It has been a rough week for the family, friends, and anyone who listened to Jamie Samuelsen talk about Detroit Sports for the past 25 years as he passed away on Saturday following a long battle with colon cancer.
Since his death, Samuelsen’s co-workers, including his close friend Bob Wojnowski of 97.1 the ticket, have joined thousands of listeners as they have all remembered Jamie for being a great father and husband, and a great person overall.
On Friday, Jamie’s wife Christy McDonald announced on Twitter that a memorial has been set for Tuesday, August 11th at 11 a.m. ET. Christy noted that the event will be small and private but that we can all join them via a live stream.
Christy added that sometime in the future, she will hold a “big public celebration and raise many gimlets in his name.”
Jamie's memorial is set for Tues August 11th at 11am. Because of COVID it will be small & private, but join us by livestream… https://t.co/0YJiO7xWCc In the future, we'll have a big public celebration and raise many gimlets in his name. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/u9bkjyzVia
— Christy McDonald (@ChristyTV) August 7, 2020
(2/2) We have heard of so many people getting colonoscopies..👏 If you are so moved, consider donating to the colon cancer research orgs listed on Jamie's memorial page. https://t.co/lacWxDIa8f
Hold you family tight. Enjoy the sun. Tell a joke. Thank you for loving us. #jamie
— Christy McDonald (@ChristyTV) August 7, 2020
Here is Jamie’s full obituary, which is posted on Desmondfuneralhome.com:
James K. Samuelsen, 48, of Troy, Michigan, died on August 1, 2020.
Jamie was the husband of Christy McDonald, and devoted father to Caroline (16), Josh (14) and Catherine (11). Son of Roger and Jeane Samuelsen; brother of Robert McBurney (Courtney) and Thea Kano (Doug); uncle to nine nieces and nephews.
As a local sports radio personality, Jamie was known for his deep voice, ready laugh, and sharp but understated sense of humor.
Samuelsen spent more than a quarter-century in Detroit’s sports-media scene, and it was a career that spanned all the mediums — radio, television and print. It was radio, though, for which he was most known, working since 2016 alongside Michael Stone on 97.1’s morning drive show, after previously co-hosting a weekday night show with Detroit News columnist Bob Wojnowski. He joined 97.1 in 2012.
In an industry that can be full of ego, Jamie is remembered for his sincerity, his genuine nature and authenticity.
“Jamie always wanted to report the story, never be the story. Jamie’s civility and integrity was always present,” says Jeff Blashill, head coach for the Detroit Redwings. “We need more of that today.”
His dear friend and colleague, Bob “Wojo” Wojnowski, remembers Jamie as “all goodness and kindness, the sharpest wit and the greatest laugh. He did radio for 25 years in Detroit, and he kept adding friends along the way, as he built a fantastic reputation. He was authentic, a joy to know.”
His fans say “Jamie showed that you could be both smart and sarcastic without being condescending…” “I will miss his presence on the radio for his knowledge of sports, but his devotion to family and friends is a standard unparalleled…” “I remember seeing him rush through a mall early one morning just to beat the crowds only to buy tickets to see Santa. I thought then and now…What a great Dad.”
Jamie grew up in Lafayette, California, and had a flair for interviews and performance from an early age. He was a sports nut from birth in a family of sports fans (the grandson of sports writer Rube Samuelsen). Jamie attended Giants and Cal games regularly with his parents, who noticed he was silently mouthing play by play even as a little boy. At 7, he invited Beverley Cleary, Mr Rogers and Willy McCovey to his birthday party (sadly they couldn’t make it). Video footage shows Jamie in a feather boa and top hat performing magic tricks with brother Bob. Even as a little boy, he always had that distinctive, resonant voice that would become his trademark. (That, and the hair.)
Of his many roles, his favorite was husband and father. He adored being with his wife, Christy, also a local media personality and anchor of PBS’s One Detroit. The two were a fixture at many sports games and events, and especially loved donating their time and talents to local charity. They had intense admiration for each other and relished their time together as a couple, even if it meant trying to smash the other in a game of tennis. Fun meant gimlets on the patio and lazy beach walks, game nights, soft pants nights, lobster nights, watching Survivor and eating popcorn with the kids. The two argued for 20 years over who was the funniest, but never resolved that. (Jamie not-so-secretly believed he was the funnier one.)
Jamie was known to all as a loving, present, always interested and devoted dad. He was all in on family vacations, chucking footballs, boogie boarding, and they loved to spend time together up north. He never missed taking his kids to lunch on the first day of school, or bringing them along for a cameo on TV for Thanksgiving Lion’s game coverage. He was the dad at the dance recital, the basketball game, the flag practice, and always there for his children. They just couldn’t get enough of his time, love and laughter.
None of us could. He will be dearly missed.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Colorectal Cancer Alliance (ccalliance.org) or PALtown, the fundraising arm of Colontown, an amazing patient advocate group run by cancer survivors that was of great help to Jamie and Christy in battling this disease (paltown.org).
A private Funeral Mass will be held at Holy Name Catholic Church on August 11 at 11 am EST. It will be live-streamed for the public at: https://venue.streamspot.com/496e2c1e