Life Story / Obituary
Patrick Simpson was a loving husband and father. A natural jokester with a thirst for knowledge, he never failed to find a use for even the most benign objects. His quick-wit and charm, vast trivia knowledge and the twinkle in his eye will be deeply missed by his family and special friends.
Born with an impaired left arm on March 17th, 1943, Patrick faced a life of adversity, both in the home and out in the world. He and his eight siblings had a rough start in life. Perhaps it is because of this upbringing, or despite of it, that Patrick found his true calling: that of a tinker. He had a remarkable knack for anything electronic and mechanical, whether it be cars, radios, TVs, computers, and spent a lot of his childhood taking things apart, putting them back together, or creating a patchwork of parts to make something that works. And yet he never saw his own worth, although his Aunt Dorothea did. After he graduated from Vicksburg High School, she helped him obtain a spot at the Michigan Rehabilitation Institute at Pine Lake, where people with disabilities learned technical skills. It was there that he learned his own inherent value. From his attendance, he immediately understood that there were people in the world that struggled far worse than he did and that he was smarter than he had given himself credit for. This confidence enabled Patrick to accomplish anything he set his mind to throughout life.
At a party in 1968 Patrick met the love of his life, Colleen Hodges, and married her on October 23rd, 1970. Ever the charmer, Patrick said he never wanted to be without his sober wheel-man and cheap date. Both great conversationalists, the two of them always enjoyed talking with one another. They were opposites, yet opposites attract, and they remained happily married for forty five years. Patrick’s family brought him great joy and together he and Colleen raised three beautiful daughters, Allison, Megan, and Kristen. They loved to take family vacations. Most often, their trips were surrounded by large family gatherings as both he and Colleen had large families. As the girls grew, he cherished their individual personalities. With great pride he could witness the unique traits of himself within them, including his quirky sense of humor. He passed on to them his love of making popcorn with bacon grease, fishing, technology, and that being considered weird is a compliment. Patrick often loved to pull pranks on his wife, Colleen and even after many years of marriage, she fell for them every time! He enjoyed sharing with Colleen his knowledge on a wide variety of topics and going on museum and covered bridge driving tours. She never grew tired of their time together. He was a great family man and a good provider.
His innate ability for immediate recall was a valuable asset in his employment with National Water Lift/Parker Hannifin where he worked as a pump mechanic. He was a proud union member and supporter for forty years before retiring. A jack of all trades, he also enjoyed attending Hamfests throughout the state and beyond. He worked hard to improve his skills and attended with his good friend, Richard. The two of them shared an affinity for electronics. Patrick always saw value in the things other people discarded. He often looked to his mentor, Dave to give him advice for all things collectible.
A visual and auditory learner, Pat loved watching “How It’s Made” and was a Sci-Fi guy. Not being able to carry a tune didn't stop Patrick from jamming to Janis Joplin, CCR, Pink Floyd, Eagles, Heart, Moody Blues, Metallica, Prince and other classic rock artists. Losing most of his hearing from years in the factory, he greatly missed listening to people. He became more isolated but continued to share his knowledge and clever jokes when he could. A meat and potatoes guy, he savored his fried pork steak and boiled potatoes with creamed corn and a slice of cherry pie. A former PBR drinker, in his later years, Patrick enjoyed both Oberon or Guinness and on occasion, a rum and coke or two. Most days, he loved spending time in his pole barn, surrounded by his treasures of broken radios and electronics, cigarette in mouth, pens in pocket, and headphones on; here he was at his most content. Although he will be deeply missed, Patrick leaves behind a wonderful collection of memories for all who knew and loved him.
Patrick Simpson, age 73, died of cancer on August 6, 2016 at Bronson Hospital. Patrick, a born tinker, was also a HAM Radio operator (WD8NTX), a civil defense volunteer, and a severe weather spotter when the 1980 tornado hit Kalamazoo. He was preceded in death by his parents and by five siblings: Robert, Dorothea, Joan, Joyce and Raymond. Surviving are his wife of forty five years, Colleen (Hodges) Simpson, three daughters: Allison (Patrick) Hines, Megan (Craig) Green and Kristen Simpson; six grandchildren: Colin, Malcolm, Marissa, Suzy, Sandi and Sophie; great-granddaughter, Maisy; siblings: Claribel Ruimveld, Marion Vickery, Linda (James) Reed, Melvin (Suki) Simpson; sister-in-law, Alma (Tom) Lodge and many nieces and nephews. Cremation will take place. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and refreshments on Saturday, August 13th from 3 – 6 PM at the Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler-Kalamazoo, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (375-2900). Please visit Patrick’s personal memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his guestbook before coming to the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Pine Lake Fund to promote technical training and advancement of persons with disabilities. http://plfsupportingmcti.org/