By HDN Staff
BIG SANDY Shirley Simpson, 76, a retired school teacher, died Friday Jan. 25, 2002, at a Big Sandy care facility of natural causes.
Funeral Service is 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Christ Lutheran Church with Pastor James Robinson officiating. Burial to follow funeral at the Big Sandy Cemetery.
Fellowship to follow at Christ Lutheran Church location.
Shirley Elizabeth Wilson, also known as Shirley Ann Wilson, was born Dec. 30, 1925, to Ralph and Bina (Beach) Wilson at Yankton, S.D. She lived in Saco and graduated from high school there in 1943. She attended Montana State University and graduated from North Dakota State University in Fargo, N.D. in 1947 with a bachelor of science degree. She later became a teacher.
While teaching in Boulder, a handsome college friend came to Boulder with some local boys to attend a dance. Chuck Simpson's teasing ways won her heart and they became engaged. They were visiting in Walker, Minn., when Chuck got a call from home (in New Jersey) regarding his father's death. Chuck needed to return home. Shirley called her father to tell him she wanted to go, too. Her father replied that if she goes, she has to be married first. The couple drove around until they found someone to marry them. They were wed Sept. 4, 1948, in Walker, one week prior to the big Fargo Celebration Shirley had planned.
She worked as a secretary for a collection agency while Chuck was attending college. They moved to California, where their first son Chuck, Jr. was born in 1951. They moved to Missoula, where their daughter Peggy was born in 1954. From there they moved on to Big Sandy. Ralph was born in 1958. The couple continued to reside in Big Sandy and raised their family. Shirley taught school in the Big Sandy, Box Elder, and Kremlin-Gildford school districts. She had taught biology, chemistry, German (she could also speak French), and home economics. She played the piano and loved to sing. She also taught voice lessons and lifesaving classes.
Prior to becoming ill in 1974 with multiple sclerosis, she was active in Eastern Star and was a past matron. She attended the Methodist Church and directed the choir. She was also active in the Women's Service Group. She spent time chaperoning Rainbow Girls as well as Pep Club and Future Homemaker activities. She enjoyed sewing and made many clothes.
In her later years, she enjoyed spending Monday afternoons at the Pep's Bar and Lanes Bowling Alley with her devoted caregiver Michelle Andrade. She also enjoyed visits from her friends and grandchildren who can recall how she loved to sing along with songs on the television with her cat on her lap. The last 27 years have demonstrated her faith and fortitude in dealing with her illness.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Ralph and Bina (Beach) Wilson.
Survivors include her husband, Charles "Chuck" Simpson of Big Sandy; sons, Charles (Connie) Simpson, Jr. of Twin Cities, Minn., and Ralph (Susanne) Simpson of Whitefish; daughter, Margaret "Peggy" (Allen) Grigg of Moses Lake, Wash.; brother, Richard "Dick" (Claire Ann) Wilson of Detroit Lakes, Minn.; eight grandchildren; one great-granddaughter.
Memorials in Shirley's honor may be made to: Multiple Sclerosis Society, Montana Chapter, 1629 Ave. D, Suite 2-C, Billings, MT 59102; Diabetes Association, Montana Division, P. O. Box 2411, Great Falls, MT 59403, or American Cancer Society, c/o Charlotte Kelley, P. O. Box 1107, Havre, MT 59501.
Services and arrangements are under the direction of the Holland and Bonine Funeral Home.