OBITUARY

Edwin E Simpson

August 15, 1924April 30, 2019
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Edwin Earl Simpson, 94, passed away at King’s Grant on Tuesday, April 30, 2019 from congestive heart failure diagnosed after suffering a fall with fractures. He was born on August 15, 1924 in Reidsville, NC to Ethel Smith Simpson and James Paul Simpson. He moved to Martinsville at a young age, and it was his home for the rest of his life. In addition to his parents he was predeceased by an older brother, James Paul, Jr., who died young and a younger brother, Jimmy Grey Simpson.

Known to friends and associates as Earl, he is survived by his wife, Irene Lawson Simpson, and a daughter, Deborah Sue Simpson, both of Martinsville. Also by a son, Danny Earl Simpson, married to Kathleen Ann McKenzie who live in White Hall, MD and one grandchild, Paul Madison Simpson of Albuquerque, NM.

He graduated from Martinsville High in 1943 and was immediately drafted into the Army reaching the rank of Colonel before his Honorable Discharge. He took classes at Purdue University before enrolling at VA Tech on the G I Bill. He lettered in baseball at VPI. He was an active member of Chatham Heights Baptist Church and later First Baptist Church. He worked a series of jobs leading to a long-held position as Personnel Supervisor at Continental Can Corp which merged into Stone Container.

Throughout his life Earl was an outdoorsman and athlete. He hunted and fished often, and won Opening Day/Largest Trout in consecutive years. In addition to college, he played minor league baseball. Later in life he took up golf and played into his 80s. He was a regular on the Nautilus at the local YMCA. He also liked to bowl and could jitterbug good as any. In addition to the YMCA, he was a member of the Elk’s, Piedmont Arts, and American Legion. He was an honorable respected friend-seeking reverent husband and father. Unfortunately he wasn’t above punning. (Pardon me Roy, is that the cat that chewed your new shoes? Don’t even ask.)

The funeral Service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, May 6, 2019 at First Baptist Church of Martinsville. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the funeral. In lieu of flowers the family requests that memorial contributions be made to the following: First Baptist Church of Martinsville, 23 Starling Avenue, Martinsville, VA 24112, Grace Network, P.O. Box 3902, Martinsville VA 24115, Mountain Valley Hospice, 730 E. Church Street-Suite 13, Martinsville, VA 24112, or a charity of the donor’s choice.

  • FAMILY

  • James Paul Simpson, Father
  • Ethel Smith Simpson, Mother
  • James Paul Simpson Jr., Brother
  • Jimmy Grey Simpson, Brother
  • Irene Lawson Simpson, Wife
  • Deborah Sue Simpson, Daughter
  • Danny Earl Simpson, Son
  • Kathleen McKenzie Simpson, Daughter-in-law
  • Paul Madison Simpson, Grandson
  • DONATIONS

  • First Baptist Church of Martinsville
  • Grace Network
  • Mountain Valley Hospice

Services

  • Funeral Service Monday, May 6, 2019

Memories

Edwin E Simpson

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Jake Keller

May 3, 2019

Dear Irene, Debby, and Danny,

Earl was the exact definition of a "Good Man". We are saddened by the news of his death. I greatly regret that we cannot be there with you on Monday - we are not in the country - but we will be thinking of you and sharing your loss.

In accordance with your wishes we will donate to the First Baptist Church in Earl's name.

Love to you all,
Jake and Barbara

Lynnette Kyle

May 2, 2019

I met Mr. and Mrs. Simpson through the Martinsville Elks Lodge. Mr. Simpson always attended our Veteran's Appreciation events and I called him my "favorite WW II Veteran". He was always smiling and always gave me hugs when he saw me. I will certainly miss his smiling face and those hugs. Attached is picture of Mr. Simpson and I at the Veteran's Appreciation event at the lodge in 2015; the picture was in the paper that year about the event. He told me we were celebrities.
He will be missed. Prayers for Mrs. Simpson and the family.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Wide-eyed baby Earl in Reidsville NC.

FROM THE FAMILY

Earl the toddler investigating the brush.

FROM THE FAMILY

Boyhood Drum & Bugle Corps in Martinsville, VA.

FROM THE FAMILY

Martinsville High football.

FROM THE FAMILY

Senior Dress-Up Day with a Dennis the Menace vibe.

FROM THE FAMILY

Rare photo of Earl as baseball player.

FROM THE FAMILY

1943 high school graduation.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Wide-eyed baby Earl in Reidsville NC.

FROM THE FAMILY

Earl the toddler investigating the brush.

FROM THE FAMILY

Boyhood Drum & Bugle Corps in Martinsville, VA.

FROM THE FAMILY

Martinsville High football.

FROM THE FAMILY

Senior Dress-Up Day with a Dennis the Menace vibe.

FROM THE FAMILY

Rare photo of Earl as baseball player.

FROM THE FAMILY

1943 high school graduation.

FROM THE FAMILY

Straight from high school to the army. Basic training in Texas.

FROM THE FAMILY

Army pals at the swimming hole.

Biography

Edwin Earl Simpson was born on August 15, 1924 in Reidsville, NC to James Paul Simpson and Ethel Smith Simpson. His Dad, known as Paul, was asked to supervise the start of a sewing room for a knitting mill in Martinsville, VA. He moved the family of 3 when Earl was pre-school age. They settled on Pine Street which was Paul's home, eventually 214 Pine, the rest of his life. The mill became Sale Knitting and later Tultex.

Earl attended Martinsville public schools and from a young age participated in a Drum & Bugle Corps. He played all sports with baseball his favorite and graduated high school in 1943. After graduation he was immediately drafted into the Army, taking basic training in Texas before receiving an Honorable Discharge in 1944 for medical reasons. The Army Corps of Engineers had him take classes at Purdue University. Using the GI Bill he enrolled at Virginia Tech where he lettered in baseball.

He met his future wife, Irene Elizabeth Lawson, after whistling at her on the streets of Martinsville then buying her dinner. They were married in December 1946 and Earl left school to earn a living. He played minor league baseball for the Carolina Triplets out of Leaksville hitching rides from Martinsville to his games. One day with ride offers rare, he decided to hitchhike both directions. Whichever produced a ride was where he would go. Northbound was the ride he caught and his baseball career ended. He worked a long series of jobs, often more than one at a time, including bookkeeper and short order cook. He was hired as a Buyer and Personnel Supervisor at Continental Can Corp which later was merged into Stone Container. He held that position until he retired. Irene worked for Lee Telephone, later Centel, until her retirement.

Irene and Earl's first child, Deborah Sue, was born in September of 1947. The family built a home on Laurel Lane in Chatham Heights. They had a son, Danny Earl, in January 1949. Both children attended Martinsville public schools, classes of 1965 and 1967. Debby received a Bachelor's Degree from Wake Forest University and a Master's from Virginia Tech. Danny took Bachelor's and Master's Fine Arts Degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University and The Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. The family was active in their membership at Chatham Heights Baptist Church. In 1962 they were the first owners of a new home on Clarke Road in Druid Hills and switched their membership to First Baptist Church where's Earl's Mom and Dad were members.

All his life Earl preferred being outdoors. He hunted and fished with the seasons. He was one of those guys wading the Smith River on Opening Day and won awards in consecutive years for largest trout caught. He belonged to a group that hunted out of a club in Amelia County, VA. Hunting trips often coincided with Thanksgiving week and dinner was what he got that year. He'd fish anywhere a line could get wet. He enjoyed beach trips with family and friends.

Earl also bowled and golfed and danced. He belonged to the Elk's and American Legion. He and Irene have one grandchild, Paul Madison McKenzie Simpson, born in October 1983, the son of Danny and his wife, Kathleen McKenzie. Earl frequented the YMCA and had a long standing resolution to meet a new friend every day. At Clarence's on Tuesday nights or Hugo's on Wednesday he had to be sharp to keep track of all the people he knew.

Church activities and restaurant meals were favored activities into his 90s. When asked on his 94th birthday about his life at that point he responded, "I feel blessed". There had been several falls, numerous breaks over his last decade. A fall, going out to eat, caused a few more hairline breaks in March. At age 94 health issues compounded and overcame him on 4/30/2019 in Hospice Care at King's Grant. He really wanted to be home. Bless his Soul.