Labelmaster remembers Abe Samuels

The entire Dangerous Goods community lost a dear friend last week when former Labelmaster National Sales Manager Abe Samuels passed away at age 98.

“Abe touched everyone who met him in a remarkable way. From the devotion he had to his family, to the collegial relationships to which he dedicated himself — and the industry he helped build – everyone gravitated to him for his leadership, his intellect, and his sense of humor. For me, I have lost a friend. Abe guided and advised me through thick and thin, whenever I needed help, he was always there. While I am sorry he is gone, I will not forget what he meant to us all.”  – Alan Schoen, President, Labelmaster

Samuels joined Labelmaster in 1976, and became best-known for developing the now-ubiquitous Spacemaster® flip placard system. 1976 was also the first year hazmat placards were required on American trucks, and carriers needed a way to include all their required legends in one device. Samuels drew upon his prior background in tool and die work to solve their challenge with the Spacemaster.

Abe Samuels explains the history of dangerous goods placarding.

But that was only the beginning of a wondrous 40-year career at Labelmaster. He said he was able to work so long because he “took a lot of vacation time, went fishing and loved my job.” By the time Abe retired in 2016—at age 95—his constant travels and one-on-one interactions had made him one of the recognized and beloved figures in the global Dangerous Goods community.

“I had the privilege of working alongside Abe for 23 years.  He was a mentor, best friend, father figure and much more to me. The lessons I learned in business and life were countless. I am thankful for all the great memories I have of the time we shared together.”  – Mike Kelly, Director of Sales Operations, Labelmaster

We love and miss Abe, and we know we’re not alone. If you have a fond Abe Samuels memory, please share it in the comment box below.

Thank you!

Make sure your shipments are safe and in complete compliance with a full line of solutions from Labelmaster—a full-service provider of goods and services for hazardous materials and Dangerous Goods professionals, shippers, transport operators and EH&S providers.


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  1. Mike Brown said:

    Abe always had a smile for you, he is missed already…

  2. Jill Schaefer said:

    Abe was a quiet but powerful presence here. A smile from Abe could brighten even the darkest of days – it’s true! It was hard to have a bad day after talking to him for even just a few minutes. I feel lucky to have known and worked with such a wonderful man.

  3. michael Kaufman said:

    I can remember meeting Abe for the first time back in 95, he was someone that was always warm and wecloming to everyone he meet. He was also someone who always had a contagous smile.It was truly a honor and privilege to have known him and be able to work with him. He will truly be missed.

  4. Dionne Leggin said:

    Abe was the epitome of a wonderful human being. He had a great sense of humor, a love of life and his family…He will certainly be missed!!!

  5. Carol Lee said:

    When I think of Abe Samuels I think of that twinkle in his eyes and that ready smile. You always took time out to get me that all important quote! I would tell you “ Abe you are simply the best”!! Rest In Peace my friend you will be missed..

  6. Neil McCulloch said:

    Abe lives on in our memories and our hearts. His warmth, his smile will always brighten my day. Of course, I was never quite certain I understood his accent nor he mine… “Will ye no come back again!”

  7. Stacy Goebel said:

    What a dear man and a legend! I will remember his kindness and that twinkle in his eye. Much love to the Labelmaster family.

  8. Gerardo Guerrero said:

    Abe will be missed he was a wealth of knowledge at work and of life… He was a great person …Damn I’m gonna miss him.. Praying for his family.

  9. Kurtis Kline said:

    I want to relate a story about Abe that you probably don’t know, but that needs to be shared. When I first moved to Chicago from Cincinnati, I didn’t have two nickels to rub together. Living in Wrigleyville, most of my ALC income went to rent (and beer). One weekend after a bike trip to the Quad Cities, I returned to my apartment late on a Sunday night. My bike was partially dis-assembled on my back seat. Too tired to remove it, I left in the back seat, in our fenced in parking lot. Needless to say, it was gone in the morning, and the small, driver’s side “pilot” window was smashed out. I fixed it with some thick plastic sheeting and shipping tape from the warehouse. It didn’t do a very good job of holding the cold out, but it kept the rain and melting snow out well enough. About a month after it happened, Abe and I were walking out of the building together to the side parking lot at 5724, and he asked me what happened. I explained the situation, and he reached for his wallet and gave me $300 to get it fixed. I tried to turn it down, but he just didn’t like to see a young kid in a crappy car with a broken window. I offered to pay him back $50 at a time, but he said no. That act of selflessness has stuck with me over the years, and I have never forgotten it. It has helped me become a more generous and understanding person.

    Now for the really weird part….

    I was reading about Abe’s passing while I was visiting my daughter at NC State University. I was eating lunch at Bojangles, a fast food southern biscuit restaurant. I walked out of the restaurant feeling sad about Abe, and almost walked into my 1981 Volkswagen Jetta in the Bojangles parking lot. (See attached photo). Although it wasn’t the same color (mine was gold), it was the exact same car. It gave me a very warm, happy feeling to see it and think that somewhere, Abe was enjoying messing with my head.

    All my best to each of you and your families…I think back upon my Labelmaster days with very fond memories!.

  10. Peggi Boyd said:

    I am fortunate to say I worked with Abe for nearly 30 years. The memory that comes back most often was in my early days with Labelmaster. I did not have a car and took public transit. I had had a bad day and decided to walk to the Metra station. The weather was bad and I was lost in my thoughts not realizing Abe had stopped along Foster Avenue to offer me a ride which I refused in my stubborn frame of mind. He would not accept that. When I came to my senses and accepted his generosity, he cheered me up in short order. He was persistently kind to everyone.

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