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Samuel King 01/27/2024

Samuel E. King, aged 76, from New Richmond, WI, embarked on his Next Great Adventure on Jan. 27, 2024, surrounded by family and friends, just as he journeyed through his physical life.
The passing of this respected Vietnam War veteran, decorated combat Marine, and loyal friend will create a void in the hearts of those who cherished him, yet their lives are enriched for having crossed paths with him.
Born on April 22, 1947, in Newland, NC, to Bill and Bernice (Carpenter) King, Sam grew up on the family farm, enjoying days of hunting and fishing when not in school, playing football, or assisting with the rural chores.
In 1969, following his father’s footsteps, a WWII veteran, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving four years, including combat duty in the Vietnam War. As an infantryman, he faced some of the war’s toughest challenges. His nickname “Tunnel Rat” stemmed from his task of solo reconnaissance of enemy tunnels armed with only a flashlight, mirror on a long stick, and a pistol – some tunnels still occupied. His smaller stature allowed him to navigate these tunnels.
Later, he was assigned to a team of Marines in the CAP Unit. They lived and worked in native villages and organized the locals to defend themselves. Sam was honored with the Bronze Star for his bravery, received a Purple Heart for injuries sustained in combat along with the R.V.N. Cross of Gallantry with Palm. His injuries made it impossible for him to rejoin the infantry, which led him to return to civilian life in 1973.
Relocating to Alaska, he joined the thriving oil industry and met Kaye Lynne “Charli” Kastens from New Richmond, WI. They wed on Aug. 16, 1985, in Anchorage. After traveling they settled in New Richmond in 1990, they raised their sons: Ezekiel “Zeke” in Portland, OR; Orren in New Richmond; and enjoyed time with his older children: Samuel Eric (North Carolina), Crystal (Tennessee), and Aaron (Arizona).
An active member of the Wisconsin War Eagles Chapter of the Leathernecks Motorcycle Club, Sam rode thousands of miles with the club to various events across states. He served as the War Eagles’ chaplain and was a highly respected travel companion.
Survived by his wife, Charli; sons, Ezekiel King (Minerva Mansfield), Orren King (Brittney Lentz), Aaron King (Kelly); daughter, Crystal Callaway-Ricker (Jeff Birchfield); sister, Sylvia (Gerald ”Skip”) Sullens; six grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will take place at 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 21, 2024, at Prairieview Covenant Church, 1396 210th Ave., New Richmond. Visitation will be held two hours before the service. Following the service, Sam’s favorite meal of Biscuits and Gravy will be served. The service will be live-streamed via a link below the obituary.
The final ride and interment was on Monday, April 22, from New Richmond to the Northern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Spooner, WI. The final ride met at Prairieview Covenant Church (1396 210th Ave New Richmond WI 54017) with kickstands up at 9AM. Interment was at 12 noon in Northern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery. Arrangements by Bakken-Young Funeral & Cremation Services.


Click here to watch the recording of Samuel King’s service.



  • DWIGHT E WOLTER Posted January 29, 2024 4:44 pm

    so sorry for the loss of a great man.. always a fun time talking and catching up with him. he was always surrounded by a great group.. Most of whom served our great country… God now has him without any pain and suffering…. Til we meet again

  • Slammer Posted January 30, 2024 7:19 am

    Miss ya Tunnel Rat, Fair winds and following seas brother. LFFL, NFNLB

  • Looney Posted January 30, 2024 10:41 am

    T-Rat will always be with us He’s our forever Angel now! Rest my friend in Gods arms you deserve it!!! May God Bless you Charlie my loving thoughts are with you and the family!!

  • La Bamba Posted January 30, 2024 1:01 pm

    Many days went bye were he kept on fighting. Not knowing when will always be our mystery. As I send warm thoughts with heavenly Prayers. I’ll continue to Pray for all that Rode with him, knew him personally, and Loved him Deeply. With deepest sympathy may his memories bring you Peace, Comfort and Joy! Watch over us Tunnel Rat.

  • Debbie Carpenter Posted January 31, 2024 6:39 pm

    Love you Cuz. Give Mike a hug from me.

  • Monster Posted January 31, 2024 6:45 pm

    Ride In Paradise Brother Tunnel Rat. You are already dearly missed by us all. NFNLB

  • Lori Posted January 31, 2024 7:23 pm

    So glad I was able to know this wonderful man. May your wing fly you faster than your bike did.

  • Terry and Denny Hakes Posted February 1, 2024 10:59 am

    Our prayers are with you and the boys, Charli, as you go through this very difficult time. Sam will be dearly missed.

  • Mel Zehm, VFW Chaplain Posted February 12, 2024 2:25 pm

    From your VFW family, we wish you all the best as you mourn Sammy’s passing. Thank you for supporting him through his end of life challenges. Thank you for his service to our country and the very valuable member to our VFW post. Our thoughts and prayers go out to your entire family.

  • Jody Dunn Posted February 28, 2024 8:31 pm

    So sorry for your loss of Sam. Please know my offer of beds for your out of town guests still stands.

  • Mac Gyver Posted April 6, 2024 2:43 am

    Not a day goes by that I don’t think of you Brother. I miss the days of good company and great music on your deck…
    I love you Brother
    Semper Fi

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