CONNEAUT — Barbara J. (Williams) Simpson, age 81, passed away unexpectedly on the evening of Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013, at UH-Conneaut Medical Center.
This beloved mother and grandmother will be remembered for her strength, generosity, and devotion to family. It will be a treasured memory for the family that she was able to be together with all of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren on Christmas Day.
Barbara Jean was born Feb. 24, 1932, in Conneaut, the second child of Howard C. and Rose T. (Minch/Grubke) Williams. She grew up attending Amboy UMC and local schools where she was an excellent student. As a youth, she developed a love of animals and the outdoors, engaged in numerous creative and athletic pursuits, and along with her siblings, had wonderful fun with her many cousins and their families.
Barbara graduated with the Rowe High School Class of 1950, along with her beau and future husband, Merritt Leonard Simpson Jr. They were married Dec. 16 that year, and in the ensuing years they bought a home and had two children. As a young mother, Barbara was active in various mothers’ clubs, Scout leadership, PTA, and her church. Eventually she began working as a secretary at Lakeview Elementary School in Conneaut. During her tenure in this position, she began to pursue her own life goal of becoming a teacher. Barbara became a non-traditional student at Kent State University and spent years taking classes while continuing to work full-time and maintain her active support of family and community. When she was nearly 40 years old, she proudly graduated with her B.S. in Education degree, and subsequently spent most of her teaching career in the Conneaut School System until her retirement in the late 1990s.
Barbara will be remembered as a multi-dimensional woman: independent, intelligent, talented, and infused with a quiet spirit and determination. She was an accomplished homemaker and cook, seamstress and crafter, but also an adventurer. She enjoyed water skiing, owned and rode her own motorcycle, and was still driving a four-wheeler at 81. She loved to travel, and along with her husband, took all their grandchildren on trips all across the country- encouraging in them a love of travel and adventure as well.
Barbara lived her life with great purpose. As a woman of faith, she continued to be active in her church throughout her life, and served on the board and as President of the Child Care Center for many years. She was a lifelong supporter of the arts in the community, and was a long-time board member of the Conneaut Community Center for the Arts.
Perhaps her most important legacy was her patience and generosity; Barbara lived her life so it served as a model and inspiration to her family. As matriarch, she was the embodiment of love and leadership in the family. Her impact is incalculable, and she will be dearly missed.
Barbara was preceded in death by her parents; husband; and a sister, Betty J. Phillips.
She is survived by her son, David (Pam) Simpson; daughter, Terry Simpson; and grandchildren, Mathew (Kim) Helfinstine, Mindy (Jeremy) Bisbee, Jennifer (Joel Specht) Simpson, Beth Simpson, and Neil (Jennifer Lyn) Simpson. Surviving great-grandchildren are Alissa Bertolasio, Grace and Liam Bisbee, Jaden Helfinstine, Jamie and Nikki Robson, and Leo Simpson. Barbara is also survived by her brother, Howard Williams Jr. of Ashtabula.
The Funeral Service will be held 11 a.m., Monday, Dec. 30th, at MARCY FUNERAL HOME AND CREMATION CENTER, 208 Liberty St., Conneaut.
Calling hours will be from 3 to 5 p.m., Today, Dec. 29th, at the Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to New Leaf United Methodist Church or the Ashtabula County Humane Society. Envelopes will be available at the funeral home.
Please sign the guestbook at www.marcyfuneralhome.com and starbeacon.com.