Wilma Jean (Smith) Samsel passed away peacefully with family at her bedside on May 10, 2022, in Scottsdale, Arizona. Jean, as she was known to friends and family, was born on October 13, 1926, to Paul and Virgina Smith who ranched in Spotted Horse, Wyoming. She spent her early life living and working on the ranch in rural northeast Wyoming. After graduating from Campbell County High School in Gillette, Wyoming, Jean moved to Powell, Wyoming after the end of World War II. While in Powell she met and married the love of her life, Charles William (Bob) Samsel. They were married in Powell on July 27th of 1947. Jean and Bob had three children; Dennis, Jeri, and Kent. After living and working in Powell for many years, Jean and Bob moved to Arizona where they owned their own gift store in Old Town Scottsdale. Later, Jean pursued her love of fashion working in clothing stores, as a makeup specialist, and creating and selling her own designer jewelry. Jean also modeled extensively in the area and appeared in a variety of print and other media campaigns.
Jean and Bob’s real passion was travel and they spent extensive time seeing the world with trips all across the United States and many trips overseas to Africa, China, Japan, Egypt, India, South America, Italy, England, Spain, France, Canada and embarked on many cruises. In the early 1980s, Jean and Bob first traveled to the beaches of Puerto Penasco, Mexico where they decided to make a home. They built their first home in Mexico right on the beach of the Sea of Cortez, which they named Poco-a-Poco (little, by little) as it took them some time to purchase, design, and construct their home. Later they added on and remodeled the house many times so that it became an inviting gathering place for friends and family alike. It was on the beaches of Mexico and on her spectacular balcony watching a sunset that Jean felt most at home and at peace.
Jean loved her entire family and all of her dear and lifelong friends. Jean is survived by her daughter Jeri Jean Mathes, her five grandchildren (Wendy, Kristopher, George, Robert, and Sean), eight great grandchildren (Kizer, Abigail, Zachery, Madelyn, Ashlyn, Mia, Jaisely, and Derek) and numerous nieces and nephews. Jean is preceded in death by Bob, her loving husband of 66 years, her brother Clifford, her sister Maxine, her son Dennis Neil Samsel and his wife Lannette Samsel, and her son Robert Kent Samsel. Her family will greatly miss Grandma Jean (or Gigi) as she was known to all the grandkids and great-grandchildren. A celebration of life will be held at her beloved home in Mexico at a future date.
In lieu of flowers or other memorials, please consider a contribution in the name of Jean Samsel to Esperanca, a benevolent organization helping to fund education for disadvantaged youth in Mexico and Arizona. Please designate your contribution to go to children in Puerto Penasco, Mexico, the community she loved and supported so much. Their website can be found at esperanca.org