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Jody Samson

Artist - Swordmaker - Knifemaker - Friend
November 4, 1946 - December 27, 2008

It is with the deepest regret that we announce
the passing of legendary swordmaker,
Jody Samson,
on Saturday, December 27, in his shop in New Glarus, Wisconsin.

Jody was a true friend, a multi-talented artist, and one of the
most generous people you could ever meet.
He will be deeply missed.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his many other friends and fans around the world.

When we think of Jody, this quote from one of his customers always comes to mind:

If the gods left the secret of steel on the battle field beneath a leaden sky,
Jody Samson found it, learned its riddle well, has mastered it
and now shares it with the awesome folks at Albion.
His work is legendary, his talent is supernatural.

-- Rick Robinson

The private sale of a selection of Jody's remaining custom pieces has ended. In the near future, we will be offering a new line of pieces designed by Jody - The Jody Samson Legacy Line. Check the Albion Swords page or the Albion Facebook page for announcements.

Memories of Jody
What we do in life is what we leave behind. We have no choice but to leave it behind. For better or worse, our works are what we will be remembered for. Even if you choose to do nothing, then that is what you will be remembered for - nothing.
Some people however are so passionately creative that it's impossible to forget them when they're gone.
Jody Samson has died.
He was one of the master swordmakers at Albion, and a man who taught me a great deal about being an artist. I worked closely with him during my early years at Albion, learning from him in a very casual and informal way about wax carving, three-dimensional design, cutlery, metal work, leather work, moldmaking and many other things. Working knowledge in any one of those areas opens up almost endless possibilities for an artist.
Though Jody never wanted an apprentice or heir (he was much too reclusive for such a relationship) he was always willing to teach anybody anything he knew. His passion was to create. He did so with every free moment. He couldn't stop making new things even if he'd wanted to. When he took the job at Albion he joked that he'd always wanted a workshop with a hatch, into which someone would push food and out of which he would push swords.
And that is essentially how Jody worked, preferring his art to human contact. Nevertheless he was always generally pleasant if interrupted, but content to go for days without really conversing with anyone. Except perhaps for Howard.
Jody was an avid crossword-solver and chess player (when he was feeling social enough to sit down with someone,) but mostly he would just do art in his free time - sculpting, drawing, writing, jewelry, whatever struck his muse. In his native California he'd taken drawing classes so often that he served as a stand-in when the instructor couldn't conduct a class.
Normally Jody would begin work very early, long before the other employees were even out of bed. As a result he would go home early in the afternoon, and during those days when I worked in his shop I would then take the opportunity to examine and explore and enjoy all his various "stuff." Everywhere in his shop there were trinkets, oddities, curios and memorabilia. Each countertop, shelf, table and patch of wall bristled with carvings, skulls, bones, figurines, models, half-finished projects and handmade tools.
Of course all of it was infused with the smell of the Swisher Sweets cigars which he was fond of smoking, and the pungent odor of the black steel dust which flew from his blade grinding machines and covered every exposed square inch ("the Devil's dandruff" he called it.)
I loved leafing through his leatherbound sketchbooks, fascinated by the pencil, ink, or charcoal drawings of castles, creatures, weapons, nudes, landscapes and abstract designs. Led Zeppelin and Loreena McKennitt CDs were usually on "repeat" in his stereo. His favorite scent and flavor, he once told me, was cinnamon.
I remember the views from his shop windows, and the sound of the little bell he'd hung above his door so that he would know when someone had come to see him. When I was set up with a waxworking shop for Albion's line of historic swords, Jody gave me his set of handmade carving tools - a wonderful and thoughtful gift which he gave lightly, but I did not take lightly. He made himself a new set of tools, heating and hammering and grinding tiny curved blades, then setting them into wooden handles.
He was a man deserving of admiration, but who didn't desire it. He loved to talk and show and share, yet he disliked formal interviews. He enjoyed parties and casual gatherings, but hated mandatory meetings.
For years I've had an idea that someday I'd stop by Albion and see him again. When I left there he'd given me a standing invitation to use his shop or tools any time, or just come in and chat. I thought there would be a day when circumstances would find me in New Glarus and I'd head to The Far Side, which was the name Jody had given to his shop - it being the farthest possible area from the front door, the offices, and unfortunately the bathroom.
There he would be, sitting in his favorite padded chair at his favorite work table, carving wax with his magnifying visors on, a cigar smoldering in the ashtray beside him. Or perhaps standing at the grinder with some crazily curved blade, his sweatshirt sleeves pulled up to the elbows and sparks showering toward his feet.
I wish now that I could thank him for all he's done, teaching me both directly and by example. Jody was a man that I looked up to and wanted to be like. He had his faults as we all do, but certainly he was fascinating and inspiring, living his dream and never failing to do what he loved. I've had the pleasure of meeting many truly amazing artists through Albion, but I've never met anyone as fiercely and tirelessly creative as Jody Samson, and I don't expect I'll ever meet anyone quite like him again.
-- Leif Hansen
I just received the news that Jody had died. I am very sorry to hear that. I knew him in the mid-90’s here in Los Angeles when he used the backshop at Tony Swatton’s Sword-and-the-Stone. I was always amazed at how easily he worked with metal and wax sculptures for his castings and once completed how each blade felt smooth in cut and function. He indeed did learn the riddle-of-steel. May he now forge weapons for the Gods.
-- Thomas Majors
I will very much miss seeing Jody's work, as this is the closest I was ever able to get to him. And although I never met him in person, I feel assured he was the nicest man one could meet. The world has indeed lost a great visionary and artist. Again, my most sincere condolences. With sytmpathy and respect,
-- Christopher Gregg
My sincerest condolences to you all and to the family of Mr Samson. As I tried to check out some of Mr Samsons work yesterday I was shocked to find out that a legend had passed away just ten days after I ordered one of his great works! I have been viewing his work for the last decade and I'm truly proud to finally own one of his beautiful creations. How much he will be missed cannot be expressed in words, so I won't try. I wish you all great strength in the days ahead. With the highest regards,
-- Michael Zwollo

It is hard to imagine the handmade sword industry without his presence. In fact, I cannot.
-- John Hatchett

Rebekah told me of Jody's passing and I wanted to let you know that you and those at Albion are in my thoughts. Everyone, including myself, that had contact with Jody, or saw him work and create, could not help to be inspired by him. Although I was not at Albion for very long, my memories are good ones and I have Jody to thank for many of those times. I was carving something just this weekend and I thought of him and his work. The first time I saw his waxes I was amazed at his skill and his technique. There is no way he could know it but those times working with Jody opened up possibilities to me of what can be done.
-- Paul Nitsche

My deepest condolences to everyone there. It is a huge loss to the sword community.
-- David Viglione

I'm sure you're getting slammed with emails so don't feel the need to respond, but I just had to send you and everyone at Albion my sympathies. I was floored when I pulled up the site and read about Jody. My heart sank and I can't get rid of the lump in my throat, so I can't even imagine how you folks must feel. It must have been a great privilege to be around him for the time that he has been a part of Albion. It's great that you have that to hold on to, it's such a rare gift. I feel extremely honored and lucky to have a few pieces in my collection that were either completely made by him or at least have been in his hands at some point. He is an icon, and icons cannot be replaced. There will be a void in this world, for the remainder of time, where Jody Samson once stood. He will live forever in my world through Steel and great memories. I was just a kid when he did it, but when he forged those original Conan Swords, he didn't know it but he also forged a huge part of the person that I was to become.
-- Cliff
While I was not lucky enough to say that I knew Jody as a personal friend, I can tell you that I was very lucky to have met him several times.
When I first met him, it was many, many years ago at a Renaissance Faire here in California. He was happy, vibrant, outgoing, and extroverted! He was on his turf and havin' a good time! It seemed as though everybody knew him there and loved him. I was introduced to him, shook his hand, and we had a quick conversation. I admit to thinking after how cool it was to meet the guy who had so much impact on the weapons we recognize from the movies. I made sure to run into him again that weekend... and again on other weekends. It looked as though everybody else did the same. He seemed to always be surrounded by fun-loving people those weekends!
Many years later, I met him in New Glarus while visiting the folks at Albion. His demeanor was different than our first meeting. He was older, more settled, and much more reserved than would be found at the party atmosphere of the Ren Faire. Though less gregarious, he was still the friendly, inviting, and quick-to-share man I had met more than a decade earlier.
I went to New Glarus a few more times and was fortunate to have spent time with Jody in his shop.
Each visit, Jody took time to share stories of California and the people we both had known over the years. He showed me photos and memoirs of times past and the things he had made over the years.
His shop was full of items that marked periods of time and told a story all on its own.
I am grateful to Jody for adding the narrative and making it all that much better. Jody was an artist.
We all throw around the term true artist and it's people like Jody that give that term meaning.
Just looking around his shop revealed so many amazing things -- tiny tidbits of creative flair, brilliantly executed pieces, and the signs of so many things yet to come. The sheer number of ideas flowing from him has always shocked me. He was indeed one of the most prolific artists I've encountered. Truly mind-blowing.
When I met with Jody in Wisconsin, he seemed like a quiet man. It only took a few moments with him to know that he was anything but quiet. Jody couldn't help but be an open book.
And what a story that book has told.
I'm lucky to have met him. I wish I had known him better.
-- Nathan Robinson, MyArmoury.com
I was 12 years old, and my friend’s mom bought us tickets to see Conan the Barbarian at a theater near my house. I remember being so blown away by the movie that I sat through (and read) the entire credits. About midway through the credits, one in particular caught my eye “Sword Maker – Jody Samson”. The swords in the Conan movie were so awesome that they credited their maker. This was long before the Internet even existed, but at the time I remember fantasizing about some day finding this Mr. Samson and getting myself an “Atlantean” sword….
It wasn’t until years later that the Internet took off, I remember doing many a search for “Conan Sword” and “Jody Samson” trying to get my hands on the sword that I spent a majority of my teenage years (and twenties) fantasizing about. All that ever turned up was Jody was working out of some shop in California, but there was never any contact information. I think it was sometime around 2000, that I finally hit on Albion’s site, and plans were in the making to bring Jody on board and there were drawings of the “Sword of Crom” and “Sword of Atlantis” posted on the site (the rights for the Conan movie swords weren’t worked out yet). “Finally – Success” the maker of the Conan swords had surfaced and was going to be turning out swords for the masses.
Everyone knows the rest of the story, the rights were acquired, the Conan swords were a success for Albion (I own Atlantean #95), and a separate site was launched for custom swords by the man himself.
Since JodySamson.com was launched, I’ve checked it every time I’ve sat down to get on the Internet to see what new masterpieces he might have turned out. I’ve personally been pestering poor Mike in customer service for the last three years for when the Frazetta Barbarian was going to be available.
A few years ago I made it up to SwordFest weekend, and in talking with Howy during one of the breaks, I explained that while all the historic stuff was great and all, I was really a big fan of the fantasy stuff, and a big fan of Jody. Howy explained he was a big Jody fan himself, which was evident by the Conan Fathers sword he had hanging on the wall upstairs at his house, and the Samson Katanas over his fireplace downstairs (part of SwordFest was held at Howys house).
When SwordFest made its way over to the Albion shop, Howy personally took me up to Jody’s workshop to see where the man did his magic. I got to see probably the next 6 months worth of waxes that Jody had on a table, and half a dozen or more un-mounted blades hanging on the wall, and a series of other swords in various stages of assembly. It was the highlight of my SwordFest weekend.
Sometime last year I finally purchased a Jody custom (Icebrand), and it’s everything I thought it’d be and more.
I’ve tried getting my hands on a few more of his pieces, but as the timing never worked out for me, and others had snatched them up before I could put the order/s together.
I was just crushed the other day when I went to check out Jody’s site, and learned that he had passed away. It just couldn’t be possible that he was gone and that there would never be any more new Jody swords….
In reading everything on Albions site, and in other locations, from people who did know Jody, it’s readily apparent that a lot of very skilled and very creative people held him in very high regard.
I never got a chance to meet Jody, but I’ve spent the last 8+ years admiring his work on the Internet, and even longer from the movies. I’m grateful to Howy that I got to see his shop, and thankful to Albion for making it possible for me to own a Jody Samson custom sword.
When he was with us, he was unique among swordmakers, and now that he’s gone, its clear there will never be another Jody Samson… Just like in the Conan credits, in my mind, he will always be “Sword Maker – Jody Samson”
Albion: I don’t know if Jody was married, or had family of some sort, but if there was, or there are some expenses involved in giving Jody a proper send-off, of taking care of anyone that survived him, you may want to consider setting up something on the website (paypal, or maybe a charity) to allow people to donate. I’d certainly send something if there was.
Maybe in the future, once everything is all settled, some kind of tribute book with some of his drawings and pictures of his work? Your call, you know what would be best…
-- Bob
We are all, truly shocked, and saddened at Jody's passing. I first met Jody years ago when he was working out of Tony Swatton's shop in Burbank. He was truly one of the best as an artist and as a friend.
I remember many good times hanging out with him at the shop smoking cigars. He taught me a lot about swords, the creative process, about being a good person and being true to yourself, which he was. He was one-of-a-kind.
I am grateful that I have several pieces by Jody to remember him by. Like all great artists he will live on in the pieces he created, which brought appreciation and joy to so many. This world will miss him. The next world has embraced him.
-- Jeff Urdank, Sherman Oaks, CA
I will always cherish the friendship and experiences that I enjoyed with Jody for the rest of my life. The discussions we had, the philosophies we shared. Just hanging out in his shop or at the Renaissance faire, was a good time. I will miss his stories, his sketches, and the creativity that served to define the person he was.
He was always faithful to himself, in a melancholy way, seeking the true path of artistic progression. He would suffer nothing less.
When he would finish a blade, I wonder who received the greater joy, the person receiving a Samson piece, or himself, who rejoiced in the realization that his work was so greatly cherished.
As long as someone draws breath in awe of his artistry, so too is life infused into the memory of his enduring legacy.
We will miss him greatly, and the tears that are now shed, honor his memory and keep it alive within us. I have some wonderful treasures to remember him by, yet; sadly they cannot replace the lost camaraderie.
He is deservingly, in the company of great artists now. For the rest of us… the world is a dimmer place.
He was a great mentor, a teacher and best of all,……… my friend.
-- Jaan Calderon, Woodland Hills, CA
How can it be that we can no longer hear the Blacksmith's song? The forge is cold, the anvil silent, where has our Master Smith gone? The wind brings the Fenris howl so he was called to Valhalla so they say. Great indeed must be the need of the Gods for them to take our friend away.
Your presence made my life a little less ordinary. You were an artist, a master smith, a visionary. But most of all, you were my friend. Rest in peace Jody my friend. You will be missed.
-- John Reynolds, Arleta, CA
The world has truly lost a great artist! His name will live on in the gifts he created.
-- Scott Haines, Reseda, CA
In Jody, the world has lost a great artist, but more important a great friend. He would give the shirt off of his back if he felt it would comfort you. He was always generous and caring. He was someone I looked up to as a one of a kind artist, a mentor, and a dear friend. No doubt he is now roaming the halls of Valhalla. Jody...may the Gods bless you forever! I will truly miss you. With Love,
-- Billy Rodriguez, Glendale, CA
I didn't know Jody but I guess I can blame/thank him for my interest in swords or also called SAS (sword acquisition syndrome) disease.
I am sure I am grouped in with quite a few people who saw Conan and went absolutely crazy over the swords. As I got a bit older and was able to afford a one of a kind sword my first thought was to get the Atlantean sword, however after seeing other of Jody's pieces/works of art what I bought was two of Jody's creations,one called Jody's curved sword and one called Xerxes,both not just swords or weapons but " works of art".
I made it a habit to check Jody's web page every day to see what was new and was always plotting a way to afford my next purchase.
Then something surprising happened: my wife saw one of his swords (Arjuna) at the Atlanta blade show and had to have it,WOW my wife wanting a sword,I guess she recognized the time and talent it took to make that sword and we bought it on the spot.I am going to miss checking Jody's page every day and to all Jody's family and friends my sincere condolences he will be missed.
Again I never met him but I feel I know him a bit just by getting to own a few of his swords.After reading this you see I have used the word ART along with the word sword a lot, well I collect for two reasons one I love swords but number two and more important to me is what the maker/artist put into them.I do some cutting with them but most of all just sitting and looking at them to me is like owning a fine painting or masterpiece sculpture and Jody was my favorite artist and I feel like we own a small piece of his legacy.
-- Marty and Lynne

I am sorry to be writing you guys an email at such a sad time as this, but I just wanted to say I am sorry for the family of Mr. Samson. I know in my heart that they will miss him a lot.
I am also deeply sorry for all the guys at Albion I know the you guys will not only miss a partner in sword creation, but more so you will miss an incredible friend.
A guy who's life has been dedicated to art and history for many years. May his spirit live on through the many swords and objects that he created. He will live on through all of you at Albion and through all the people that he knew that owned his magnificent works of art.
May Jody be forging in heaven with the Lord at his side.
-- James Parker "Atlantean #299"

Sitting here I cannot believe that one so great as Jody Samson has passed so soon. I have admired this mans work for so long and I cannot believe that this legend has passed so soon. He and his masterpieces will live on in the minds of us forever. My deepest condolences to his family and everyone there at Albion who is his family as well.
If there was ever one who knew the riddle of steel, it was Jody Samson, whose creations would amaze Hephaestus himself. I am sure he will be greatly welcomed and hailed as a legend in the halls of Crom for all eternity. We will miss you,
-- Johnathan Feccia
So many words were left unsaid,
So many thoughts left inside my head.
Yet Jody would always say so much,
With a kind smile or a gentle touch.
So much for the world he had to share,
The talents he had were beyond compare.
I often tried to contemplate the ides that flooded his brain,
The designs of the art he'd left others attempting to feign.
And I am so grateful.
I know a piece of my soul was spliced from his heart, fashioned from his vision, forged from his art.
So many stones, so many questions,
The best memories during so many lessons.
And now i chose a career.
To put my life on the line in so many places,
For so many people with tears in their faces...
And as I watch my fellow soldiers as they sleep through the night, their struggles by day, each mans personal strife.
It occurs to me the depth of his lessons - the strength of my soul and goodness of heart-the influence of him on my life - are far beyond the scope of what I can write.
I love Jody with all my being. There is nothing for him I would not do. This extends to all his "family" friends that to him were always, always true.
Goodbye my friend, my teacher, my inspiration, my source of wisdom, my sense of balance - my family forever!
With the utmost love and respect - god bless - Amen
-- Allen Bridgeman
A great light has gone out on this earth when Jody Samson passed over. He is gone from those of us who knew him and knew of him. Yet an even brighter light now burns in the heavens above thanks to him.
Jody was a long time friend, colleague and just a damn great man. Talented artist, gifted genius and very down to earth in what he did. I will miss him greatly, and I do miss him greatly. As those who have gone before him that we both knew..Alex Collins and Bob Engnath, Jody will be amongst the Greats in the Heavens. Hopefully when my time comes, he will be there, smiling, smoking a Cheroot and just waiting there to greet me with both Alex and Bob.
I am lesser of a man for the loss of Jody, but I am a greater man for knowing him...Few people pass from this earth with any impact on it, Jody is amongst those fortunate few who will live on through his work, and he will never be forgotten.
-- Dr JP Hrisoulas, Bladesmith
i had never really met jody,as such,but had seen and spoke to him on occasion at renfaire in california. his was a quiet wit and one ready to talk knives,swords,and art with any and all who'd but give him the chance.about a year-or-so ago i found one of his pieces-the conan brass claw dagger-in a shop in moreno valley(had to have it,y'know?). then we went to new jersey this past x-mas to be with my fiancee's family. knowing what a sword-freak i am,she said "google swords in new york!"...low-and-behold there was one shop on 58th. st. called mastersmith's! all the way there:58th.st-58th.st-58th.st. the one sword in the whole place that caught my fancy and wouldn't let go was a seaward katana by jody!!! i bought it on the spot sunday the 21st. of dec. and had it shipped home...it was with deep regret and sorrow that i learned of his death the next sat.....it is a shame that so bright a light has gone out of this world...but he is without a doubt shining in the fields of valhalla and arming many a hero and warrior with his artistry and steel!!! may the halls ring loud with the god's huzzahs!!! thank you,jody,once again for blessing me with a piece of your soul and we'll see you anon!
-- ken mcfall, los angeles,ca
I just read about Jody. I'm so sorry to hear the news. I know everyone there was close to him. My prayers go out to his family and all of you that were close to him. He was an incredible talent that I know will be sorely missed. I hope you guys are holding up well. Blessings,
-- Ryan
My wife and I knew Jody as “friend”. (Close to 16years) We would have him over to dinner many times when we lived in Washington and he lived in Portland. Jody would always not want to impose but would always show up (he loved my wife and would always hope that I would die before him) I helped him move to LA and would visit with him there as often as we could. I remember going to the renaissance fairs with him and he always looked as if he was part of that life a dashing cavalier. We had many of conversations with him when he moved from Burbank, (he liked my wife’s voice and would want to talk to her not me) I only wish we could have seen him again. He will be missed and his art will live forever.
-- Jim Beckstrom
A recent quick glance at his webpage, wondering about the latest awe inspiring creations of my old friend from long ago, I was shocked to learn about his passing-way too soon.
Before making his first knife, he drew and painted, wrote poetry, and read anything and everything. I never knew him to go anywhere without a sketchbook, and he would stop mid-conversation to capture the beauty of a landscape, the angles of a stranger's face, or a fantasy castle in his mind's eye from the latest sci-fi book he was reading.
He sometimes said he was born in the wrong century, and I now believe this may have been true. His extraordinary talent in the art of creating knives and swords was uncommon in today's world. He was a good man, passionate about his need to create, and uncompromising in the quality of that endeavor.
He will be remembered lovingly for his strength of spirit, his subtle humor, and an unexpected gentleness shared with those who were not intimated by the intensity of his gaze.
Those of us left behind can only wonder what he would have created next . . . but also be grateful for the time we knew him in this life's journey.
-- Connie (Samson) Cone, Phoenix, AZ

I will never forget January 4th, when I went to Jody’s site just to see if anything was new. A chill touched me when I saw the full-length portrait, and then I saw the dates below.
I can’t describe the stunned, hollow feeling that stole over me as I realized the significance of what I was reading and seeing. The world lost a pair of Great Hands when Jody passed away.
No one could doubt the distinctiveness, the “moment”, of his work. Even friends or guests who are at best indifferent to the subject matter understood when I showed them my Samson pieces, as contrasted with the rest of my collection. Comments would fly. And the expressions of pleasure from those old enough to remember seeing “Conan the Barbarian” in the theater back in ’82, realizing that the man who made THIS PIECE also crafted the notable swords from a movie they remembered from their youth or childhood.
I still remember the opening moments of that movie. I can still feel the shiver that ran down my spine as the molten Father’s Sword took shape, set to the Basil Poledourus soundtrack. The hammering of the drums and the rumble of deep brass was the most perfectly appropriate and dramatic background to the birthing of the weapon on the screen before me. How right, how fitting it seemed for such a beautiful weapon. Weapons of antiquity, and especially swords, have fired my imagination since I was a very young child. I can still feel my desire for the Father’s Sword from that day, and how someday I wished that I could own something so beautiful. So you can imagine the overwhelming feelings of emotion when I opened the box containing “Stick”, my first Samson piece (“Leafblade I”), two years ago, and the same feeling with each of the three other pieces that I am proud to own.
I am 41 years old, and am probably exactly halfway through my lifetime. I knew from the few pictures Jody was no spring chicken, but I looked forward to several years – if not decades – more artistry and craftsmanship from his hands before his passing.
I never knew the man, and I never shook his hand, but it seems to me that the world is a darker and sadder place now that the Far Side of Albion is empty.
-- Ted Myers
I have been a fan of Jody’s work for many years, ever since Conan the Barbarian came out, and was stunned to learn of his death at the end of last year. Even before I started on the path that led me to my current career as a sword smith, I had admired Jody’s work. It was not until the internet grew up that I was able to learn more of him and his continuing creations, and I was able to harbour the dream of being able to meet the man whose artistry was part of the inspiration for myself and many other modern sword smiths. That chance is now lost, but I must say that Jody will live on through the work he has done, and the inspiration he has given to myself and others who love the craft and art of the sword.
-- Peter Lyon, sword smith
I cannot express how saddened I am over the loss of this great man. The wonderful memories of sitting in Tony's shop, just chatting and laughing will be with me always. I made some of Jody's costumes, one of my best memories is walking into the shop and Jody asking "Where's my shirt?"
I have several pieces that Jody made for me and I will cherish them always.
He is at peace in Summerland.
-- Ludmilla Lowery, Eminence, KY

I have Atlantean #82 and Fathers #113 They hang on my wall in a place of Honor, I oil them with care and when I hold them in my hands I am at peace.I once Dreamed of traveling to see Jody Samson with not but the two blades and placing them at his feet asking to learn and be taught the riddle of steel at his forge.I did not go and it shames me to have not tried,for I was weak and Crom laughes at me,but I have had a dream last night,I saw Jody Samson standing with two men,they were examining and commenting on a blade held by Jody,One with a face like a Easter Island statue held a strange book in his hand with the title Necronomicon,the other a large man Like Jody Held a copy of Wierd Tales,They seemed to be welcoming him,I lost them in a grey mist then when it parted I saw... . thousands of Years from now a man entering into a lonely and time lost cave,he comes upon a sword covered in dust,wiping it away the blade shines forth,inspecting it further the Name Jody Samson is revealed... He along with Robert E. Howard,and H.P.Lovecraft were not of this world,not entirely... they like him lived not a man's life but one of future memory.May they Never Die!
-- Timothy Nelson, Destin, Florida

It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Jody Samson, a man who has had an indelible effect on my life. I offer my most sincere condolences to all those that cherished and loved him and hope that you may find peace in the knowledge that he was one of the few people in this world that had the great fortune of being able to do what he loved to do and he did it so very very well. To this day I have a passion for edged beauty that began when I first saw the opening scene of Conan the Barbarian as a child. Even the subsequent knowledge that this was not how a sword was truly created did not efface the sheer majesty and power of his creation. It is still to this day the standard against which a measure any blade that I see. The effect was electrifying. No matter how many times I watch this scene, or hear the soundtrack ( is it even possible to wear down a CD? I'm trying), I get chills all over my body. It is a strange feeling to be so affected by the passing of a person that I did not even know in person. But like all those greats that have affected my life, and then moved on, I am truly saddened not only for those who loved him, but selfishly because I will not see any more of his wondrous blades. Again please accept my most heartfelt sympathies, and I hope that you will keep his magic alive.
John Round

It has been a few years since I have had the opportunity to write to you, and say Hello. My name is Leonard Campbell, now a Sergeant in the U.S. Army, and several years ago I had the distinct pleasure of finding you all, purchasing from you, and now owning the Atlantean, and Father's Swords from the Conan movies. I am at a total loss as to how to give my full respect for the man that was greatly responsible for making that dream a reality. I just read on your website that Jody passed in December last year. Man, that really bothers me. I have been serving now for some time, and we never like to hear that a friend or loved one has passed away. Please accept my deepest condolences for a man that I never had the pleasure of actually meeting, but felt as if I somehow knew for a long time. I have the swords that were crafted by him hanging on my wall, and they will continue to hang there, they will be gazed at with even more pride now if that is possible, as they are a part of his legacy. I still remember when I received them several years ago, they were wrapped in the paper that said that they were sharpened by him. Call me stupid if you'd like, but I have never had reason to have those blades re-sharpened, and I am proud to say that in the honor of a man that was truly great at his craft, those blades will never be touched by another hand again. When they are passed on to my son, he will be told of the importance of this by me, and I know that he will follow my wishes. I believe it to be important that he was the first, and last to sharpen those blades, and so it will be done. To the Albion Family, a great man has departed this life for another, and I am sure that he will have as much of an impact in that life as he had in this one. DO NOT mourn his passing, celebrate his life, his legacy, and the artistry that we are blessed to have because of him. Once again, my deepest condolences for a man that was an excellent craftsman, and considered friend to more than he knew. May the Lord touch him, be with him, and rest his soul. Respectfully,
-- Leonard Campbell SGT US Army Infantry
I knew Jody in the late 70’s and early 80’s mostly. He would come into Carter Sexton Art supplies where I worked and get supplies. We had lunch many times while going over his drawings and sketch books. His knives and swords are beautiful. I am sorry and shocked to hear of his passing. He was so young. He will be truly missed. Fondly,
-- Brenda Lloyd-Peterson

I just heard.  What a loss.  I knew Jody, not as well as I would have liked by a long shot.  We met through mutual friends and spent an afternoon together in his shop in SoCal.  I remember his collection of skulls, that to this day, I still find amazing.  His passion for them and the humor that he found in them I remember like it was yesterday.  We talked shop for hours and I so enjoyed sharing techniques.  He was a man of great artistic passion and great abilities.  He is missed.
-- Greig Fors, Rockett's Forge and Brass Works

It was my joy to be married to Jody for many years.  We shared a unique friendship as well as passion together and his death has created a hole far wider than I might have expected.  Though we were divorced before his death, still he remained in my heart as someone i truly loved. 
He never thought of the price when offering is talents, only of the joy they would bring to others and the pride of his artistry and craftsmanship.  His drive to create kept him in his shop in Burbank into the wee small hours of the morning and found him there every day possible.  It was a place where people could go and talk of philosophy, art, weaponry, creating, fantasy, and oh so many more things. He played a mean game of chess and was deliciously proud of his ability to beat nearly anyone who dared to play him. He had a mind that spanned such an enormous variety of talents that it was hard, knowing him intimately, to know which was his strongest suit.  His drawings, "doodles" were amazing, filling book after book and his stories were small flights of fantasy that delighted those lucky enough to read them.  I remember his adventure with making those famous and infamous Conan swords and the time and meticulous attention to every detail he lavished on them.  I still own the little knives and other marvelous accouterments he gifted me, every one still lovingly displayed and cherished by me.  My children still hold Jody in their hearts as a sort of "father" who introduced them to the marvelous world of fantasy and sword making.  Jody can never be replaced in my heart. He was and will always reign supreme in my love and will always be so very missed. 
-- Sandra Linebarier,
formerly "Sandi Samson"

Dear people at Albion-

Thank you for keeping Jody's memory alive. He was a good, kind incredibly talented man.

Yesterday, on a whim I decided to look up my old friend, Jody Samson, on Facebook and found he had passed nearly four years ago. The danger of knowing someone off and on for years is that part of you assumes there will always be another time that you will run into each other somehow, someplace. 

I thought I'd share with you who knew and respected him, my fond memories of him.

Jody Samson

        The amazing, versatile artist and craftsman with warm brown eyes and a shy smile is….gone. I find it hard to believe I can’t just reach out and rekindle our friendship. Since I last saw him, I've always envisioned him someplace creating beautiful, deadly pieces of art, drawing, sculpting his intricate figurines and writing fanciful stories.

        I remember how I first knew Jody in his shop in the LA area, the handsome older man who made metal into magic; fabulous swords, knives and figurines fit to evoke the old Gods. His was already legend in some circles. I looked with awe at the prolific and varied fruits of his gifted craftsmanship.

By the time I worked Southern Faire Jody had moved to Portland but we chanced to reconnect at the back of Tony’s shop, The Sword in the Stone, when Jody was in southern California visiting.

We shared a memorable weekend in Portland, cooking, eating and playing in the Oregon Science Museum. I still have the movie, Ran, the classic, Kurosawa version of “King Lear” Jody bought for me that weekend. How apropos that this movie of battles of stunning beauty was given to me by a master swordmaker.

My heart holds Jody in with great tenderness as I give a belated fair-well.

Perhaps some day we’ll meet in the Elysian Fields, but until that day good-by.

-- Jo Ellen Larsen/Miranda

If you have a memory of Jody that you would like to share, please feel free to send it to
We are having a private sale of a selection of Jody's remaining custom pieces.
Go here for more information.

WWW http://jodysamson.com

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