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Burlington, VT 05401
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MADINE B. SIMPSON - WILLISTON - Madine Norma Buker Simpson, 91, slipped away on Feb. 15, 2014, after a six-plus year battle with Alzheimer's disease. She was born on March 13, 1922, in St. Albans, the eldest child of Walter Wood Buker and Mildred Keenan Buker. Part of her childhood was spent on the family farm in Colchester, on land later developed as Canyon Estates. In order to attend Bellows Free Academy, she went to St. Albans to live with her beloved maternal grandmother, Mama Nan Keenan, and her dear, Nanty Bea, during the school year. Madine was a member of the BFA tennis team and a forward on the BFA basketball team, which won the Vermont State Championship in 1939, her senior year. After graduation, Madine moved to Burlington and worked for the American Mutual Insurance Company. On June 28, 1942, she married James E. "Ed" Simpson, another St. Albans native, who was nearing graduation from UVM's School of Medicine. Ed's US Army Air Corps assignments and other obligations took them out of Vermont for a time, and they moved back to Burlington in 1951, the year Ed went into private practice as an orthopedic surgeon. Once their children were schoolaged, Madine assumed the role of office manager and bookkeeper. After retiring, Madine kept her hand in bookkeeping, working part-time until shortly before dementia started to steal her away. An avid sportswoman, Madine amassed a collection of trophies and mementos from competing in tennis, golf, bowling, and skiing. She and Ed were charter members of the Burlington Tennis Club and competed in both singles and doubles. She played great games of bridge and cribbage, learned to ski a beautiful slalom on the slopes at Stowe, and played on the Ethan Allen Club Bowling Team. It was in golf that Madine found the most fun and camaraderie. She had a good long shot and an outstanding short game, shown by trophies won at various state days and tournaments throughout New England. She shot three holes-in-one in her lifetime. A longtime member of the Burlington Country Club, Madine also served as an advisory board member. During their retirement years, Madine and Ed enjoyed golf trips to Scotland and Ireland. Their foursome matches with their sons - the so-called Family Feuds - are still the source of endless humor. Madine volunteered for the Grey Ladies at the Bishop DeGoesbriand Hospital Emergency Department. She was an advisor to the Fanny Allen Hospital & School of Nursing and to the Jeanne Mance School of Nursing, and served on the Hospital Auxiliary at the Mary Fletcher and the Bishop DeGoesbriand hospitals. In 1968, she chaired the launch of the Fanny Allen Hospital Volunteer Service. Among many other beneficiaries were Christ the King Church, Mount St. Mary Academy, the Chittenden County Medical Auxiliary, and the Vermont Medical Society. Madine converted to Catholicism and made her First Communion on her 11th wedding anniversary in 1953. She was a member of Christ the King Parish for many years, and joined St. John Vianney Parish after she and Ed moved to South Burlington in 1971, remaining in the same parish when they moved to Williston in 1994. A lifelong affinity for reading came from Mama Nan, who taught Madine to read at an early age. As she described it, a reader can be transported into the story by using the words on the page to visualize the scene and sense it in every possible way. Trips to the Fletcher Free Library were a frequent treat. In later years, "Mrs. S." was a frequent borrower from the South Burlington Library and the Dorothy Alling Library. We especially miss the beautiful alto voice that Mom brought to the family chorus. Madine was predeceased by her husband, James E. Simpson, MD, in March 2008. She leaves her four loving children, Patricia S. Chapman of Cedar Falls, Iowa, James Y. and Gail Simpson of Advance, N.C., Carolyn S. and Sal DeFrancesco of Williston, and Richard M. Simpson of Williston; six grandchildren, Kimberly (Patrick) Grimes of Tucson, Ariz., Kristine Klever of Coralville, Iowa, Kellie (Christopher) Leasure of Cedar Falls, Iowa, David (Angela) Simpson of Burlington, Allison Simpson of South Burlington, and Sara DeFrancesco of Portland, Ore.; nine great-grandchildren, William and Philip Grimes, Emerson and Tosh Klever, Christopher, Annabel, Elise, and Chelsea Leasure, and Trent Simpson; and special friends, Joan Rizio and Marilyn Trepanier. Madine also leaves her siblings, Gwenyth Shepard of St. Albans, Jean and Rodney Mears of Chesapeake, Va., and Walter W. Buker Jr. of Hartford, Conn.; and many nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her sister, Joan B. Wilson, in April 2012; and niece, Leigh-Ann Byrd, in 2011. Our sincere and heartfelt thanks to Eugene Moore, MD, and to the staff of Burlington Health & Rehab, especially Seth and Chris, for taking such good care of our Mom. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, at 11 a.m. in St. John Vianney Catholic Church in South Burlington. Interment will follow in Resurrection Park Cemetery in South Burlington. Visiting hours will be on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014, from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Ready Funeral and Cremation Service, 261 Shelburne Rd., Burlington. Online condolences may be sent to

Published in The Burlington Free Press on Feb. 18, 2014
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