A Beverly resident since 2002 and a WWII veteran, Earl Sean Simpson is looking forward to a really special day, the celebration of his 100th birthday on January 9, 2019. Family, friends, neighbors and church members are even more excited to celebrate the life of their family patriarch, community leader and loyal church and choir member. A private, invitation only celebration is planned for January 19, 2019.
Simpson is described as a quiet, deep thinking, organized and compassionate man, known as a reliable source of information. He enjoys reading the daily newspaper and watches news programs to stay current on local and national events, especially politics. He also loves jazz, gospel and old big band music and has a passion for watching his collection of old movies on DVD.
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 catsup on most foods and has one strong cup of coffee daily.
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.
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.
He married the sweetheart of his life, Helen Hudson, in 1942 at United Bethel AME Church in New Orleans and they had four children, Marguerite, Earl Jr., Reginald and Anthony. The family moved to Chicago in 1945 during the second Great Migration seeking a better life and opportunities. Simpson and Helen were married for 62 years until her death on July 3, 2005. Sons Earl, Reginald and Anthony preceded her in death.
Today, Simpson lives with his daughter Marguerite in their family home where they love and take care of each other and enjoy watching church service on the computer, planning and preparing meals and occasional travel with family members.
Simpson served his country as a Private First Class in the United States Army during WWII in a segregated unit, the 696th Port Company (Transportation Corps), from April 25, 1942 until he was honorably discharged on November 26, 1945.
Returning to civilian life, 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, retiring in 1982.
Church and faith in God have always been a major part of Simpson’s life. He is currently a member of Coppin Memorial AME Church in Chicago, where he and his late wife joined in 1970. After many years of faithful service, they were honored by the church 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.
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 marriage 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.