Obituary - Laura Simpson

Laura Simpson with her dog, Lizzie

A memorial for Jackson resident Laura Simpson has been scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at the First Baptist Church.

Simpson died Sept. 2. She was 86. Her family provided the following.

Laura was born to Edward and Carrie Merritt on Aug. 18, 1933, in Afton. She was raised in Turnerville alongside her sisters, Bada Jackson, Shirley Thompson, Louise Moser, Zelma Linford and Norene (Paul) Quinn. It was a hard life during the Depression years, but her family was close.

When Laura spoke of the early years she remembered not the hardship, but the closeness of her family. Her mother had a large garden, and they would can and jar vegetables and fish. They had chickens that they would use for eggs and food. The family would get bum lambs and cows from the ranchers who took their cattle to the open range. Laura made a pet out of a little black lamb, but when she came home one evening she found it had become dinner. She never could stand to eat lamb after that.

Mom recalled living during World War II. She remembered the bombing of Pearl Harbor, watching her father sit close to the radio and listening to the news.

During her high school years she worked the summers in Jackson, first folding laundry, and then as a telephone operator. It was during the summers that she met her future husband, R.H. “Sam” Simpson. They dated, spending time at Granite Hot Springs, and String Lake with lots of Sam’s friends.

On July 27, 1954, Sam drove to Salt Lake, knocked on Laura’s door and told her, “Let’s go get married.” Laura responded, “Yes, who is this?”

They eloped in Evanston and drove to Old Faithful Inn for their honeymoon. They moved into Sam’s family home, located where the Teton County Courthouse is today. They called it the “big house.”

Michele was born Nov. 11, 1955. Midge followed on June 11, 1957.

Laura would often say she became a lover of the outdoors so that she could see her husband. They were constantly doing activities outside: picnics, camping, boating and skiing. During the winter she would knit beautiful sweaters, hats and scarves while watching football.

As their children grew older, Laura and Sam adjusted to an empty nest. They cashed in their children’s life insurance and started traveling.

In their 60s Sam and Laura bought a motor home and did a lot of traveling. They were joined by many of their friends. In the winter they settled in St. George, Utah, where they later bought a small house. They had many fun days with their friends in St. George, golfing and going to shows in Las Vegas.

They had two grandchildren, Megan and Sammi, who they loved very much. Both girls were close to their grandmother and spent a lot of time with her, especially Sammi.

Laura lost her husband in March 2003 and moved in with her elder child, Michele.

Midge retired in February 2012 and came home to spend time with Laura, since she was battling macular degeneration. Laura spent the next few winters in St. George enjoying time with her sister, Louise.

In January, Laura discovered she had neuroendocrine cancer. Initially she thought she might have a few years, but the tumors were very aggressive and she became very weak. In late August her pacemaker was turned off, and she peacefully passed a few days later.

What a remarkable life this lady had. She faced major losses, losing babies and her husband, who was her soulmate. Through it all she faced tragedy with dignity and grace. What a legacy she has passed down to her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, R.H. “Sam” Simpson, and her sisters Bada Jackson, Shirley Thompson and Louise Moser.

She is survived by her sisters Zelma Linford and Norene Quinn; her daughters, Michele LaBounta and Midge Simpson; her granddaughters Megan (Josh) Bonnesen and Samantha LaBounta; and great-grandchildren Maddison, Jackson and James Bonnesen.

In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the Jackson Cupboard.


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