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Life Story / Obituary
Ken Sampsell was a people person who lived life on his own terms. He was outgoing and humorous, likeable and entertaining. He was genuine and artistic, told a good story and recited poetry. He made friends easily and, having a sharp memory, he kept them. Everywhere he went it seemed that Ken met someone he knew. He dreamed big and stepped out boldly, sharing the advice he lived by: “Have confidence in yourself; stand up for yourself.”
Ken was born January 23, 1948 at a time of optimism when America was recovering from WWII. Growth in industry and jobs gave workers the opportunity to build homes and start families that launched the baby boom era. Ken was the youngest of Warren and Dorothy (McMahon) Sampsell’s three sons growing up on Bankson Lake, which explains his lifelong love of water.
As a farm boy, Ken learned the value of hard work by tending the vineyard and applying many lessons that would serve him well throughout his life. As an active child, he liked midget car racing and began playing drums at age 12. At age 13, he was paid to perform in a band, which was incentive enough to keep alive his interest in rock ‘n roll. He also played football at Lawton High School and graduated with multiple dreams of success.
The combination of lake living and his fascination with motors made Ken the owner of a Lawton boat store business in his 20s. By 1973, he was working as a car dealer in Muskegon and happened to sell Debra Farquist her first car. The two dated for six months, but Ken had dreams of going to California to be an actor. The move west proved sound when he actually landed a few spots on TV shows. To supplement his aspirations, he worked a variety of jobs over those years, including real estate. Then he was off to New York, where he again met a lot of celebrities and found work selling high end hide-a-beds. But when his father died, Ken moved back to Michigan to care for his mother, and the acting dream was put to rest.
Eventually, Ken reconnected with Debra Farquist through Facebook. She was living in Alabama at the time but moved back to Michigan to be with Ken. By then, he had divorced the mother of his daughter Tori when she was quite young, but he remained very supportive of her. As a loving father, Ken pushed his daughter to dream big!
Ken and Debra married August 6, 2010 and honeymooned in Europe. Ken was a knowledgeable travel guide since he had been all over the world and was always eager to learn more. At home, the two of them shared an interest in old movies that played on TCM, but admittedly, Ken zeroed in on the cinematography and technical parts of production. Together they followed Tiger baseball, delighted in favorite foods, watched birds and enjoyed mesmerizing sunsets. Such was the life of an adventurous man who ultimately liked nothing better than the solitude of lake life and the literature of Mark Twain.
Still playing drums and singing into adulthood, Ken also took on “speaking” roles. He was MC for the local Lawton beauty pageant and had become a licensed auctioneer through the state of Indiana. However the latter was not simply a hobby, it was a passion for Ken as he taught people about the art of auctioneering. Always discovering new points of interest and more people to meet, Ken truly enjoyed life and lived it to the fullest.
Ken Sampsell, age 67 of Lawton, Michigan died suddenly on Wednesday July 15, 2015 at his residence.
Learn more about Ken and visit with his family and friends on Monday from 6-8 PM at the Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler-Thompson, 60900 M-40, Paw Paw, MI (269-657-3870). Funeral services will be held at 11 AM on Tuesday, July 21, at the same location.
Members of his family include his wife Debra, a daughter Tori Lynn Sampsell 3 grandchildren: Mitchell, Kyle and Kaycie Barron and 9 step grandchildren: Other members of his family include his 2 brothers: Ronald (Carolyn) Sampsell and Gary (Barbara) Sampsell, 4 stepchildren: Clint (Sarah) Randles, Colt (Jami) Randles, Britt (Geoff) Nolan, Zach (Ryanne) Jones and several other nieces and nephews.
Please visit Ken’s personal memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of your choice.