are to us all! Knowing you and having you in our family life, rests at the top of my greatest blessings. While courting Melanie, I was fortunate to take part in your family life, as “Sundays with the Samuels” became a routine. We would go to 5:30 Mass at St. Louis and then come home to one of your fabulous Sunday meals. Who says the way to a man’s heart isn’t through his stomach! Then 14 years later I again enjoyed your Sunday suppers, when I returned to the DC area for four months of attaché training, leaving Melanie and six children across the ocean. I’m still paying for that, but the hearty food and good company was more than worth it. Other special memories include the cook-out you hosted for the Lovejoy family two days before Melanie’s and my wedding. It was simply perfect, from the weather to the way that you and my mother bonded. Having so much in common, I don’t think you had to speak a word to share what you were both feeling. Then came your visit to Monterey after John’s birth. What a gift to have you there to help dispel all the utter ignorance of early parenthood. And I got to eat something besides “Four Winds Casserole” for a change! After that came memorable – if too few – visits as the Army moved us to Munich and West Point and places in between. It was so nice to be able to host you and Dad, after all you’d done for us. And the kids reveled in having Grandma and Grandpa visit. After 16 years apart, we returned to Virginia and have been blessed with 16 years of proximity. This last period provided the hands-down best memory, Mother, and showed the true depth of your faith and DETERMINATION. I’m referring, of course, to the Samuel family pilgrimage to Alabama to share in Our Lady’s apparition to Maria. Your will helped bring us all closer to our Lord through deeper devotion to His Mother – and in the process left us with a life-long experience to cherish and wonderful memories of the Samuel family together. If the Lord truly never gives us more than we can handle, then He certainly armed you to the teeth with graces! How many people come anywhere near such a full life as yours? How many can look back over so much joy, challenge, sorrow and accomplishment? How many can say that faith, love and laughter truly epitomizes their lives? We all want to, Mother, and your example gives us hope. On this joyous day I’m sure the angels are singing your praises, as do I and all your dear family. Happy 90th Birthday, Mother, and heartfelt wishes for many, many more. With all my love, John
83: FOR A WONDERFUL Mother ON HER SPECIAL DAY As children, we can’t comprehend or fully realize The meaning of our mother’s love, How tender and how wise, Her patience and her guidance, Her helpful, caring ways, The special, thoughtful things she does To brighten up the days Years go by, before we know The depth of her concern, The love in her protectiveness – It takes so long to learn. But as we grow, we understand, For we look back and see, Through older eyes and wiser hearts, Her love and loyalty. It’s these and many other things That make her grow more dear, More admired and more appreciated With every passing year. With warmest wishes, Special thoughts, And loving pride – Because it’s your birthday, Mother, And because you’re you.
84: Your Legacy
90: Enduring | Sisterhood
93: Brotherly Love
94: The Everlasting Love | Robert | of | and | Margaret