Russell Ormanzo Sampson, 91

Published 9:57 am Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Russell Ormanzo Sampson, 91, of St. Ansgar, Iowa, passed away peacefully at Mayo Clinic Hospital-Rochester, Saint Marys Campus, after a good night’s sleep on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015. He was a sweet man who will be deeply missed by his family and friends.

Russell Ormanzo Sampson, 91

Russell Ormanzo Sampson, 91

Russell was born Sept. 15, 1924, to Oscar and Rena (Nelson) Sampson. He was baptized and confirmed at Six Mile Grove Lutheran Church and served on the Cemetery Board for several years. He graduated from Lyle High School in 1943, and was a leader in his community, particularly with 4-H. On Sept. 14, 1947, he married Gladys Marie Marcusson, whom he loved tenderly and truly, their friendship and partnership an inspiration to his children and grandchildren. They enjoyed 68 years of marriage.

Russell was a life-long farmer, who navigated many changes with great success. He was known as a hard worker with the “strength of three men” by his grandchildren. Like a sturdy old tractor, he chugged right along. And yet, one of his last pieces of advice to his grandson was “try not to work so hard.” Russell was wise, gracious, accepting and deeply admired. A quote on the wall of Russell’s home reads, “The love of a family is life’s greatest blessing.” Russell made a life of enjoying his blessings, sharing his love of fishing, farming and baseball — especially the Minnesota Twins — with his family. He spent many of his years farming alongside his wife, sons and grandsons.

Email newsletter signup

Russell also enjoyed attending sports and art events for his children and grandchildren. Russell had a twinkle in his eye, and a strong sense of adventure. He and Gladys toured the United States while delivering Winnebago Motor Homes. He also enjoyed vacationing with his family. Very young at heart, Russell loved telling stories about his youth, and encouraged his family to go out and see the world.  As the only son of an only son, Russell and Gladys created a legacy of three children, eight grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren, and three great-great-grandchildren. He and Gladys lived on the same farm near Lyle, Minnesota, their entire life; their children each raising families on farms only a few miles away. Family gatherings were frequent events with enough food to feed an army, and plenty of happy children with bellies to fill. Children were celebrated by Russell for their “pep.” Grandpa Russell was generous with his Oreos, as well as his time, and love and pride in his family.

Russell is survived by his wife Gladys Sampson of St. Ansgar, Iowa; his children: Gerald “Jerry” (Diane) Sampson, Lyle, Minnesota, Jim (Pamela) Sampson, Lyle, Minnesota, Debra (Timm) Ehret, Rose Creek, Minnesota; grandchildren: Michele Douglas (Mike Bruggeman) and Steven (Nicole) Sampson, St. Ansgar, Iowa, Jeremy (Annie) Sampson, Melbourne, Australia, Brandon (Heather) Sampson, Pine Island, Minnesota, Brian (Tatiana) Sampson, Edina, Minnesota, Kelsey (Jarrett) Korfhage, Austin, Minnesota, Nick (Jessica) Ehret, Savage, Minnesota, and Jake Ehret, Albert Lea, Minnesota; great-grandchildren: Chase (Heather) Douglas, Lyle, Minnesota, Schyler (Michael) Hutchinson, Austin, Minnesota, Benjamin Sampson, Melbourne, Australia, Ty, Brody and Cooper Sampson, St. Ansgar, Iowa, Max, Milo and Pearl Sampson, Pine Island, Minnesota, Harper, Avery and Finnegan Sampson, Edina, Minnesota, Banning, Bo and Dempsey Korfhage, Austin, Minnesota; great-great grandchildren: Sarah and Baley Douglas, Lyle, Minnesota, Liam Hutchinson, Austin Minnesota; his sisters: Mildred (Keith) Westling, Osage, Iowa, and Marilyn Rockafellow, St. Ansgar, Iowa; many nieces, nephews; other relatives and friends.

Russell is preceded in death by his parents Oscar and Rena Sampson; sisters: Enid Patterson and Cleo Weness; brothers-in-law: Kenneth Weness, Dean Rockafellow and Donald Patterson.

Although Russell will be deeply missed, his family continues their beloved patriarch’s legacy, celebrating the joy of family with a mischievous twinkle in their eyes, and adventure on the horizon.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 2, 2015, at Six Mile Grove Lutheran Church in Lyle, Minnesota, with the Rev. Scott Meyer officiating. Visitation will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, at Worlein Funeral Home in Austin. Interment will be in Six Mile Grove Cemetery. Worlein Funeral Home of Austin is assisting the family with arrangements. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at