Edward J. Sampson, Jr., 77, of North Andover, Massachusetts, died January 2. Born in Brockton, Massachusetts, he attended Northeastern University, where he received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in electrical engineering degrees. He then embarked on a fifty-year career as a systems engineer at Raytheon Company in Bedford and Tewksbury, Massachusetts. In 2008, he was one of the first recipients of the Bishop Cheverus Award of the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston for his devotion to St. Patrick Parish, Lawrence, and the archdiocese.
Sampson had a lifelong passion for classical organ music and since 1976 served as president of the board of trustees of the Methuen Memorial Music Hall, home of the world-famous “Great Organ,” the longest tenure in the trustees’ history. Over the ensuing years, he promoted the use of the hall’s organ for commercial recordings and played an active part in planning and publicizing summer organ recitals and expanding off-season organ and “organ plus” programs. Seeing some important needs from the outset, he became an indefatigable fundraiser for the hall and its organ. During his tenure major repairs to the building’s fabric were made, along with upgrades as basic as new restrooms and a handicap-accessible entrance, completed in 1996. An organ restoration fund was also established that facilitated a complete upgrade of the failing combination action and renovation of the console. In addition, Sampson had a very active interest in the history of the hall and the organ, and one of his early projects was the revision of the outdated visitor’s pamphlet describing the hall’s history, and later, a well-researched “timeline” plaque, produced for the 2009 centenary of the former Boston Music Hall organ’s relocation in its specially designed hall in Methuen, an event that he took an active part in organizing.
Edward J. Sampson, Jr., is survived by his wife of 50 years, Kathleen; sister-in-law and brother-in-law Honor and Bill Jutila; and sister-in-law Nancy Crowley. A wake was held at Methuen Memorial Music Hall on January 5, and a funeral Mass was celebrated on January 6 at St. Patrick Parish, Lawrence. Memorial contributions may be made to the Methuen Memorial Music Hall, Inc., Post Office Box 463, Methuen, MA 01844-0463, or to St. Patrick Parish, 118 South Broadway, Lawrence, MA 01843-1427.