John Ely Simpson, age 93, died on Tuesday, July 20, 2013.
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Born in Charlotte on November 28, 1919, Mr. Simpson was the son of John William Simpson and Elsie Ely Simpson. He lived most of his life in Savannah, attending public schools and Armstrong Junior College, and graduated in 1941from the University of Georgia, where he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.
Mr. Simpson served in World War II as a Captain in the U.S. Marine Corps. As a member of the First Marine Division, he was wounded at Guadalcanal and later served at Marine Corps Headquarters, in Arlington, Va.
Following the war, Mr. Simpson attended Yale Law School, graduating in October 1947. He was admitted to the Georgia Bar in 1948 and practiced law in Atlanta and Savannah until his retirement in 1995. He was a partner in Miller, Simpson & Tatum, and its predecessor law firms. He served as President of the Savannah Bar Association, President of the Estate Planning Council of Savannah, Chairman of the Fiduciary Law Section of the State Bar of Georgia, and Fellow of the American College of Trust & Estate Counsel. He was a member of the State Bar of Georgia, the Savannah Bar Association, and the American Bar Association.
Mr. Simpson was also involved in a number of community organizations, including serving as Chairman of the Board of Managers of the Savannah Public Library, counsel for the Historic Savannah Foundation and the Junior League of Savannah, and a curator of the Georgia Historical Society. He served as a Director of Savannah Foods & Industries Inc., Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Savannah Country Day School, President of the Savannah Golf Club, and Governor of the Society of the Colonial Wars in the State of Georgia. He was a member of the Oglethorpe Club, the Century Club, and the Cotillion Club. He was also a member of the Episcopal Church, and had served as a lay reader.
Mr. Simpson was a man of honor and integrity, a true gentleman, and had many friends and many interests. He was a member of a regular golf group, dove and quail hunting groups, a poker club, and the Romeos. He was a voracious reader and loved gardening. He enjoyed planning trips and traveling, and he took great joy in annual family visits to Highlands, N.C.
Mr. Simpson is survived by his wife of 57 years, Marjorie "Sissie" McKinnon Simpson; son, Garey Lambert Simpson (and his wife, Cynthia), of Marietta; daughter, Ethelyn Nightingale Simpson, of Athens; son, John Ely Simpson Jr., of Savannah; grandchildren, Katherine Simpson Spencer (and her husband, Eric), Garey Lambert Simpson Jr., John Ely Simpson III, and Marshall McKinnon Simpson; and his great-granddaughter, Addison Leigh Spencer.
A graveside service was held at Bonaventure Cemetery on July 23, 2013. After the service, Mr. Simpson's family and friends gathered at a reception at the Oglethorpe Club to celebrate a life well-lived.
Gamble Funeral Service, Savannah, was in charge of the arrangements.
Published in Athens Banner-Herald on Aug. 1, 2013