Gilbert Claude Sampson, 96, was born in Klickitat County, Washington into a family of pioneers. Gilbert worked his way through high school delivering milk and making cheese at a creamery. During the summer, he worked for the state forestry manning a lookout station and fighting fires.
He was drafted into the U.S Army shortly after turning 18 and entered the war with General Patton’s 3rd Armored Division and made his way from France to Czechoslovakia in an anti-aircraft half track unit.
After the war ended, he re-enlisted and returned to Fort Monmouth, New Jersey for radio teletype training and then on to Clark Field in the Philippines where his wife and daughter joined him. He finished his enlistment there and returned to the U.S. to join civilian life.
After his son was born while Gilbert was working as a logger in Washington state, the family moved to Portland where he worked for RCA installing TV antennas. He decided that climbing tall buildings wasn’t his thing and relocated to Brookings to manage the Curry county forestry office. While there he became an Elk and helped build a new lodge. From Brookings, he and his wife moved to Arcata, California to live among the Redwoods and work for Sears repairing small engines for 17 years.
After retiring from Sears, he and his wife moved to Creswell to be closer to family and the Ducks. He continued to do occasional small engine repair and they became involved in rebuilding the bell tower and interior of the museum. Gilbert was a talented woodworker and he stated that the best days of his life were spent building various things out in his workshop. Many of the items were painted by his wife and then sold at the Past 45 store in Cottage Grove where the couple worked for several years.
Gilbert eventually became wheelchair bound and was cared for by his daughter. He spent his time observing what was going on around town and watching various sports on TV and later enjoyed his visits with VA appointed care givers who came to help three days per week.
Gilbert is survived by his wife, Velma, of nearly 77 years; two children; two grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; a niece; and four nephews.
There will be a service at the Willamette National Cemetery when conditions permit.