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Victim was 'friend to everyone'

February 07, 1998|By LAURA ERNDE

Victim was 'friend to everyone'

WILLIAMSPORT - Samuel Lease Wolfe Jr. visited his grandson every day and was the kind of man who would do anything for you, his family said Friday.

"He was a friend to everybody. He loved everyone," said his mother, Alice Wolfe.

Police found the body of Samuel Wolfe, 59, in the basement of his home on Clear Spring Road in Williamsport. He was choked and beaten to death.

Misty Hiles, 24, said her dad came to her house in Clear Spring every day to see his 19-month-old grandson, Kenneth Eli Hiles.

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Often, he would bring clothes or toys for the boy, she said. For Kenneth's birthday in August, Samuel Wolfe bought him a miniature tractor-trailer.

"It came to a point where I had to say, 'Dad, you have to stop.' I only have so much room," Hiles said.

"He just talked about that baby all the time. It was his life really," Alice Wolfe said.

Besides his grandson, Samuel Wolfe's other pride-and-joy was a 1965 Mustang. He belonged to a club that shows antique cars for charity.

Wolfe worked for more than 20 years at Redlands Brick in Williamsport, according to Barry Miller, manager of safety environmentals and quality at the plant.

He was a forklift operator, Miller said.

About five years ago, Wolfe went on disability. He has had constant pain in his legs since an accident, his family said.

Wolfe spent his days visiting his family.

He would also take his elderly neighbor to the doctor's office and the grocery store. He would take his mother out to eat at Railroad Junction, Kentucky Fried Chicken or Long John Silver's.

The Wolfes are a close family. Alice Wolfe had two of her sons, Samuel and Ralph, living just a few doors away from her.

Friday night they gathered at Alice Wolfe's house to mourn. The phone was ringing all day with condolences.

"I'm glad someone cares," Alice Wolfe said.

The family could think of no motive for the killing.

The man who is charged with murder, Robert Ray Eckard, 20, grew up next to the Wolfes.

"It's a shock. You just can't believe it," Hiles said.

Recently, Wolfe had a break-in at his house, Hiles said.

Hiles had warned her father to get an alarm system, she said.

Staff writer Marlo Barnhart contributed to this story.

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