Joseph Lee Samsa, at the age of 60 years, 11 months, and 21 days, went home to be with Jesus on the morning of December 18, 2023. He completed his race and is now looking into the face of his Heavenly Father. His Celebration of Life will be held at New Hope Community Church in Cambridge, MN on Wednesday, December 27, 2023. Visitation will be from 5:30-6:30 where we will have his favorite dessert treats and hot chocolate, then the service will begin at 6:30. There would be no better way to celebrate his birthday than honoring his life and legacy.
Joseph Samsa was born on December 27, 1962 in Marinette, Wisconsin to Roger and Pearl (Larshied) Samsa. He attended high school in Lena, Wisconsin. As a country boy through and through he enjoyed hunting, fishing and playing sports. His stature and hard work ethic led him to become an all state football player and an undefeated, two time state champion wrestler. On New Years of his senior year he made a decision that changed his life forever; he surrendered his life to Jesus. From that moment on, his greatest desire in life was to share the love of Jesus with everyone he came in contact with. He graduated from high school in 1981.
After high school, he felt the Lord calling him to attend Jimmy Swaggart Bible College to pursue pastoral ministry. There he met his beautiful wife, Doreen. He took one look into her big, brown eyes and fell in love immediately. Doreen took more convincing. But his mom always told him, “A faint heart never won a fair maiden.” Between the muscles and the motorcycle, it didn’t take too long before she was swept off her feet. Joseph and Doreen received life changing premarital counseling with Larry Summers that would shape their marriage for the years to come. They were married on August 2, 1986 and their love continued to grow with each passing year.
After college, Joseph took his first ministry position as Youth Pastor in Whittier, CA at Palm View Assemblies of God. It would not be long before Joseph was asked to take on the role of Associate Pastor, and serve alongside his father in law, Senior Pastor Isaac Gonzales. During these years of ministry their love would continue to grow, and the first product of their love would come on October 18th, 1990 with the birth of their first son, Joseph Aaron Samsa, little guy. More love filled their home, and as it grew, so did their family. Their first bouncing baby girl arrived on July 17, 1993, Samantha Ashlee Samsa, his princess. Their second born son, Joshua Caleb Samsa would join the family on June 30th, 1997, his Joshie. All his pride and joy in one name. Then, on April 26th 2001 their family would be complete with the birth of their daughter, Shiri Carleen Samsa, his sweet baby girl. Of all the titles and roles Joseph held throughout his life, his favorite and most cherished was being a dad to his four amazing children. Joseph regarded his role as Dad with honor and reverence, and knew his prayers over the lives were crucial. Joseph prayed specifically over their futures, including future spouses and children. The prayers would be answered in the family additions of a precious daughter in law Esther wedded to Joseph Aaron, and tender hearted son-in-law, “Noah, or whom he affectionately called “Noahlinksi” to Shiri Carleen. He held them with high regard and deep appreciation and love. Joe and Esther would bring two more additions, that would give him a new favorite role and title, the one of Grandpa to Arthur Finnely Samsa and Harvey Jasper Samsa.
Eventually, Joseph would take the position of Senior Pastor. His ministry at Palm View Assemblies of God spanned over 18 years. During these years he would be used by God to touch countless lives through his prayers, messages, and presence. Towards the end of these years, God gave Joseph a dream in which He would call him to ministry in Minnesota. After much prayer and discernment, Joseph and Doreen followed the Lord’s leading and their obedience led their family of six to Cambridge, MN in the Summer of 2004. It was here that they joined Pastor Vern and Mary in establishing Word of Life Ministries. For over ten years, he loved serving alongside his sister and brother in law and watching the church grow.
After his ministry service at Word of Life, Joseph would go on to join the Grace Gospel church family. This was a significant moment guided by the Lord as he had impressed upon Joseph’s heart that his children Joseph and Shiri were to lead worship together. This would come to pass as Joe and Shiri both serve and lead in worship together at Grace. He would develop a close relationship with Senior Pastor Tom Porta and through their time spent together, Pastor Tom would come to rely on Joseph as a trusted leader and deep friend. Joseph became known as a strong pillar of Grace Gospel church and his influence will continue to ripple throughout the body for years to come.
While serving at Grace, Joseph took a position with Lincare and God would use him mightily here as its own kind of ministry field. Joseph’s shepherd heart would lead him to care for his patients beyond just the basic demands of the job. He would often be known to go out of his way whenever they needed him, even if this meant driving a far distance or driving late at night. He would often talk to them about the great love of Jesus and would pray with them. His life demonstrates how we are all ministers of the gospel, with or without a title.
Joseph will be lovingly remembered by his wife, Doreen; four children, Joe (Esther) Samsa, Samantha Samsa, Joshua Samsa, and Shiri (Noah) Peterson; grandchildren Arthur and Harvey; parents, Roger and Pearl; four siblings, Mike (Sharon) Samsa, Mary (Vern) Peltz, Kim (Bob) Wessel, and Roger Samsa; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Isaac and Cecilia Gonzales, and by many other relatives and friends.