Aug. 15, 1930 - Nov. 3, 2019
A product of West Fargo, North Dakota, Dr. Erwin Lewellyn Samuelson attended Moorhead State Teachers College, North Dakota State University and the University of North Dakota, supporting his studies by working as a plumber and playing the saxophone in dance bands. He graduated from Temple University Medical School (1956) where he met fellow medical student and the love of his life, Alberta Woodworth. Following their marriage in 1957, they moved to California where he served in the United States Navy Medical Corps, ultimately being discharged with the rank of Lieutenant. Erv established his medical practice in Redondo Beach in the early 1960s, caring for people and families as a general practitioner and focusing on Aviation medicine toward the end of his career; he retired in 2013 due to his deteriorating health. Erv cared deeply for others and was a gifted healer; patients routinely reported that, “Dr. Sam always took the time with me.”
In 1966, Erv and Alberta settled into the new community of Palos Verdes, building the house where they would raise their five children and become active in civic, cultural and social activities. Ever the gregarious socializers, Erv and Alberta never said “no” to hosting a party and their home has been a frequent venue for gatherings as varied as West Fargo reunions, weddings, Rotary Club band practice, Gordon Bennett Balloon Race parties, Chamber Orchestra receptions, Norris Theater “Bravo” Parties and political events, not to mention the many orphaned dogs, foreign exchange students, kids’ buddies, visiting friends, friends-of-friends (and sometimes complete strangers) who were always welcome to stay at the Samuelson household. Erv’s hosting skills included roasting whole pigs, curing 17 pounds of gravlax and making sangria by the barrel.
Of Erv’s broad-ranging civic activities, it was Rotary Club that was (literally) closest to his heart: he never left the house without a Rotary pin on his lapel. He sponsored more than 80 new members, helped found the Palos Verdes Sunset Rotary club, hosted exchange students and earned “perfect attendance” awards.
Erv was generous, quick with a smile, impossibly warm and friendly, and always staying in touch and connecting people. He was in his happiest place when he invited people - be they friends, visitors, or a neighbor who happened to be walking by - in to his home to enjoy the view with a glass of wine. Erv’s upbringing in North Dakota gave him a special appreciation for the Southern California climate, inspiring his love of convertibles and wearing short-sleeves year-round. In the Spring, he would plant hundreds of bulbs of daffodils and tulips which he ordered from Holland. His natural ability with people translated into his role as the de facto photographer at hundreds of social events, often prompting people to ask Alberta if she was “with the photographer?” Erv loved architecture, art and traveling with his family, once even taking all five children in an RV for a month-long tour through Europe.
He is predeceased by his parents, Ernest Ludwig and Mattea Hexom Samuelson, his sister Margaret Martenson; and his oldest daughter Karen Samuelson Perkins. He is survived by his loving wife of 62 years, Dr. Alberta Woodworth Samuelson, and his four children and seven grandchildren: Karen’s children Daniel and Clarice of Auburn, CA; Margery (Don) Beierschmitt of Redondo Beach, CA; Eric (Lisa) Samuelson and Andrew of Alexandria, VA; Lisa Claire (Perry), Christine and John Vermillion of Marble Falls, TX; and Anne (John), Declan and Finn Williams of Hermosa Beach, CA, as well as his many nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to The Rotary Foundation or Palos Verdes Performing Arts are appreciated.