John Lewis Simpson passed away peacefully on April 7, 2020.
Dad was born in September of 1939 in Marfa, Texas. He was the second eldest sibling with twin little brothers and one elder sister. During his high school years it was widely known that if anyone wanted to race "Johnny" had the car in town to beat. After being high school sweethearts, mom and dad married in 1957 while dad was home on a three-day leave from the Army National Reserves. Between 1958 and 1964 they had 3 children, Kari, Charlotte and John Jr. In the summer of 1963 he moved his family from Texas to Thousand Oaks, California to accept a job sewing parachutes for the Mercury & Apollo flights. He went on to complete a distinguished career in aerospace including 35 years with Northrop Grumman Corp. He received many awards for his achievements along the way. In 1968, astronaut Wally Schirra presented him with the coveted silver Snoopy award in recognition of his contribution to the Apollo program. As kids we all remember being up in the middle of the night with our pillows on the living room floor excited to watch each Apollo lift off. Dad rarely talked about his work as we were growing up. What we knew of dad was that he could fix anything, took us camping regularly on weekends, made the best BBQ ribs, almost always caught the biggest fish, could water ski while smoking a cigarette AND without losing the fishing hat he always wore, loved a corn dog and chocolate shake after riding motorcycles at Indian Dunes, would take off into the waves scuba diving while we played in the sand at the beach with mom, built beautiful furniture and wooden clocks.....so many memories. Dad was adventurous. He skydived, took up mountaineering and climbed Mt Whitney, loved flying and owned his own plane, dove for abalone in the kelp beds of California and fossilized shark teeth in the blue holes of Florida. We were so fortunate to have such an extraordinary father. His 6 grandchildren will remember him building their bug cages and treasure chests, helping them catch lizards, feeding PJ the blue jay peanuts in the garage, telling them they were "full of prunes" and always being a loving and supportive Papa. He was so proud of all of his grandchildren. In 1995 dad retired and they moved from California to Twin Lakes Idaho. Dad loved his tractor, woodworking in his shop and the peace and quiet of the woods.
Dad is survived by his wife of 62 years, Nell Simpson. One sister, Ellen Joyce Pittman of Hollywood Alabama. Three children; Kari Mack (Bill) of Twin Lakes Idaho, Charlotte Clevenger (Shawn) of Twin Lakes Idaho and John Simpson Jr (Cindy) of Peyton Colorado. Six grandchildren; Jordan Mack of Seattle Washington, Kelsey Mack (Donavon) of Post Falls Idaho, Molly Tiemeyer of Post Falls Idaho, Emily McHenry of Portland Oregon, Tyler Simpson (Megan) of Bayfield Colorado, Erica Pashia (Eric) of Bend Oregon. And four adorable great grandchildren, Riley, Cooper, Evie and Parker.
Dad, We'll love you forever and miss you terribly. You made us all better and we'll remember all you taught us as we go through our lives.
A family gathering will be held at a later time to celebrate dad's life.