WASHINGTON - Mary Lee Simpson, 83, formerly of Washington, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, in Scottsdale, Ariz.
She was born May 13, 1930, in Peoria, Ill., to Clyde and Mary M. Smith. Mary Lee grew up in Washington, Ill., graduating as valedictorian of Washington Community High School, class of 1948, where she was active in cheerleading, band, drama and other clubs. She studied music at Bradley University until her marriage to Fred Simpson on Aug. 5, 1950. They enjoyed more than 40 years together.
Mary Lee brought a zest for life and keen wit to every activity, including her favorite and most treasured job, as wife, mother and caretaker for her family. Nothing provided her more joy than preparing for large family gatherings filled with laughter, sports, food and games.
While living in Washington, she played the organ and piano at Evangelical United Methodist Church and was music leader and teacher at summer Bible camps. Mary Lee, her mother and sister-in-law, Liane Smith, often provided musical entertainment at local retirement communities and nursing homes. Mary Lee enjoyed performing with Washington Women's Club choirs and loved the music and performances during the Christmas season. An avid bridge player and active golfer in the Fox Bend women's league, she especially enjoyed the social side of the activity and the friends she made.
Mary Lee is survived by her sons, Bruce Simpson (Jo) and Craig Simpson (Regan); her former husband, Fred Simpson; six grandchildren, Ryan Simpson, Casie Simpson Casula (Chris), Shanna Simpson, Cody Simpson, Tara Simpson and River Simpson; one brother, Jim Smith (Liane); extended family members, Cindy Rossow-Durham, Nancy Simpson and Gabby Sharp; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Clyde and Mary M. Smith; son, Mark Simpson; and brother, Elton Musselman.
The family is extremely grateful for the care provided by nurses and caregivers from Scottsdale Village Square and from Grace Hospice during her recent illness.
A memorial service will be at Mason-White Funeral Home on Saturday, May 24 (Memorial Day weekend 2014), with details to be announced at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Mary Lee's memory to the
(ACS) at donate.cancer.org, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) at www.nami.org or to another