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Funeral for retired engineer, chemist and business owner Alvin Samuels is set for January 2

ALVIN SAMUELS, a retired engineer and chemist, who had worked as a deep drilling engineer before founding his own companies for treating hydrogen sulfide in oil and natural gas, died at East Jefferson Hospital on Friday, Dec. 30, after a brief illness. He was 88.


Samuels grew up in Paragould, AR. and graduated from Western Military Academy as their highest ranking cadet ever. He then attended the University of Illinois, majoring in engineering, chemistry, and physics, graduating in 1956. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army and first came to New Orleans in 1967 as a deep drilling engineer with Shell Oil Company. Along with his team he was involved in some of the deepest drilling ever in the Gulf of Mexico. 

Because of the process he developed for treating hydrogen sulfide in oil and later in natural gas, he started the Ironite Products Company and later the SulfaTreat Company. After retirement, he studied for a master’s degree in Jewish Studies at Spertus College in Chicago and was the author of two books.

In recent years, he served on the Board of Advisors of Lawrenceville Plasma Physics, pioneers in the development of fusion energy.

Samuels was a long-time supporter of the New Orleans Jewish community.   He served as a vice president of Shir Chadash Conservative Congregation, was the 2005 campaign chairman for the Jewish Federation of New Orleans and was active in promoting the purchase of Israel Bonds, for which he received an award. 

This past spring he was honored by the Jewish Community Day School of New Orleans for his work and generosity. He was similarly honored by the Austin Jewish Academy following Hurricane Katrina.

He was predeceased by his son William Samuels in 2021 and in 2000 by his daughter-in-law Patti Arnold Samuels for whom the Jewish Community Day School was named.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Madilyn Hecht Samuels, his sons Mark Samuels (Kara) and Gregory Samuels (Melanie) and his widowed daughter-in-law Jennifer Samuels, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Funeral services will take place on Monday, Jan. 2, 2023 from Shir Chadash Conservative Congregation, 3737 W. Esplanade Avenue in Metairie with Rabbi Scott Hoffman officiating.  Interment will follow at Chevra Thilim Memorial Park, 5000 Iberville St. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations are suggested to the William Samuels Memorial Fund at Shir Chadash or the Jewish Community Day School.  Arrangements are by Lake Lawn Metairie Funeral Home.  Information 504-486-6331 or online at

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