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City leaders remember Mayor Samuels fondly

DAILY LEADER / KATIE WILLIAMSON /  The flag in front of the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Government Complex hangs at half mast Tuesday morning in honor of former mayor Harold Samuels.

DAILY LEADER / KATIE WILLIAMSON / The flag in front of the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Government Complex hangs at half mast Tuesday morning in honor of former mayor Harold Samuels.

The flag at the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Government Complex fell to half-mast as the city honored the loss of former Mayor Harold Clinton Samuels Sr. Among several contributions made to the city, he served as city alderman from 1965 to 1969 and mayor for two terms, 1977 to 1985.

“He was the most helpful man in the community,” said former mayor Bob Massengill, who knew Samuels all his life. “He would always find ways to help people. He was very obliging and a very kind man. If someone had a problem no matter who they were, he would listen and try to help them. He served the city well. He did an excellent job while serving as Mayor.”

Samuels was very active in every aspect of the Brookhaven community from government and civic engagements to religious and charity organizations. He served as the president and vice-president of the Chamber of Commerce and president and vice president of Brookhaven Beautiful. He was also a member of American Legion Post 12, Grand Master and treasurer of the Brookhaven Grand Lodge of Mississippi, board member and chairman of DeMolay and Order of the Rainbow Girls, chairman of the Lincoln County Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Civil Defense Council Director, and as president and treasurer of B’nai Shalom Temple.

“He was very progressive and loved Brookhaven with a passion,” said former Chamber executive Charlie Ford. “He waved the way for a lot of exceptional programs in Brookhaven. We will be feeling his presence for a long time.”

“I don’t think he ever met a stranger,” said Ford. “And when he said he would do something, he’d do it regardless.”

Samuels was also a local businessman. He and his wife, Betty Clair, owned and operated The Fashion Shop, and he was also a commercial real estate developer.

“He was a very astute business man who made very wise business decisions,” said Bill Sones. “He was a good leader for the community, and he worked hard to make Brookhaven a better place to live.”

Sones said Samuels, himself and others worked together on several projects, the most notable of which was establishing the Walmart Distribution Center in Lincoln County.

“He has done as much for Brookhaven as anybody I know of,” said Alderman Karen Sullivan. She added he was very helpful and supportive during her husband, Doug Sullivan’s, time as mayor.

Samuels was also know for riding as the Grand Master for 30 years in the annual Brookhaven Christmas parade as well as serving as the King of the Krewe of Ceres.

“He was a very good man and was well-loved,” said Alderman Shirley Estes.

Samuels was raised in Brookhaven, graduated from Brookhaven High School and returned to the city after attending Mississippi State University, Louisiana State University and enlisting in the U.S. Navy. It is evident through his hard work and dedication to the city of Brookhaven that the Home Seeker’s Paradise was where is heart laid.