Don was the beloved patriarch of the Simpson family. He was a loving husband, dad, grandpa and Chiefs’ fan. He was born and raised in Detroit to two loving parents, Charles and Henrietta (Cunov) Simpson. Don met Ellen when he drove to Richard’s Drive-In in his ‘58 Chevy Impala convertible. The two love birds were married Aug. 27, 1960 at Concordia Lutheran Church in Detroit, Mich. The pair raised three rambunctious boys: Charles, Jeffrey and David — all while Don was working a full-time job and going to night school.
Although he was an extremely hard worker, he made time to support his wife and sons. He coached his boys in baseball and was a Boy Scout leader. He helped his kids with their homework, whether that was physics, math, reading, spelling, or anything! Don bought a CB radio for the kids and let them put up an antenna. He put in a backyard pool and he and Ellen took the family to Disney World the year the theme park opened. Memorable family vacations include: Yellowstone Park, the Smokey Mountains, South Dakota, Upper Michigan, Myrtle Beach and Florida.
Don knows how to work on cars. His sons and one of his grandsons have rebuilt engines and can work on their own cars. The whole family has a love of classic cars, especially late 60s cars.
Don graduated from Cooley High School, Detroit, Mich., in Jan. 1959, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Lawrence Technological University, Southfield, Mich., in 1968. Don was passionate about his field: The electrical things he could do and plans that he could draw up were amazing. He started working in Detroit in 1968 at General Electric, and then he worked at a mill that supplied steel to car manufacturers. In 1978, Don went back to General Electric and moved the family to Kansas, where they set down roots.
He is survived by his wife Ellen of 60 years, sons: Charles Simpson (his late wife Valerie, fiancée Carolyn and son Charlie Simpson), Overland Park, Kan.; Jeff Simpson (wife Michelle, children Tyler Simpson, Chloe Simpson, Gregory Marsh (wife Sarra, children Draden and Charlotte), Joshua Parker (wife Shelby, daughter Murphy) and Emily Gray (husband Larry Gray)) Lexington, Mo.; David Simpson, Eudora, Kan., and special cat, Audrey.
Don was a member of The Salvation Army. He was an avid ham radio operator and was a member of the Johnson County ECS (Emergency Communication Services) Weather Spotting Group, Johnson County ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Services) and SATERN (Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network). His call sign was KD0GAU. Two of his sons are also ham radio operators.
The family enjoyed going on vacations together, like cruises, Disney World or Washington, D.C., or doing simple regional things like going to the Omaha Zoo, Chiefs games, Abilene, or Deanna Rose.
Don retired from General Electric in 2001. He was pretty happy go-lucky, except when it came to politics. He enjoyed being an election worker.
He passed away suddenly at Menorah Hospital.
We love him so much and he will be missed!
Graveside Service will be held Saturday, June 19, at 3:00pm at Johnson County Memorial Gardens, 11200 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park, Kan. Visit www.JohnsonCountyChapel.com for more information.
Donations to The Salvation Army in Don Simpson’s name would be greatly appreciated in lieu of flowers.