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Donald F. "Don" Samull
Birth: Apr. 3, 1941
Wayne County
Michigan, USA
Death: Mar. 5, 2009
Michigan, USA

Don Samull, lifelong supporter and
promoter of Detroit's Polonia passed away on March 5,
2009 at the age of 67.
Don was suffering from health complications since having a heart operation last fall.
Don was born and raised on the Polish lower eastside of
Detroit, known as Poletown.

Since 1976, he published a nationally known Polish-
American calendar, finding distribution in every state
and in many foreign countries.

Writer Robert Strybel dubbed Don "The Calendar Man" and featured him in The Polish Weekly on September 18, 2003. Strybel noted "Samull is generally regarded as a popularizer of our ethnic heritage who never misses an opportunity to plug "things Polish", both within his own family circle and in the community at-large".
He contributed articles for the PolAmerica Magazine, as well as to the Polish American Journal, Detroit's Tygodnik and Polish Times.

Don was a member of many organizations including:
the West Side Detroit Polish American Historical
Society, Polish Genealogical Society of Michigan,
Polish American Historical Association, Friends of
Hamtracmk Library, Polish American Historic Site
Association, American Polish Assistance Association,
Grand Rapids Polish Heritage Society and the Toledo-
Poznan Alliance.

Don also had an association with Saint Hyacinth Parish where he served as a minister of service, proudly founded the Polish-American Heritage Mass, served on committees coordinating Polish themed events and was instrumental in having St. Hyacinth Parish recognized during Detroit's 300th Anniversary Celebration.

Don was also involved with the establishment of the first Blessing of the Polish American Dance Ensembles Mass at St. Hyacinth Parish.

Beloved brother of Stanley (Linda).

Loving uncle of Donna (Daniel) Mason, Christina and Mark (Jennifer) Holody.

Loving great-uncle of Eric, Jennifer, Michael, Michael, Stephen and Nicholas.

Survived by many relatives.

Visitation Saturday 3-9 p.m., Sunday 12-9 p.m. Rosary Sunday 7 p.m. at Sajewski Funeral Home, 19111 W. Warren.

Visitation Monday 9:30 a.m. at Sweetest Heart of Mary Church, 4440 Russell, Detroit until time of service 10 a.m.

Interment Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.

Polonia Mourns the Passing of a Great Leader, Don Samull


Don Samull was born and raised in Detroit's Polish lower East side, or the Poletown area of Detroit, and was a west sider since 1960. He attended St. Albertus School, St. Joseph High, and the Universities of Detroit and Michigan, earning B.A. and M.A. degrees and graduating magna com laude. He taught school in both Crestwood and Bloomfield Hills School Districts for 35 years and served as an elected officer in the Bloomfield Hills Education Association.
Don was an extremely proud Polish American. He traveled to Poland many times and was to Polish sites on all seven continents. He took graduate classes at the University of California at Berkeley, Syracuse, and at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. He attended two summer sessions in Poland with the Kosciuszko Foundation. He lectured on Poland and Polish customs before various groups in numerous schools and libraries and at various institutions, including the Detroit Historical Association, the International Institute, Detroit's Unitarian Church, and Henry Ford Community College. He gave tours of Detroit's Polish churches and neighborhoods and of Hamtramck. Continuously since 1976, he published his nationally known Polish-American calendar, which was distributed in every state and in many foreign countries.

Don wrote a guide booklet on Polish-related sites in the U.S. and articles for Polamerica magazine and was a correspondent for the national newspaper Polish American Journal (Buffalo, NY) and for the local publication Polish Times (Warren, MI). He was awarded membership in four chaplains' Halls of Fame at Valley Forge and was awarded the Civic Achievement Award of the Polish American Historical Association. He helped found the "Polish Heritage Mass" at Detroit's St. Hyacinth

Parish and served on committees coordinating parish anniversaries, Polish-theme events, and the Polish-American observance of Detroit's 300th anniversary.
In addition to serving on the board of the West Side Detroit Polish American Historical Society, Don was a board member of the Polish Genealogical Society of Michigan. He was a member of the Polish American Historical Association, the Friends of Hamtramck Library, the Polish American Historic Site Association, the Polish American Assistance Association, the Grand Rapids (Michigan) Polish Heritage Society, and the Toledo-Poznan Alliance.

All of Polonia mourns Don's passing. He was an advocate, leader, and friend of Polonia. He will be sorely missed.


Donald F. Samull: The Calendar Crusader

Written by Ceil Wendt Jensen

It's the New Year and that calls for a new calendar, but not just any calendar. For savvy Polish Americans it must be Donald F. Samull's Polish American Calendar. He has been publishing the series for over thirty years. Writer Robert Strybel has dubbed Don "The Calendar Man" and featured him in The Polish Weekly on September 18, 2003. He documents that Don was inspired by an Afro-American calendar featuring the community's unique cultural attributes and asked himself "why doesn't Polonia have something similar?". Don set out to create one. Strybel further notes " Samull is generally regarded as a popularize of our ethnic heritage who never misses an opportunity to plug "things Polish", both within his own family circle and in the community at-large". Another quote from Strybel fits Don to a tee: "We are usually filled with pride if a Pole or Polish American …receives a prestigious award…or becomes a champion in some field…. But there are heroes (family members, butchers, priests, nuns, storekeepers, etc.) all around us whom we all too often take for granted. In a very real way, such people…are helping to keep the flag of Polish heritage flying over their particular corner of America. They truly are Polonia's unsung crusaders."

Each year Don picks a theme and uses it as for the facts, illustrations, and recipes. Collectors don't throw away the 8x11 black, white, and red planner at the end of the year, it's filled with the research he undertakes each year featuring history, art, and Polonian trivia. Fans keep them and find more facts and data with each review. Even the Pope had a copy. Don presented his 1999 Polish American calendar to Pope John Paul II during an audience in June, 1998.

The 2009 theme is the Polish Eagle, more specially, Orzeł Biały, the White Eagle of Poland's national coat of arms. On the back cover Don shares the legend of the White Eagle and notes that the "eagles depicted each month show the difference in design during various eras in Polish history". A bold red shield with a white line drawing of Orzeł Biały graces the cover. There are three small strokes above the eagle's head to represent the crown. The subtitle of the calendar is "365 Historical & Cultural Facts- 12 Family Polish Recipes" . The calendar is liberally illustrated with Eagles used by the Polish kings: Casimir The Great (January), Stefan Batory (March), and Stanisław Poniatowski (June) and eagles used by the 1863-4 Uprising (July), 1915 Legion (August), and The Republic 1919-27 (September). Always a teacher, Don has each month and day titled in English and Polish. He even includes a key word translation for each month so it is easier to understand how it was named in Polish: September-Wrzesień - heather, October- Październik-flax, and November- Listopad- falling leaves.

Thankfully, the recipes do not feature eagle entrees but "recipes used over the years by my mother, father (pork chops), brother (kielbasa & pierogi) & myself (salads)". I can hear Don's voice as I read the closing comments for February's Polish Meatballs-klopsy "serve with mashed potatoes for a wonderful, warm winter meal"; May's Sorrel Soup-zupa szczawiona "Polish way of greeting Spring"; and November's Polish Dumplings- pierogi " Freeze til Wigilia Supper!".

Not one to leave blank space, Don fills the margin above each month with the name of a Polish museum; international ones like the Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum (London), national museums such as the Polish Cultural Center Museum (Philadelphia), and locally with a listing for Orchard Lake Schools (Orchard Lake).

Don is usually a year ahead in his calendar planning and research. This fall he had surgery and is still recovering. I wish him Godspeed as he regains his health. We have to have our scribe back on task for 2010!

Titles in the collection:
2009- Polish Eagle- 356 Historical & Cultural Facts- 12 Family Recipes
2008- 356 ways to be Polish "How to show your Polishness each and every day of the year"
2007- John Paul II Memorial (printed in papal blue ink)
2006- Fact –a-day, Recipe-a month Polish American Calendar (featuring Wycinanki- Polish paper art)
2005- Polish Food and Foodways
2004- Polish American Calendar of Special Days Polish Holidays, Holydays, Feastdays, Namesdays, Birthdays, Saintsdays, Anniversary Days with recipes for special days
2003- Tribute to Polish American: Facts and Recipes featuring artwork by Stefan Klimczak
2002- 365+ More Questions & Answers on Polish Geography, History, Religion, Food & Recipes, Tourism, Sports, Arts & Sciences, Language, Famous Persons
2001- Polish American Calendar Questions & Answers
2000- Polish American Calendar with Old Polish Family Recipes illustrations by Fr. Czesław Krysa and Alice Wadowski-Bak
1999- John Paul II, With Recipes of the Holy Father's Favorite Foods. Illustrated by Jane Robbins

The 2000 calendar lists titles of earlier editions:
1998- Ellis Island Recipes
1997- Polish Dictionary
1996 Pol-Am Trivia
1995 Polish Soups
1993- Kielbasa Recipes
1992- 365 Ways to be Polish
1991- Special Days
1989- Recipes 1985- Trivia Game
1983- Solidarity
1981 Pol-Am Sites in the U.S.
1980- Polish Folkart

Some back issues are available from The Polish Art Center in Hamtramck, Michigan.

Holy Sepulchre Cemetery
Oakland County
Michigan, USA
Plot: Section 23, Lot/Tier 153, Grave 4
Created by: Kim Koper♥Davis ...
Record added: Mar 06, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 34505466
Donald F. Don Samull
Added by: Allan Daly
Donald F. Don Samull
Added by: Kim Koper♥Davis♛
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