John Samuelson has left a lasting mark
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. If you’re ever up for a good conversation, especially when the topics are sports and Glenwood Springs historical lore, John Samuelson is the guy to look up.He’ll even use golf vernacular to describe the location of his birthplace in St. Louis Park – a suburb of Minneapolis.”Just about a 5-iron from the Mississippi River,” he says.To those who know him, it’s not at all surprising that Samuelson would mesh the game of golf with his entry into the world in 1915. It’s been a passion of his since he started caddying when he was 9 years old at the Minikahda Golf Club in his hometown.”The caddies got to play every Monday and Friday morning until 9 a.m.,” said Samuelson. “Then we had to start working. So we got there at the crack of dawn to get in as much golfing as possible.”
In the ensuing years of his youth, Samuelson continued to play the game as often as possible. He played on the golf team and ran track at St. Louis Park High School up until his graduation in 1933. Samuelson was the salutatorian and head boy of his class that year, and still remembers with a bit of anguish the girl who edged him out for valedictorian honors.”A bookworm named Gunhild Lindquist was the valedictorian,” he said. “She stole the show.”Following graduation, Samuelson was off to pursue a business degree at the University of Minnesota. He says at that time he was, “Just taking things day by day,” still a bit unsure as to what the future would hold in terms of a career.The ever sports-minded Samuelson is quick to point out that during his three years at Minnesota, “Coach Bernie Bierman’s football team never lost a game, and they were national champions one of those years.”An unexpected change in direction – and location – was in store for Samuelson though.His father, John Emanuel Samuelson, who had spent a lifetime in the printing business, had just purchased the Glenwood Post newspaper in 1936. Young John decided to follow the family out west, and after a brief career in the army, decided to enroll in the school of journalism at the University of Colorado.
With a smile and a knowing glance, Samuelson said, “I went into journalism school because I figured I would have a job after college. My folks would have to hire me, and they did.”Little did Samuelson know at the time, the newspaper business would not only provide a job, but as fate would have it, introduce him to a lovely young lady named Angie Gamba, who he would end up spending the next 54 years of his life with.”Angie drove her dad and mother out here from California. They were looking for a new place to settle and came by the Glenwood Post wondering if we knew of any houses in the area to buy or rent,” Samuelson fondly remembers. “She was a nurse in the navy and ended up getting hired here by Dr. Nutting. He delivered all five of our children.”With his love of the newspaper business now apparent, and the family firmly settled in Glenwood, Samuelson purchased the Glenwood Post in 1966 and would be owner and managing editor until 1970, when the Stauffer Publishing Company from Topeka, Kansas expressed interest in the paper.Though Samuelson wasn’t really looking to sell the business at the time, he felt the proposed deal was too good to pass up.
“They agreed to buy the paper and rent the building from us,” said Samuelson. “They also agreed to hire Angie and myself. It was a good opportunity.”Locals would agree that John & Angie were the heart and soul of the Glenwood Post until their retirement from the business in 1982. John can still recall the early year battles with Glenwood’s other newspaper, the Sage Reminder.”When the Sage first started publishing, they said they were going to put us out of business,” said Samuelson. “Guess we showed ’em.”He also remembers proudly Glenwood Post donations which helped Valley View Hospital, Ski Sunlight, Colorado Mountain College, and the Glenwood Golf Course get up and running.”We donated the entire front page of the paper to let the college advertise for people to vote in the upcoming election,” Samuelson said of the CMC initiative ballot. “I served on the college committee and we won the vote to create the college in every county.”
John lost Angie in October of 2002, but says he feels fortunate that all of their children (Christine, Lauraine, David, Paul, and Glenn) still live nearby. He no doubt enjoys the occasional visits from the grandchildren also.And yes, golf, and sports in general are still a big part of John’s daily life.He still plays nine holes up on “The Hill” every now and again with his buddies Mo Barz and Stan Dodson, though not shooting to the 8-handicap he held in his younger years.He will also give insights and opinions on the Broncos season, the surge of the Rockies, and if the Nuggets will ever get over the hump. His alma mater, the CU Buffaloes are the team he keeps the closest eye on though. And even at age 92, his competitiveness shines through when asked for a prediction on the annual football clash with rival Colorado State.He smiles and leans forward and gives an incredulous look before stating, “Not those guys from up north.
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