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Cecil Snowdon Semple

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SEMPLE Cecil Snowdon Semple, a retired Vice President of the General Electric Company, died Sunday, June 15, 2008 at the Carolton Chronic and Convalescent Hospital, Fairfield. He was the son of the late Fordyce Boyd Semple, an engineer and tea planter, and Anne Munro Semple and was born on a family tea plantation at Bordeobam, Assam, India, August 12, 1917. He sailed with his family to Scotland when he was five years old and attended school in Glasgow, Scotland and in London, England, before coming to the United States with his mother and sister in May, 1927. Three years earlier his father returned to Assam from Scotland on family tea plantation business and died there suddenly while playing polo on May 24, 1924. He graduated from the Charles E. Gorton High School in Yonkers, N.Y. and from Colgate University, Class of 1939. As an undergraduate at Colgate, he was business manager of the college yearbook, and an officer of his fraternity, Delta Kappa Epsilon, while winning a series of achievement scholarships and earning a Bachelor of Arts degree with high honors in the classics. As an alumnus, he was active in the affairs of his alma mater, serving as President of the Colgate University Alumni Corporation, Chairman of one capital fund campaign and Vice Chairman of another, a member in perpetuity of the Presidents Club, and Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University. He was awarded the Maroon Citation for service to Colgate University in December 1962 and in June 1974 the Alumni Award for Distinguished Service to Colgate University. During World War II, he served four years with the United States Army Air Corps and was discharged a major. He had an active career in retailing. Upon graduation from Colgate, he joined R.H. Macy and Company, Inc. in New York City as a member of their executive training program and became a buyer in the furniture division and a division superintendent. Other retail positions held were with the furniture merchandise division of Montgomery Ward and Company at their headquarters in Chicago, Illinois, a Vice President-Sales of the Nachman Corporation in Chicago, a manufacturer of steel mattress and seating constructions for the furniture industry, and a Senior Vice President of Rich's Inc., a highly regarded department store chain in Atlanta, Ga. He first joined General Electric Company at Bridgeport in December 1954 as assistant to the Vice President and General Manager of the Small Appliance Division and was shortly appointed Sales Manager of the Radio Receiver Department. He resigned from General Electric in order to accept, in December 1959, a position as assistant to the President of Rich's Inc., but returned to General Electric in September 1966 as Marketing Consultant-Merchandising at corporate headquarters in New York City. Several management positions followed, including among others, General Manager of the Audio Products Department in Decatur, Ill., a Director of the E I Company in Shannon, Ireland, and Vice President and General Manager of the Housewares Products Division, a world-wide organization, in Bridgeport. Elected a Vice President of General Electric on March 28, 1969, he retired as Vice President for Corporate Customer Relations, January 1, 1986. During his career with General Electric, he worked for three Chairmen of the Board and Chief Executive Officers of the company, namely, Fred J. Borch, Reginald H. Jones, and John F. Welch Jr. He was as accomplished outside of business as within. Tennis was a particular centerpiece of his life. At Colgate, he was captain of the varsity tennis team, and continued his tennis career while establishing his business career. He achieved high national ranking, playing at the Nationals at Forest Hills and other major tournaments, competing against the best players of his day, even winning the British Colonial Doubles Championship. Active in the community, he was a Director of the Bridgeport Chamber of Commerce, a Corporator and Trustee of Peoples Bank and Peoples Mutual Holdings, a Director of National Junior Achievement and the Achievement Foundation in New York City, a Director of the Bridgeport Area Foundation, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Bridgeport Hospital, and Chairman of Southern Connecticut Health System, Inc. He was a member of The Brooklawn Country Club, The Country Club of Fairfield, the Greenfield Hill Congregational Church, the St. Andrews Society of the State of New York where he served two terms as Chairman of the Board of Managers, and a past member of the Connecticut State Seniors Golf Association. He was listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the East and Who's Who in Finance and Industry. His survivors consist of a nephew, James Munro Zimmerman, his wife Alison McCord Zimmerman; four great-nephews and their wives, James and Mary, John and Shannon, Robert and Rania, all of Cincinnati, Ohio and David and Stephanie of Atlanta Ga.; his dear friend, Betty Shaw; and many people who treasured his friendship and wisdom, delighted in his humor, and cherished his gentlemanly companionship. A memorial service will be held Saturday, June 21, 2008 at 11 a.m. at the Greenfield Hill Congregational Church, 1045 Old Academy Road, Fairfield. A reception will be held following the service. In lieu of flowers, contributions to the Cecil S. Semple Endowed Scholarship Fund, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY 13346, the Bridgeport Hospital Foundation, 267 Grant Street, Bridgeport, CT 06610 or to Friends of Christ in India (FOCI), c/o Greenfield Hill Congregational Church, 1045 Old Academy Rd. Fairfield, CT 06824, would be sincerely appreciated. Arrangements by the Redgate-Hennessy Funeral Home, Main Street and Gorham Place, Trumbull. To send online condolences please visit www.redgatehennessy.com
Published in Connecticut Post from June 19 to June 20, 2008
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