Walter Robert Simpson

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Walter Robert Simpson, "Bob", was a man who loved life, living it to the fullest. He fought hard to remain on this earth. Bob lost that battle as the sun was rising and the birds were chirping on the morning of April 30, 2016, just shy of his 86th birthday. His daughter, Carolyn Simpson Scott, M.D. was privileged to be holding his hand as he passed. We will remember him for his bright smile and wry sense of humor despite the hardships he endured in the last months of his life. His brilliant mind and caring nature were evident in all that he accomplished. Bob was born in Cleveland, Ohio and spent his early childhood in the Village of Oak Park, Chicago, IL. His family subsequently moved back to Cleveland, Ohio where Bob attended University School. His proudest accomplishments there were salutatorian, captain of the varsity soccer team and editor-in-chief of the senior yearbook, The Mabian of 1948. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Williams College in Williamstown, MA, where he was an active member of the DKE fraternity. Bob spent his summers during college working as an athletic director at the luxurious summer resort hotel of Chalfonte Haddon Hall in Atlantic City, N.J. There he met and married the most important woman in his life, Margaret Paisley Johnson. After obtaining a Master's in Business Administration at Harvard Business School, he proudly served as a supply corps officer at Atlantic Fleet Headquarters in Norfolk, VA, leaving the U.S. Navy as a Lieutenant. Bob and his wife, Mig then settled in the Philadelphia area where he joined the investment counsel firm of Cooke and Bieler, Inc. Working as an equity analyst, he eventually rose to position as President and CEO. His outside interests included coaching little league, managing ice hockey teams, poetry writing, traveling, American art and performing as a leading man in many local theater and musical productions at the Annenberg Center, Abbey Stage Door, Hedgerow Theater, Walnut Street Theater, Philadelphia Drama Guild and with the Rosemont Rollicks. He studied stage acting under Jasper Deeter and Rose Shulmann and vocal training under the Broadway star, Wilbur Evans. Although his children remember him for his roles in musicals such as "The Sound of Music" and "Oliver", his favorite role was as Hank in "Boys in the Band". In the mid 1970's, Bob moved to New York City to pursue his passion for stage and acting. Inspired by the great actor, Laurence Olivier, Bob became a member of Screen Actors Guild, AFTRA and Actors' Equity. Bob worked on industrial films, appeared in multiple soap operas and TV commercials including one for Old Milwaukee Beer as well as the spokesman for Time Magazine and NY Bank. He also played the role of Sheriff Pat Garrett in the CBS-TV Repertoire Workshop, "A Bullet for Billy the Kid". Bob eventually moved back to the Philadelphia area returning to the business of investment management, with his own company, TobyVentures. In addition, he started Pun's, A Wonderland of Toys in Bryn Mawr, Pa with his partner, Anthony Moy. Ultimately, Bob retired to Bellingham, WA where he resided for the past 19 years. Bob's grandfather, Walter Scott Simpson, was a significant influence in his life, teaching him the importance of education. Education and philanthropy have remained foci in his life. He has helped to educate many individuals through college and graduate school. He has strongly supported his high school, University School in Cleveland, Ohio where he was a life Trustee and The Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr, PA, where his daughter and granddaughter attended. His strong patriotism and belief in the democratic system lead to the formation of the W. Robert Simpson Chair in Entrepreneurship at University School. Bob's love of the performing arts recently transformed into the opening of the Simpson Center for the Performing Arts at The Baldwin School. The Whatcom Art Museum also benefitted from Bob's interests and service where he was a former member of the Board. Bob loved all the students he helped educate and expects that they will all give back and contribute to work globally or individually for the betterment of this world. His regret in leaving his mortal life is that he can't continue to participate in his students' lives, although we know he will be watching over them. His scholarships at University School, Millay Colony of the Arts, Whatcom Community College and PeaceHealth will continue his legacy. Bob is survived by his loving daughter, Carolyn Simpson Scott, his son-in-law, Paul Ethan Scott, his two sons, Michael Robert Simpson and Jeffrey Scott Simpson, his granddaughters, Cynthia Scott Praisoody, Sara Moriah Scott, Adrienne Kathleen Scott and 3 great-grandchildren. He is pre-deceased by infant son, Robert Scott Simpson and infant daughter, Joan Margaret Simpson. Bob felt blessed by close friends for much of his life, Dave and Nancy Andrews, Spence Meschter, Bob Parlanti, Jim Doyle and most especially Anthony Moy and his former wife, Margaret Simpson Ryan. The family wishes to thank Gracious Living Adult Family Home, Whatcom Hospice, the Threshold Singers, Home Attendant Care and especially Finau Fotu, who loved and cared for him until his passing. A service will be held on Saturday May 7, 11:30 am, at Greenacres Memorial Park, 5700 Northwest Drive, Ferndale, Washington as a celebration of Bob's life and his 86th birthday. Please feel free to bring a birthday card to be placed in Bob's memory box. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Whatcom Hospice, the Whatcom Community College Foundation, Threshold Singers or a local charity of your choice. Visit to leave condolences.
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Published in Bellingham Herald on May 5, 2016
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