Obituary: Henry Greene Simpson

Henry Simpson, of Exeter, Calif. passed away on June 8, 2019 with his loving wife Betty at his side. He was 86 years old. Henry was born in Lebanon, Mo. on Sept. 5, 1932, the first child of Juanita and H. Greene Simpson. He was raised in Kirksville, Mo. where he helped in the family printing business and graduated from Northeast Missouri State University. 

Henry met his true love and life companion, Betty Collins, at college and they married in 1953. Part of those early years were spent in Arizona, when Henry, recently drafted in the Army, was stationed at Fort Huachuca. Afterwards, they returned to Kirksville where he completed graduate school and earned his teaching credential. During this time, they started a family with two sons, Greg and Mark. 

The family moved to Exeter, Calif. in 1959 when Henry was hired as a high school teacher. Except for one year when they returned to Missouri, Exeter became Henry and Betty’s permanent home. It was here that their family was completed with the arrival of their daughter, Berit. During his time at Exeter Union High School, Henry held a variety of positions – teacher, coach, counselor/dean, and principal. As a teacher his commitment to students extended beyond the classroom. For years he directed two annual drama productions, oversaw the school newspaper and served as the yearbook advisor. Henry’s vision led to the building of the first darkroom on campus, and he was a regular fixture at all sporting events, taking photographs for the school publications he supervised. One of the activities he was most proud of was starting the school’s golf team in 1960. At that time there was no local course, so he built a putting green on campus so the team would have a place to practice. 

Henry participated in many community activities, serving on numerous boards and committees. A life-long member of the Exeter Lions Club, he wrote and directed The Lions Club Follies for many years, a much-enjoyed community wide event. 

Henry had three passions – family, teaching, and golf. To say that Henry enjoyed golf would be an understatement. He played regularly for years on area courses, gave lessons, organized trips to courses throughout the state and made enduring friendships and memories. 

Henry was a devoted husband and family man. Cherishing his memory are his loving wife Betty; his son Greg and wife Barbara; daughter Berit Maxwell; daughter-in-law Cindy; seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren; sisters Judy Ellis and Mary Ellen Stumpf; and numerous nieces and nephews. Preceding Henry in death were his son Mark; parents Juanita and H. Greene Simpson; and father-in-law Lawton Collins. The patriarch of this family will be greatly missed.

A Celebration of Life was held at 11 a.m. on Monday, June 17 at Faith Tabernacle, 255 South Filbert Road in Exeter, and was followed by a lunch reception. Remembrances of flowers may be sent to Smith Family Chapel, 505 East Pine St., Exeter, CA 93221 or donations may be made to one of Henry’s favorite charities: City of Hope or Stanford Medical Center. Arrangements by Smith Family Chapel in Exeter.

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