Beverly Resident and WWII Army Veteran
Determined to not let a raging pandemic slow him down, Beverly resident, Earl Sean Simpson, is gearing up for a really special day, the celebration of his 102nd birthday on Saturday, January 9, 2021. In the spirit of safety and caution, family, friends, neighbors and church members will use creative alternative ways to celebrate the life of their family patriarch, community leader and loyal church and choir member. Mr. Simpson will have a “Zoom Birthday Party” with family, friends and church members in the safety of his home on Saturday, January 9.
Simpson is a staunch man of faith and a devout servant in his church and the church community. He is currently a faithful member and tither of Coppin Memorial AME Church in Chicago, where he and his late wife, Helen Simpson, served since they joined in 1970. Like so many other people of faith, during this pandemic, Simpson has adjusted to safe alternative worship service on Zoom. He is always the first to log in and actively participates in the congregation’s meet and greet time. This participation makes him feel even closer to his church members and pastor. In addition, during the week Simpson frequently receives phone calls from older church members who dutifully check on him. After many years of faithful service, Simpson and his wife were honored by Coppin for being outstanding members. In February 2007, Earl Simpson received the “Theodore Emile Moran Award” for demonstrating Christian brotherhood in his service to his beloved Chancel Choir, where he sang bass, served as its treasurer and was active in the church family. He was again honored in June 2010 with the Outstanding Choir Member award during their summer gospel concert.
Described as a quiet, deep thinking, organized and compassionate man, Simpson is known to be a reliable source of information. He enjoys reading and discussing the daily newspaper and watches news programs to stay current on local and national events, especially politics. He loves jazz, gospel and old big band music and enjoys watching western movies, Disney+ especially the National Geographics series and Netflix programs. Simpson also knows his way around the kitchen. When he was able, he loved to cook. Still sporting a healthy appetite, Simpson will not turn down a delicious meal of seafood, gumbo, fried catfish, shrimp or soup. He likes ketchup on most foods and has one strong cup of coffee daily. His favorite color is shades of blue and he has lived in the Beverly community since 2002.
Born on January 9, 1919 in Natchez, Mississippi, Simpson was raised by Malissa and Richard Haynes in New Orleans, Louisiana where he completed his elementary school education and worked various jobs to support himself. He accepted Christ at an early age at the Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church in New Orleans. His favorite scripture is Psalm 27:1. “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
He married the sweetheart of his life, Helen Hudson, in 1942 at United Bethel AME Church in New Orleans and to this union four children were born, Marguerite, Earl Jr., Reginald and Anthony. Simpson and his wife moved the family to Chicago in 1945 after his military discharge to seek better life opportunities for their young family. Simpson and Helen were married for 62 years until her death on July 3, 2005. Sons Earl, Reginald and Anthony preceded them both in death.
Simpson served his country. He was a Private First Class in the United States Army during WWII in a segregated unit, 696th Port Company (Transportation Corps), from April 25, 1942 until he was honorably discharged on November 26, 1945. Upon his return, he continued to faithfully love and support his family. For many years he worked as a machine operator at International Harvester in Chicago and also worked at the United States Post Office as a mail clerk at the main downtown Chicago location until his retirement in 1982.
Hobbies consume a good portion of Simpson’s time. He cares for the houseplants and when he was able he enjoyed planting and caring for his vegetable garden. He has a special love for dogs and loved taking care of his beloved Yorkie, Bandit, until he passed on. Today,
Simpson often shares advice on life with young people in his family and the community. “Stay busy and get a good education so you can work in a career of your choice. Get involved in church and find positive recreation,” Simpson said.
With 62 years of marital experience, Simpson has sound advice for married couples as well. “Learn to work together, love each other and try to understand each other,” he said.