Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

Robert C. Samels: Guestbook

Jeff Leinen

June 4, 2007

To the Samels Family-
Those of us who shared even a little time on this earth with Robert were enlightened by his passion, spirit, talent, height, big eyes, big voice, big laugh, big personality, and big heart. I buddied up with your son at the BGSU Huron Playhouse in the summer of 2000 and had the absolute best summer of my life. His quirky jokes and intellect were unmatched and nonstop. His stage time was always inspirational, and he continues to appear in my dreams and those of my wife. Both he and Chris were lights that even death cannot extinguish. Every time my wife or I wake after having a dream with Robert or Chris in it, we relive our memories of them. It is as if that is their way of making sure that we don't forget about them. And how could we? Nothing can really ease the pain that we all feel about the loss of Robert. That pain reminds us of how truly special he was. May he always make his presence to us known whether in dreams, music he composed, recordings, pictures, and other legacies he was so proud of.

We miss both of our BGSU friends and hope that everyone keeps their legacies alive in whatever way they can.

Jeff and Becky


June 2, 2007

You would be 26 years old today. I can't believe I've missed 2 birthdays with you. My heart crys out for you always. I am forever changed from loosing you. You had so much more life to live.

James B

May 9, 2007

I can't believe it has been so long. Just came by to look at the web site, and remember the good high school times. Will says some prayers....

Kelli Crawford

May 4, 2007

It's been over a year and my heart is still crying... I was so lucky to have known you. I am better because of it...

April 22, 2007

Our love is with Robert's family. We all miss him so much.

Eileen Bora

April 20, 2007

My thoughts are with you and our friends today Samels! I miss our jovial hellos in the halls of Indiana and was thinking about how many people you have touched. Hope you have formed an amazing choir where ever you may be and sing loudly, and with much joy. Miss you kiddo! My thoughts are with your family on this very difficult day, one year later.

April 20, 2007

Special thoughts, prayers, and love to Robert's family and many friends. We continue to celebrate his extraordinary talents and life of giving.... The heavens sound more glorious with his presence!
love and hugs
the glann family

Adam Cioffari

April 20, 2007

Dear Robert,

This last year has been so incredibly difficult for all of those who were blessed to know you. Personally, even now, I still cannot believe that you are no longer with us. The Jacobs SoM is simply not the same without you. So many times I find myself thinking, "What would Robert do/say if he were here right now?" Wherever you are, I am sure you heard the beautiful tributes at the church service today, and I know that you will be listening to the Faure tonight as well.

I keep your family constantly in my prayers, because I cannot imagine the loss they must feel. Mr. P. always talks about you with the deepest respect and admiration, and I share that same respect. I never got the chance to tell you in so many words, but you were, and still are, my hero and my idol, and I will never, ever forget your inspiration. Thank you for everything. You are missed so deeply by so many.


April 20, 2007

To An Athlete Dying Young

THE time you won your town the race
We chaired you through the market-place;
Man and boy stood cheering by,
And home we brought you shoulder-high.

To-day, the road all runners come, 5
Shoulder-high we bring you home,
And set you at your threshold down,
Townsman of a stiller town.

Smart lad, to slip betimes away
From fields where glory does not stay, 10
And early though the laurel grows
It withers quicker than the rose.

Eyes the shady night has shut
Cannot see the record cut,
And silence sounds no worse than cheers 15
After earth has stopped the ears:

Now you will not swell the rout
Of lads that wore their honours out,
Runners whom renown outran
And the name died before the man. 20

So set, before its echoes fade,
The fleet foot on the sill of shade,
And hold to the low lintel up
The still-defended challenge-cup.

And round that early-laurelled head 25
Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,
And find unwithered on its curls
The garland briefer than a girl's.

Katie Leemhuis

April 19, 2007

Dearest Robert,

Well, tomorrow will mark one year. You don't even know how many tears will be shed and how many prayers will be sent your way. You are and always will be missed... God bless you, and I hope you are still singing, my friend. (And, it's STILL unfair, to this day).

Love you,


April 18, 2007

I am thinking of you, Paula and Clayton, as this anniversary approaches, and wishing that some peace will come to you. As I watched the news of the West Virginia tragedy I thought of the grief of those newly bereaved parents, and realized that only those who, like you, have suffered such loss, could possibly understand. Please know that hundreds of us think of you this week. Robert touched us all.

Roger Henry

April 17, 2007

To the Samels Family.

To me, Robert was the person I was most likely to run into in the Music Annex. He was always walking purposefully to his next appointment or event, and I was always running. Into him, usually! It became our little game.

I was 12 years older than he, but I couldn't help but look up to Robert. Every time I turned around, he was into something else! Theory AI. Voice. Conducting. Next thing you know, he's writing an opera.
A typical meeting would start with me running into him in the annex, and he would smile down from a great height (I'm only 5'7"), and ask how I was. I'd tell him, and ask what new he was up to. He'd tell me in some detail, and I'd think, "But where does he find the time?! And why isn't he rushing around like I am?!"
I'd always walk away wishing I could be more like Robert Samels. Only shorter.

This dreadful anniversary is upon us: for me, things stand as they did that day. I still expect to run into Robert as I come around the curve of the Music Annex, and I still wish I could be more like him.


April 16, 2007

I hear people talking about their children finishing up at school and coming home for the summer. I hear them talking about their sons graduating and how proud they are. I listen to them talking about what colleges are best or what state their children may go to. I sit here and pretend that everything is normal; but inside it is so not normal!


April 15, 2007

Just thinking of you and your Mom and Dad.

Thinking that there has to be life out there because the time we have on earth is not enough.

April 10, 2007

Hey there Buddy, I just wanted to write and say hi and that that I have been thinking of you and the gang alot lately. Not that I don't think of you, Chris, Garth, Zack, and Georgina every day, its just as the 20th gets closer I still can't believe your gone. As I read everyone of your mother's entries on this page my heart breaks for her, and I want to give her a hug. I just wanted to write and say that I have been thinking of you and the gang alot lately, and our many great performances we had togther, and the great times we had. all the best wunderkind. Thinking of you

March 29, 2007

Their spirits are together and you both are held in love. I'm an old reprobate, but I don't doubt this.


March 19, 2007

Grandma I. passed away last night. She loved you so much and her hope was she would get to see you again. So if that's true, please take care of her. I'm missing you both so much.

March 13, 2007

Robert, I still think of you and your goodness and grieve that you are no longer with us. What a gift you were, fashioned by the Universe with help from your wonderful parents.


March 8, 2007

astoundingly strange, the irreal distance that time gives. i tried writing you many times...i ran away into work, and into singing and lots of really good beer you oughta try sometime... you still inspire me. and you will always be rovobert, to my javakey. thanks friend.


March 3, 2007

One year ago we were in Bloomington to visit you and see you perform in "Our Town". You were so happy and excited about your summer in Wolf Trap. You blushed when you introduced us to Ann. We had a wonderful evening with both of you. Who would know that was our last time to ever see you?


February 17, 2007

I think about you every day. It's bizzarre that you infiltrated so many areas and knew so many people--probably a little less bizzarre, though, when I remember that you were brilliant and wonderful. Several of the misfits saw each other at convention and although we didn't discuss you, your spirit and influences are always there. I love and miss you.

February 16, 2007

Robert, I haven't been able to write anything on this page for the last ten months due to the fact that I don't want to fully face the fact that you are no longer here. There have been so many times where I just forget for a few seconds and I have wanted to call you to tell you some opera trivia or compositional thing that you would like, and then my heart hurts all over again and I realize that I just can't. I told Dan that this just isn't right...such talent, such a musician, and such a man was taken from us. That we were supposed to be going to each other's debuts and celebrating your opening night, not celebrating your life. I am constantly reminded of you right before I go onstage for the first time. It was during Mikado that I saw you yawning and I remember remarking about how you should wake up before we go onstage. Of course, there was a reason and you weren't tired! You told me that yawning helped you to relax your nerves and relax the throat. Well, since then, I have not been able to enter the stage without yawning (at least three times as I always get really nervous!) and thanking you. Now, every time I yawn, I feel like you are there and giving me a bit of confidence with that yawn. I hope you hear me thank you and I promise to always give my best for you and Chris.
These thoughts are very random as are my thoughts still and how to clearly put them into words. I hope that you visit those often and have found a way to heal their hurting hearts. You are truly missed. How lucky was I to have known you though! You made me a better person by your example!

Dan Bogart

January 16, 2007

God works in mysterious ways. I was sitting at work today and for some reason I was thinking about kids I grew up with in Barberton. I wondered what they are doing now. I went to Woodford Elementary School with this brainy little kid named Robert Samels. He was always the smartest kid in class and I hung out with him on a pretty regular basis from 3rd to 5th grades. When the time came up to move to middle school I didnt see him much. Once he went to Hoban and I stayed in Barberton, i never saw him again. Funny that 15 years later his name popped into my head and I figured I would Google him to see if he had cured Cancer or if he was a Rocket Scientist. I was deeply saddened to read of the events of last April. Robert, you befriended me at a young age when I needed a positive influence in my life and helped me to turn into the man I ended up as. Rest In Peace my friend, Dan Bogart BHS class of 1998


January 14, 2007

Robert, I pray for your family and friends often during this first rough year without you. I was blessed to spend that last Easter sunday singing with you and talking with you between services just days before you left us. You had already offered more to humanity in your short life than most do in a lifetime and it grieves me to think how much more you had to give that you were robbed of offering. Your kindness, intelligence, musical genius, and humble character were a rare beauty. I only wish I could have known you better. Even still, my limited contact with you, your voice and music has made a lifelong impact on me. Thank you for blessing my life and so many around me.

Kimberly James

January 2, 2007

Creighton & I were talking about you yesterday. We miss you and send prayers for your family. I can't imagine how hard this first holiday season was for your folks.

Katie Leemhuis

January 2, 2007

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Robert! I think about you daily and how much you are missed. It's ridiculously unfair. God truly blessed the hundreds of peoples' lives whom you touched. Hope you're celebrating the New Year with Chris :) Love you lots.

Brian Mungo

December 24, 2006

Though I cant imagine how difficult it must be to celebrate, I wish a Merry Christmas to you Paula and Clayton. You and Robert are in out thoughts and prayers.

Jasmine Beams

December 17, 2006

I still think of you often Robert and I will for the rest of my life. I pray you are now in a place filled with heavenly music. Bless your family for their courage.


December 15, 2006

Before the accident and especially after, I have been influenced by this young man who has achieved so much in so little time. I dare not say I knew Robert, but I would have considered it like meeting a celebrity based on the comments I've heard of his intelligence and talents. Or perhaps it would have been just like meeting a new friend, and equal, based on his humility and kindness. I will work hard to be everything that I can be as a musician and as a person, just like you were, Robert.

Marcy Richardson

December 12, 2006

Dear Robert,
I just sang a messiah and couldn't stop wishing it was you singing "why do the nations." I kept closing my eyes imagining how your voice would sound singing it and how happy it would have made me to look over and see you in a tux with your messiah score. I would have given absolutely anything to have you up there on stage with me. it was hard to sing "i know my redeemer liveth" which is supposed to be happy, without being overwhelmed with sadness. I think about you every time I'm in a concert and hear a piece of gorgeous music that I know you would love, and all I can do is sit and cry and hope noone around me notices too much. I think of you and chris every day and talk about you all the time. It is so unfair that you are gone. I miss you so much.

Tracy Sturgis

October 31, 2006

I haven't commented on the blog or here for you or for Chris because I just couldn't sit and write anything without crying. You and I were not close but we were friends and I miss you...I came across an email just now as I was clearing up my folder. It was from December of last was so good to read. (Again!). You had a link in your email to your website...and I felt compelled to come here and write something. Just missing you and Chris very much. My thoughts are never far from the two of you. My best always to your family.

October 13, 2006

Robert, I am so thankful for this website that was created. I think of you often and visit this site just to take another look at you, hear your voice.
I continue to be amazed at all you accomplished.
I drove to DC in June to visit Cory and as I passed the sign for Wolf Trap wished I was meeting up with Cory to see/hear you perform. Thinking of you Paula & Clayton and holding you in my thoughts and prayers. None of you are forgotten.


September 27, 2006

You probably wouldn't remember me too well, but I remember that I saw you perform in one of the most moving concerts I've ever attended. You were a bass soloist in a wonderful performance of Stravinsky's 'Le Noce,' and since then, I had always imagined coming to you and asking you to sing my duet for two bass voices. I will always think of you as a hero to me, as a young, aspiring freshman in the school of music.


September 19, 2006

Dear Robert,
I never told you what an enormous impact you had upon me when we were children. Your interests informed and reinforced my own, and our conversations from that time echo through my own choices, interests and passions to this very day. Your loss is a great one not just for those of us who had the privilege of knowing you, but for all of the world that would have known and admired you. But, wherever you are, if you can be bothered with mere mortals such as us, know that you will live on as a central and formative influence in my own work - and most likely the work of many, many others. May God bless your gentle soul, and may your family find comfort and peace.


August 30, 2006

tallpaula, i think of you and clayton and robert every day. i hope that you are some how finding peace.


August 18, 2006

This weekend would have been your final performances at Wolf Trap and we would have been there to cheer you on. You were so proud to be going to Wolf Trap and I know you would have been successful. I wish I could hear your beautiful voice on stage again.

Karina and Tony Weinstein

August 12, 2006

Without Robert this world is not as bright as it used to be... It is so unfair that the best ones are the first to go.
Miss you...

Matthew Leese

August 11, 2006

Mr. Samels,
Only with a little space have I been able to put into words how much influence you had on my development at IU. To me, you represent the true Renaissance man; a finger in every pie with the desire to understand the precise chemistry of every recipe. Your stunning musical ability was matched by your phenomenal intellect, wit, charm and most importantly, humility. To you, the swirl of trivial IU drama meant little, you were a man of integrity and honesty and for that I will always hold you in the highest of esteem. Working with you was always a pleasure, but especially memorable was during the Mattheson 'Saint John Passion'. I will, and already do miss making music with you.
To the Samels family, you have my deepest respect and sympathy.

Brian Mungo

July 25, 2006

You are in our prayers, and missed by all your old Hoban buddies. Wish we had gotten a chance to say hello again. Mr. and Mrs. Samels, you are especially in our thoughts and prayers. As time passes, you can rest assured, that the happy happy memories of Robert will remain in the minds and hearts of those that really knew him.

Elisabeth Marshall

July 24, 2006

I just heard the clip of our quartet ("It is this way with men" from PILATVS)--it's astounding...thank you, Robert...

Miss you so much~



July 13, 2006

My beautiful son-you are missed and loved by so many. Your dad and I are lost without you.
<< Previous Page