Richard Lee Simpson
March 29, 1945 – January 11, 2020
Richard Lee (Dick) Simpson (74) passed away on January 11, 2020 in Huntsville, AL. Born in Birmingham, AL, March 29, 1945, to the late Flora D. and Woodrow W. Simpson. He is survived by two children, Stephen Simpson of Tuscaloosa and Christina Simpson of Baltimore, MD; a sister, Sylvia Arnold of Birmingham; a beloved aunt, Mary Eiland of Dora; one niece and nephew, and many cousins. Dick grew up in Wylam and graduated from Ensley HS. He graduated from the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa in May 1968, with a BS degree in Marketing & Business. Dick completed USAF Officer Training School in Oct. 1968 and USAF pilot training in Nov. 1969. He was assigned to fly B-52H bombers, 17th Bomb Wing, 34th Bomb Squadron at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH. In Dec. 1970 he deployed to U-Tapao AB, Thailand where he flew 70+ combat bombing missions as a co-pilot. A number of those missions were flown in support of Lam Son 719, a major ARVN incursion operation into Laos to attack a North Vietnamese HQ location. Upon returning home from SE Asia, he was assigned to a top Stan-Eval crew that was subsequently selected to represent the 17th BW in the 1971 Strategic Air Command Bombing & Navigation Competition. That crew won the overall bombing and overall navigation trophies and in April 1972 was assigned to RAF Marham for two months in England to compete in Great Britain’s Royal Air Force Bomb-Nav competition. On multiple training missions, Dick flew low-level training on an air route that covered most of Wales, Scotland and England. He often described the sights and memories from that assignment as beautiful and unforgettable. Upon returning to the U.S., Dick was promoted to Aircraft Commander and was given his own crew to lead. Dick left the AF in 1973 with the rank of Captain and a series of experiences that he treasured for the rest of his life. Dick returned to work for IBM’s Large System Sales division in Birmingham and was promoted to IBM DPD HQ, White Plains, NY in 1978. Dick continued to work in the NYC & DC metro areas for IBM and other large companies until 2009. During his CT/NYC years, Dick was an avid ballet fan and attended American Ballet Theater classical ballet performances about six times a year. From 1986-1992 Dick tired of the computer world and formed a residential construction company specializing in Georgian and Federal architecture. He designed luxury period homes and acted as general contractor in historic restoration projects for clients in CT, NY, MD, VA, PA and DC. It was a wonderful experience that was cut short by changes in federal tax law that shrank the historic restoration market. Though living in Baltimore at the time, Dick returned to work for Hitachi in NYC for 6-7 years & then worked as a private business consultant for most of the last twenty years in the DC Metro area & later in Alabama, with the last seven years focused on NASA in Huntsville. Visitation will be on Tuesday, January 14, from 11 a.m. until noon, at Rideout’s Valley Chapel in Homewood. Funeral Service will be at 12:00. A military burial service will take place at 2:45 pm at the Alabama National Cemetery, 3133 Highway 119, Montevallo, AL 35115.
- Visitation Tuesday, January 14, 2020
- Funeral Service Tuesday, January 14, 2020
- The Rite of Burial will be at Alabama National Cemetery Tuesday, January 14, 2020
Richard Lee Simpson
January 14, 2020
Richard, my first cousin. Our paths separated quite early, yet I will always remember your ready smile. Your mother, Flora and sister, Sylvia in Wylam where we attended elementary school. You accomplished quite a bit in your life; and I am honored to have known you for a brief time. God bless and keep your family in HIS perfect care at this time of remembrance and grievance.