Cover photo for Jerry Samels's Obituary
1947 Jerry 2020

Jerry Samels

July 5, 1947 — June 2, 2020

A live streamed memorial service has been recorded and can be viewed if you have registered for the live streaming by clicking  the following link. You can also view the service at the bottom of the obituary page.

Sadly last year on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 at the age of 72 years, Jerry passed away with family by his side at the Portage General Hospital.   He is predeceased by his parents John and Mary Samels (nee Lazarko), parents-in-law Mike and Edith Olynyk and extended family members.

He is survived by his loving family, wife Judy, son Chris, daughter Angie (Bob Zwaga) and one grandson Randy Zwaga (Tanisha), brother Bill (Lorry), brother-in-law Bob Olynyk, special nieces, nephews, close cousins and friends.

Jerry was born July 5, 1947 in Portage la Prairie and lived most of his life here except for 5 years when the family moved to Lakeland, MB after his father was transferred with the railroad.  Jerry always enjoyed sharing the fact that the family had lived in a caboose for three months while their house was being readied to move into, Jerry said it was great fun sleeping and playing in there with brother Bill although space was limited.  When Jerry was 5 years old he was chosen by Portage’s Mayor Henderson to present our 18th 1st Canadian born Governor General, Vincent Massey with a gift when he visited Portage.  Jerry kept this framed black and white photo he had received as a souvenir of that day and referred back to it occasionally throughout his life.

Jerry had many pleasant memories of Lakeland and all the people he had met from the one room school he attended from grade 1 -5, to the friendships the family made in this close knit community.  Riding bikes on gravel roads and trying to keep up with brother Bill to walking to school many days in the winter could be challenging.  Grades 6 – 12 found Jerry and the family back in Portage and to their home on 1st Street NW.  During this time he met his life partner Judy and they were married on Sept. 21, 1968 after a 4 year courtship and shared almost 52 years of marriage.  A son Chris was born in 1971 and a daughter Angie in 1973.  Jerry graduated as a psychiatric nurse in 1969 after completing a 3 year program and had a fulfilling career although it was cut shorter than he would have liked due to his illness.

Jerry loved decorating the outside of our house at Christmas time and usually waited until one of the coldest days to start.  More decorations were added every year until fuses were popping, lights and appliances were going out in the house.  Readjustments to cords to different outlets were made until Jerry got it just right.  Menards in Grand Forks loved when Jerry visited.

Jerry served on many committees and boards throughout his life as he believed that rather than complaining about how things are run we should get involved and make a difference.  Two of the many that he served on stand out.  Jerry thoroughly enjoyed his time spent as investigative chairman for the RPN’s Association of MB.  He learned a lot during his time in this position and was happy to offer his services.  Jerry’s last committee was literally close and dear to his heart, serving as one of the volunteer board of directors for the ICD (Internal Cardiac Device) Support Group of MB was very rewarding and informative to both of us.  Questions were asked, answers were given and support was available to the ICD recipient and family.  Suggestions were referred for future presentations by this very worthy organization that Jerry was very proud to be affiliated with.

Jerry always took pride in caring for his house and yard.  One year I asked him to build two flower beds in front of the house.  The agreement was he would build and I would fill them with top soil, plant flowers and maintain them.  We hadn’t discussed the size which came as a surprise to me when I got home from work and found out it took 5 yards of soil to fill them, 18 dozen flowers for the largest one and 11 dozen to fill the second one.  After that I always made sure to clarify my requests.

A family man at heart, Jerry enjoyed many social gatherings in our home and made wonderful memories for us to cherish.  Jerry was a great husband, father, grandpa and brother, he could always be counted on whenever we needed him.  He overcame many health obstacles during his illness and preferred not to dwell on things he couldn’t change.  Jerry’s humor was always present and his will to live never wavered.  He is missed and loved every step we take now and in the future, but we are thankful to have had him in our lives.

Memories in the Heart

Feel no guilt in laughter, he knows how much you care

Feel no sorrow in a smile that he’s not here to share

You cannot grieve forever, he would not want you to

He’d hope that you can carry on, the way you always do

So talk about the good times and the ways you showed you cared

The days you spent together, all the happiness you shared

Let memories surround you. A word someone may say

Will suddenly recapture a time, an hour, a day

That brings him back as clearly as though he were still here

And fills you with the feelings that he is always near

For if you keep these moments, you will never be apart

And he will live forever locked safe within your heart

A memorial service will take place on Saturday, April 10, 2021 at 1:30 pm and a recording of the service can be viewed at the bottom of this page or by clicking the following link if you have registered for live streaming https://

Flowers are gratefully declined.

A tree will be planted and cared for by McKenzies Portage Funeral Chapel. 204-857-4021

Funeral Service

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Jerry Samels, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Live Streaming of Service

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Starts at 1:30 pm (Central time)

McKenzies Portage Funeral Chapel


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