James Earl Simpson, fondly known by all as “Jim”, was born on August 30, 1931 in Franklin, PA. He was the first child born to the late J. Paul and Elizabeth (Laughner) Simpson. The family continued to grow and Jim was followed by Michael Paul “Mike” Simpson (wife Kathy), John Wayne “Skip” Simpson, William Andrew “Andy” Simpson (wife Sandy), George Peter “Pete” Simpson, Karen Stratton (husband Chris), and Christine Heyman (husband Wayne). In addition to his parents, Jim was preceded in death by Mike, Pete and Christine.
At the age of two, Jim was afflicted with measles – the infection went to his ears and he became deaf. This did into stop Jim from living a full and happy life. While his family remained in Pennsylvania, Jim attended a school for the deaf in Florida. He learned American Sign Language, and he mastered lip reading. He was fortunate that his aunt lived near the school, and he would spend weekends with her. His outgoing personality was evident from the beginning and throughout his life Jim made friends quickly.
After World War II, the Simpson family relocated to Camp Hill. Jim’s father was a civil engineer, and he became a partner in an engineering company. Jim relocated from Florida to Pennsylvania and attended the Williamsport Technical Institute where he learned the skills necessary to be a technical draftsman. Upon graduating, he went to work for this father’s civil engineering firm. Jim worked on technical drawings that would become parts of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and other major highways in the Commonwealth.
Jim met and, in 1956, married Sara Jane Brougher. Together they enjoyed family, friends and life. This year would be their 66th anniversary.
In the early 1970s, Jim bought a lottery ticket in the state lottery and won $10,000. That was the beginning of the best years of his life. His parents owned a cabin in the Heritage Hills community and Jim loved the outdoors. In March 1973, he used the lottery winnings to purchase property in Heritage Hills and began the process of personally building his home. Once completed, Jim and Sara moved in and became one of the first families to live year-round in the community.
It was obvious to all that Jim was a craftsman and a handy guy to know. He became the go-to guy for home repairs, snow plowing, and anything else that would make the community a better place to live. One weekend, Karen and Chris went to see Jim and Sara. Jim wasn’t home and Chris asked Sara where he was. Sara said that Jim was a few cabins down the street. Chris walked down the street and found Jim working. He had the entire cabin jacked up and was working to replace the foundation. Jim was not intimidated by any task. He figured out what needed to be done and got to work.
Jim and Sara had no children of their own, but they had a lot of nieces and nephews. A trip to the cabin to see Uncle Jim and Aunt Sara was always a welcomed announcement. Jim loved to see the kids come and he made sure there were plenty of outdoor activities to tire them out. The creek behind their home and the lake were particular favorites.
Jim’s outgoing personality was especially evident by the number of people who have expressed sympathy to his family, and in particular the support of the Centre Presbyterian Church community. Jim was able to attend services until just recently, and he thoroughly enjoyed the brotherhood and seeing all his friends. During the decline in his health, a special thanks to these friends is necessary.
The family has a sincere thank you for Esther and Tim – Jim’s caregivers. Their patience and compassion made the final chapter of Jim’s life so much better than we could have hope for. Also, thanks to Jody Boyd of Golden Hearts Home Health for also being there for Jim and Sara. The family wishes to express their sincere appreciating for sharing your faith and love with and for James Earl Simpson.
The funeral services for Jim will be held at Centre Presbyterian Church on Wednesday, January 26. The visitation hour will be from 10 to 11 AM, with the funeral service beginning at 11 AM. Pastor Andrew Hostetter will be officiating. Interment will be on Thursday, January 27 at Emlenton Cemetery at noon to accommodate the travel time and distance to the cemetery from Loysville. In lieu of flowers, please make memorial donations in Jim’s name to Centre Presbyterian Church, 3912 Freeman Hollow Road, Loysville, PA 17047.
Funeral arrangements entrusted to Nickel Lochstampfor Family Funeral Home, Inc. of Loysville.
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