Bud Simpson, businessman, philanthropist, trombonist, runner, cross country skier, lake swim leader, racquetball player, snorkeler, reader, Eagle Scout, canoer, and water skier, was born on August 9, 1928, to Vinson R. Simpson, Sr., and Elsie (Passeger) Simpson in Forest Park, IL. In 1946, Bud graduated from Proviso High School in Maywood, IL, where he met his first love and life partner, Elizabeth (Betty) Matte Simpson. In 1950, Bud proudly became the first college graduate in his family and to the end could break into his M.I.T. fight song on a moment’s notice. Besides earning a chemical engineering degree, he was a leader in ATO Fraternity and ran track which gave him the opportunity to talk with Louie Zamperini at the New York Relays. His lifelong love of track and field took him to Summer Olympic Games in Montreal and Seoul, Korea. Bud and Betty were married on September 29, 1950. Their honeymoon was brief, a drive in a borrowed car to La Crosse, Wisconsin, where Bud began the following Monday in the student training class at the Trane Company. Bud rose steadily through the ranks at Trane while earning an MBA from Indiana University in 1955, and was ultimately named President and Director. From 1976 to 1980, Bud was President and Director of Marathon Electric Manufacturing Corporation, Wausau, Wisconsin. In 1980, Bud’s entrepreneurial dreams came true with the purchase of Marion Body Works, Marion, Wisconsin. Strengthening the company and building a legacy at Marion was a challenge and labor of love until his retirement in 2003. Following Betty’s death, an introduction through a mutual friend brought Brenda and happiness back into Bud’s life. They shared a difficult bond having both lost beloved spouses and children. They were married February 18, 2011. Bud served his country as an officer with Strategic Air Command of the USAF earning the United Nations Ribbon, the Korean War Ribbon and the Commendation Medal. Bud was a community leader serving on numerous industry and nonprofit boards throughout his life including Northland College (Trustee for 20 years), Clintonville Area Foundation (Director), Community Foundation of the Fox Valley Region (Investments Committee Member), Fox Valley Technical College Trustee and Treasurer, Fox Valley Technical College Foundation Board (President), Wisconsin Family Business Forum Board, Wausau Junior Achievement Organization (President and Board Member), M.I.T. Educational Council (Regional Director), Waupaca County Republican Party Executive Committee, and the Wisconsin Foundation for Independent Colleges (Investment Committee Chair). He was a member of Christ Congregational Church in Clintonville (Stewardship Committee Chair, choir member, trombone soloist, liturgist, Northeast Association Stewardship and Mission Commission), Valley Presbyterian Church in Green Valley (Stephen Minister, choir member), American Legion, Rotary International (Paul Harris Fellow), Marion Minutemen, the Masons (Shriner and Jester), Fire Apparatus Manufacturers Association and National Truck Equipment Association (Director). A strong believer in travel as education, Bud took his family on many adventures including rafting the Colorado and Middle Fork of the Salmon Rivers, canoeing in the Quetico, touring the Soviet Union, cruising the Caribbean, and visiting sites all over Europe when Bud’s career took them to Edinburgh, Scotland, for 18 months.
Survivors include his wife, Brenda Hait, and her daughter, Wendy (Darrell) Lewis, Phoenix, AZ; daughter, Nancy (Curt) Ignacio, Clintonville, and their sons, Dan Ignacio (fiancée Alexandra Beeker), Charlotte, NC, and Kevin Ignacio, Charlotte, NC; daughter-in-law, Lynne Simpson, Green Bay, and her sons, Joshua Simpson (Alyssa Charlier), Philadelphia, PA, Nathan Simpson (special friend Taylor Powers), Salt Lake City, UT, and James Simpson, Tampa, FL; granddaughter, Nicole (Justin) Akers and their children, Austin and Katherine, Vienna, Va; son-in-law, Jack Jackson, Fort Lauderdale, FL; two brothers, Joe Simpson, Los Angeles, CA, and Tom (Nancy) Simpson, Macedon, NY; a brother-in-law, Bob (Martha) Matte; and many nieces and nephews. Bud was preceded in death by his first wife, Betty, his parents, his daughter, Kathie, his son, Jim, and two infant sons.
Bud embraced life and inspired, at times cajoled, others to do the same. He will be remembered for forcing his family to sing The Ship Titanic anytime, anywhere and many years of trombone playing and bell ringing for the Salvation Army. Those who knew and loved him were truly blessed.
Visitation from 9-11 will precede an 11:00 service, Friday, January 12, at Christ Congregational Church, Clintonville, WI. Lunch will follow at Northwinds Banquet Hall, Marion, WI. A service was also held January 5, at Valley Presbyterian Church, Green Valley, AZ. In lieu of flowers donations may be made in Bud’s memory to Rotary International at www.rotary.org or the Salvation Army at salvationarmyusa.org.