5/10/20 – We are very sorry to report the passing of Dee (Sampson) Hedman. Dee was a well loved Sawbill Canoe Outfitters crew member in the early 1960s. Before that, her parents, Jim and Fran Sampson, brought their young children to camp in the Sawbill Lake Campground every summer.
First and foremost, Dee was loved for her cheerful and loving personality. She was warm and funny, with a very distinctive and individual laugh. If you were with Dee for five minutes, you received the gift of her infectious laugh.
While working at Sawbill, Dee attracted the attention of a young employee of our neighbor, Sawbill Lodge. Steve Hedman worked at the Lodge, but he spent much of his free time standing in the corner of our store, staring nervously at Dee. She thought, justifiably, that he was “really weird.”
Steve was persistent and the following summer Dee discovered that in addition to being weird, Steve was also intelligent, fun and loving. Romance bloomed and they were married in 1966. They were the first of many couples who have met at Sawbill and ended up together for life. Their honeymoon, unsurprisingly, was a BWCA Wilderness canoe trip. The ’66 crew decorated their canoe appropriately, creating a story that has passed down through the decades. In 2015, Dee and Steve returned to Sawbill to celebrate their 49th wedding anniversary and the honeymoon decorations were reprised. While they aren’t the only Sawbill couple to wind up married, they are perhaps one of the more inspiring – especially to those of us who are newly married. Their love and happiness always radiated from them, and their children, whenever they visited.
Dee and Steve lived in Duluth, so they, and their three children, were frequent Sawbill campers over the years. In the 1990s, Dee’s parents, Jim and Fran, returned to Sawbill to serve as campground hosts for several years, bringing Dee back into Sawbill life even more frequently. While Dee lived with a diagnosis of Alzheimers for the last several years, she was surrounded by care from Steve, as well as her extended family and friends.
Dee leaves a virtual army of friends and family who loved her very much. She will be remembered fondly as an integral part of the Sawbill family.
-Bill and Clare