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Welcome to the memorial page for

Robert D Simpson

January 19, 1924 ~ March 7, 2015 (age 91)
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Message from Trudy Meyer Gelfand
August 6, 2022 1:30 PM

Mr. Simpson - THE best conductor ever. Who else could conduct with their eyes?? I was in his Chapel zchoif in 1968-69, and then he took the time to give me private conducting lessons years later when I needed to fill in at church for our suddenly absent choir director. May his memory be for a blessing!
Message from Mikel Henely
July 21, 2018 9:23 AM

Mr. Simpson was my first introduction to WCC, when I went to a summer vocal camp. I was struck by his passion for choral music and love for life. This was exemplified through a song which he rendered, I Love Life.
He not only molded students in Chapel Choir, but also had a love for Jesus, which was the wellspring of what he accomplished. He was a well rounded man who indelibly touched those whom he met. When I came to faith in my senior year, he inspired me to live out my faith in everyday life.
He is now home!
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A candle was lit by Victoria Hayes- class of 1967. on March 19, 2015 12:02 PM
Message from Stephen Basha
March 17, 2015 4:36 PM

Just read about Bob on Facebook. Was so very sorry to hear about his death. I knew Bob for many years while at Shallowford Presbyterien Church. Spent many hours with Bob at Thursday morning breakfast, and worked with him on many Habitat For Humanity Homes. Will surely be missed. My condolences to Jean and the rest of Bob's family.
Message from Carol L. Schwabe
March 17, 2015 1:43 AM

Bob was a gifted man, through and through. My day was always brightened by his smile and I was privileged to have known him while at Shallowford. His legacy to his family and his church will be long and cherished.
Message from Rebecca Wheat Sabota, WCC Class of 1976
March 14, 2015 3:39 PM

Mr. Simpson had a profound influence on my life, both musically and spiritually. When I was an insecure Freshman, his patient instruction, encouragement and dedication helped me to reach my potential. In turn, I have made it my life's work to help musicians of all ages to do the same. I am filled with gratitude at having the privilege of working under such a man of integrity and faith. Please accept my sincere sympathy for your loss.
Message from Jody Bowes WCC '80
March 13, 2015 8:43 PM

How wonderful to read all the remembrances of this exceptional man. Mr. Simpson made a lasting impression on me. At times when I'm frustrated with my "volunteer choir," I visualize his smiling, expressive face and am inspired to do better and to pass on that exuberance which so impressed me when singing under his direction. I can't recall being as influenced by any other music teacher. I was truly saddened to hear of his passing. If I had to pick one word to sum-up Robert Simpson it would be "JOY." How happy they must have been to welcome him at the Pearly Gates!
Message from Jim Price, nephew
March 11, 2015 8:20 PM

I was deeply saddened to hear of Uncle Bob's passing. My brother Don and I last saw Bob at their home in Tucker. Uncle Bob had an interest is so many subjects it was hard to keep up with him!
We know Uncle Bob is with the Lord, and free from all discomfort. May God Bless Uncle Bob, and the Simpson Family.
Message from Charles Read WCC 1958
March 11, 2015 4:09 PM

The legacy and memory of Bob Simpson will live in our hearts.
Message from Ilsa Duke Dickinson
March 11, 2015 8:35 AM

Some of my fondest memories of Westminster Choir College were singing in the Chapel Choir with Mr. Simpson, who was a stellar example of a fine conductor and a caring person. What a fine model he was of how to live a meaningful life!
Message from Pam Colley
March 11, 2015 7:56 AM

Karen and family I am so sorry for your loss but praise GOD for his journey home to be with our Lord and Savior. I pray for peace and grace during this time. Much Love,
Message from Steve and Judy Simpson Magre
March 11, 2015 6:21 AM

Uncle Bob was a kind and generous person with a hearty laugh that made us feel wonderful ! He was a gracious host and entertainer. And oh, his marvelous voice ! We loved to hear him, Dad and Grandpa sing together. What a joyous reunion it must have been on Saturday when the Simpson clan reunited in heaven! I know the angels are still singing! He was dearly loved and will be always missed.. Love to Aunt Jean, Karen, Anne and Mark and their families.
Steve and Judy
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A candle was lit by Ronald Berresford WCC 1974 on March 10, 2015 11:59 PM
Message from Dana Steffee Hughes
March 10, 2015 10:15 PM

I joined the Shallowford choir with my mother, Juanita Steffee. she was an accomplished musician; i couldn't read music. Bob welcomed us both and i learned how to sing with his guidance. i will always cherish the memories of his faith, musicianship and humor. May God comfort you in your grief.
Message from Patty Chirico
March 10, 2015 10:11 PM

Wow - what a man! While I didn't know him, I am friends with Karen and Whit. She has a lot to proud of with the legacy her father left for her and her family. I am praying for the sweet presence of our Lord, Jesus for the family. May God's arms of comfort hold all of you close together as you remember the blessing his life was to you.
Message from Eric Kaplan
March 10, 2015 10:09 PM

Bob was one of the very first people I met at Shallowford, on a Habitat build, of course. He always welcomed me, either on the site, in worship, or at the 75 Diner dinner table. He had that great welcoming chuckle, every time. He and I worked together a lot with Habitat (and Building & Grounds), and I am forever thankful to have spent time with him. My continued involvement with Habitat, here in Omaha, is directly because of Bob's inspiration. Peace be with his family and all those who knew him.
Message from Al and Edie Clark
March 10, 2015 9:43 PM

Dear Jean,
Al and I knew Bob was ill, but it was still quite a blow to hear of his death. He was a choir director, mentor, voice teacher and friend. We've been recalling all the wonderful 'dinner club' meals with you folks. His was a God-filled life - and he shared this with all. We regret we cannot make it to Atlanta for Bob's service - we know it will be a glorious tribute to the caring and kind man that he was. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and all your family.
Message from Jeannie Neary, niece
March 10, 2015 6:47 PM

Joe and I were saddened to learn of the passing of Bob. What a great uncle.
I was always in awe when I heard Bob sing. he was a wonderful family man...very proud of his family. He will be missed by many. I'm so glad I saw Bob and Jean last summer.
Message from Judy Walker Cooley-class of 1958
March 10, 2015 5:31 PM

The world of Choral Music and the Westminster Family has lost a true model of love of music, of life, of caring for one's brothers and sisters. I remember Bob well from Westminster days and know he will be greatly missed in his part of Georgia and way beyond. I send thanks to God for his life and what he lived for.
With care and blessings for his family.
Judy Cooley
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A candle was lit by Paul Danilewski, Class of 72 on March 10, 2015 4:55 PM
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A candle was lit by Noel Zucchero on March 10, 2015 2:47 PM
Message from Julia F. Williams, Class of 1973
March 10, 2015 12:41 PM

It was an extreme pleasure to be under the guidance of this talented and gifted teacher and Chapel Choir instructor. I will miss him greatly but will always remember his influence on the students at Westminster Choir College.
Message from Scott A. trexler
March 10, 2015 11:55 AM

Class of '71, Westminster Choir College......I was greatly influenced by Mr. Simpson, as member of his Tenor Class (voice minor) and the touring choir (Chapel Choir) in 1968, and in his conducting class as a sophomore. Very devout Christian, and wonderful musician.....I enjoyed seeing him at reunions these past few years at WCC. My condolences to his wife, Jean, who I met at these reunions. May God be with you.
Message from Becky Brown
March 10, 2015 9:40 AM

Although I did not know him personally, He sounds like a wonderful man. I work with his daughter Karen and she is a wonderful, caring, Christian person who is very proud of her family. I am praying for peace and comfort in your difficult times.
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A candle was lit by Dr. Jerry Custer, WCC '75 on March 10, 2015 12:37 AM
Message from Peter Fritz WCC '69
March 10, 2015 12:20 AM

Thank you for the beautiful tribute to Mr. Simpson's life. For all the time we spent together in college, I knew very little of his personal history. It helps us know him better. Mr. Simpson had the glorious/thankless job of conducting the freshman Chapel Choir at Westminster Choir College. A job that required taking about 100-odd singers, fresh out of high school from all over the country, and training them to become one spirit with one voice. It was a job not unlike a boot camp drill instructor or a professional cat-herder, but he did it year after year with patience and grace. He was both exacting and kind. He modeled everything for us and we became like him. He was such a blessing to each of us. And when we went out into the world and became choir directors ourselves, it was his model that we taught our students. Our students went on to have choirs of their own, and it strikes me that we are all spiritual descendants of Mr. Simpson, our "Fuzzy Bear". His spirit goes on and on..
My condolences to Jean and the family. Thank you for lending him to us for all those years.
Message from Stewart Shuster '58
March 9, 2015 11:58 PM

Jean, my thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family in your time of sorrow. Bob was my voice teacher at WCC from 1955-1958. He was a wonderful teacher and truly fine person!
Message from Andrea Coffin Norton, Westminster Class of 1979
March 9, 2015 10:08 PM

While I am deeply saddened to hear of his passing, I remember him with great joy. What an inspiration and a blessing he was! I will be forever grateful for the gift of his music, his example of a living faith that was as evident in his teaching as it was in his day-to-day interactions, and the wisdom that he so generously shared with every one of us. Thank you, Mr. Simpson, from the bottom of my heart -

The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord lift His countenance upon you, and give you peace; The Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you. Amen
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A candle was lit by Rocky Romeo Class of 76-77 on March 9, 2015 8:05 PM
Message from Dr. Peter Carole WCC class of 1972
March 9, 2015 7:17 PM

My heartfelt sympathy to the family of this wonderful man. He was my first voice teacher and also my conducting teacher. Every chorus I have ever conducted was the direct result of his genius and inspiration; he touched so many lives. I'm sure he is singing and conducting those heavenly choirs. God bless you, Robert Simpson.
Message from jim rice class of 76 wcc
March 9, 2015 6:35 PM

dear Simpson family,
I wish my deepest thoughts prayers and blessings on all of you. I remember Jean and Anne from school. I remember so many times at house and outside memories beyond the obvious music. May God bless you all and those that can make it sing some nice vocal lines with the Spirit who gave us eternal life.
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A candle was lit by jim rice class of 76 of wcc blessings to your family on March 9, 2015 6:26 PM
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A candle was lit by Barbara Billings, Class of 1970, WCC on March 9, 2015 6:11 PM
Message from Lynn/Carolyn Collner Hatch class of 63
March 9, 2015 4:50 PM

What a fun guy and spread happiness with each class. He was an inspiration to all the tenors and mezzo's in the school. Carolyn
Message from Bob McClintock, Class of 1949
March 9, 2015 3:48 PM

Dear Jean and family. I recall with joy, now sadness, with the news of your Dear Bob's passing. You may remember, Jean, that you and Bob were the Little Brother and wife to Betty and me when first you came on campus. My Betty died Sept. 29, 2008. Would enjoy rearing from you when it is convenient. With love and prayers - - Bob
Message from Dr. Jerry Custer WCC Class of 1975
March 9, 2015 2:32 PM

Robert Simpson was one of two men I would never dare to address by any other first name than "Mister" (Mr. Carwithen being the other), so great was his impact on the life of this young musician. He was my first and only voice teacher (much to his despair, I suspect) and my first conducting teacher. His honest, straightforward love for choral music and the people who make it indelibly marked my soul and charted the course of my life. I am conducting my first concert with my University Choir at Wayne State tonight, and Mr. Simpson will be in every mood, breath, preparation, and attack I show to my singers, because I would not be who I am had I not had the providential good fortune of once being his student. His legacy will live on in all of us who were blessed to be shaped and formed by him. He will not be forgotten as long as any of us take breath and phonate. I can only hope that he and JFW and Herb Pate and Don Mathis are having a wonderful reunion in the heavenlies. Oh dear God, how I will miss this good, kind, generous man!
Message from Lucille (Ceil) Hardgrove Reilly, class of 1974
March 9, 2015 1:03 PM

Mr. Robert D. Simpson: He taught so many of us how to sing, how to believe that anyone could be trained to sing well in a choir (life-changing!), how to read and respond to a conductor, how to live life and more! And he did all of it well. He sowed many seeds through his students, which we have spread far and wide. I am thankful for his guidance, wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and in general being one of the most decent, God-fearing people I have known and will ever know. Rest in peace.
Message from Billie Mezzo Blakeeny
March 9, 2015 12:31 PM

A great man, talented gift, and genius in the love of his Lord, his music, family, his students. Every life that he touched resounded in a tumultuous chorus of great respect and love. God bless you Mr. Simpson and thank you for your special gifts that you gave each and everyone of us.
Message from Meredith Rung Creswell
March 9, 2015 11:35 AM

Robert Simpson.....a man of Faith, integrity, and music.....a teacher/conductor/singer who has touched more lives than we can imagine. He will be honored, he will be missed, and he will be loved and remembered for generations to come. My heart goes out to his family and friends. I hope you will look at the wonderful remembrance page dedicated in tribute to him on Facebook. It's title is "Memories of Prof. Robert Simpson Westminster Choir College, Princeton, NJ". Blessings to all.
Message from Diane W. Dersch Westminster class of 1976
March 9, 2015 10:43 AM

I first met him at Vocal Camp at Westminster in 1970. I then had him my freshman year in Chapel Choir at WCC. Mr. Simpson was a man who loved the Lord and shared his faith through singing. I will be always the better for having known him. My prayers are with the family.
Message from Anita Blackwell, class of 1969 Westminster Choir College
March 9, 2015 10:39 AM

Mr. Simpson was a warm and joyful man filled with the love of music. This love of music he generously shared with so many young, eager lives. We were so enriched by him. He was definitely a special, one and only. We were all so fortunate to have known him. Thank you, Mr. Simpson.
Message from Linda Hartpence Woodard WCC Class of 1972
March 9, 2015 10:03 AM

Mr. Simpson was a beloved teacher and mentor to many at WCC. Particularly for me, as a transfer student, he allowed me to "test" and exempt a conducting class since I had not been able to schedule it and needed to advance to the 2nd semester to graduate on time. He encouraged all of us and took a bunch of young students and developed some raw talent and sent us into the world. I don't know of many teachers from college who were so respected.
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