Cover photo for Robert Love "Bob" Simpson, Sr.'s Obituary
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1920 Robert Love "Bob" 2015

Robert Love "Bob" Simpson, Sr.

April 12, 1920 — January 17, 2015

Mr. Robert Love "Bob" Simpson, Sr., age 94, of Waverly, TN, passed away Saturday, January 17, 2015, in Signature Healthcare in Erin, TN. Mr. Simpson was born April 12, 1920, in McEwen, TN, to Jay Don and Mamie Trogden Simpson. He was the 4th of 17 children. His father was a farmer and his mother had a full-time job taking care of their children. After his mother's death, his father married Agatha Gossett, whom Bob loved dearly and greatly respected. The family attended and were members of the Blue Creek Methodist Church. Robert, as well as his 16 brothers and sisters, helped out on the family farm. He graduated from Waverly High School in 1938. He received his draft notice in 1941. He obtained his medical examination and was declared a 1A, which meant he was in top condition and able to serve. He wrote the words "Raring and ready to go" on his draft notice and took it to the recruiting station. He was sent to Camp Wheeler in Macon, GA, where he received his basic training, and was then sent to Camp Gordon in Augusta, GA. Mr. Simpson was a soldier in the infantry during World War II, and was sent to the European Theater. He took part in the largest amphibious invasion to ever take place, the Normandy Invasion, on June 6, 1944. Robert was assigned to the 4th Infantry division and was in one of the first boats to land at Utah Beach. He carried a flamethrower onto the beach that day, and he and another soldier were able to clear a position of German machine-gunners on the cliffs above. After the liberation of Normandy, he was one of only three men in his company that had survived the battle. He then continued on in the Allied invasion, ultimately helping to free France from the occupying Germans. He took part in the liberation of Normandy, Cherbourg and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He was also in one of the many military units that relieved the besieged 101st Airborne at Bastogne. He had many stories about the war including the time he was recognized for his heroism. Mr. Simpson said that in the winter of 1944, after his unit had crossed the River Rhine, into Germany, he and another soldier volunteered to low crawl a great distance, in the snow and ice. Their objective was to place three 8-foot pipes filled with explosives, under triple strand razor wire, in the hopes that the explosion would create a breach in the German line. While he neared the wire with the pipes, Robert saw a German machine-gunner, just feet away, preparing his weapon to fire at the two men. Sergeant Simpson then lobbed a grenade over the razor wire towards the German soldier, which exploded in the area of the machine-gun position. There was no resistance from enemy forces after his grenade exploded. He and his comrade were then able to slide the pipes under the wire. The exploding pipes cleared a 20 to 30 yard breach in the wire, which allowed the stalled American forces to advance. SGT Simpson received the Silver Star Medal for his heroic actions. He ultimately developed frostbite on both of his feet due to the harsh winter weather and was sent back to Fort Bragg, NC, where he was treated and given an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army in 1945. Robert then returned to Tennessee where he went to college. He studied business and vocational agriculture, and while in college he was the 4-H Club leader in Jefferson County, TN. One day, while still in college, as he was driving, he saw a young lady riding a bicycle. He offered her a ride home, and she agreed. He loaded her bicycle in his car and off they went. Robert would eventually marry that lady, Zada Elizabeth Bean, in Hopkinsville, KY, on June 20, 1948. He earned his B.S. degree from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, TN, and his B.S.A. from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, TN. Mr. Simpson took the job as County Agent for Hancock County in Tennessee and after only a few years was promoted to District Manager for Tennessee Farmer's Co-op for Middle Tennessee, covering 15 counties. He continued with them for 27 years until 1986. As he approached the age when others were considering retiring, Bob continued to work. He purchased Riverview Realty in Waverly, TN and worked into his eighties as a real estate agent. Bob eventually retired, well into his 80's, and he loved gardening. He was a member of Waverly First United Methodist Church, former member of the Lions Club, Kiwannis Club, National Association of Realtors, Board of Directors for Dickson Board of Realtors, and worked in the CC Camp. Visitation with the family will be Monday, January 19, 2015, from 4-8 p.m., and Tuesday, January 20, 2015, from 10 a.m. until funeral service time at 1 p.m., at the Luff-Bowen Funeral Home in Waverly, TN. Pastor Thad Collier will be officiating the service. Interment will follow in the Anderson Cemetery on Blue Creek Road in McEwen, TN. Survivors include: 3 Daughters: Patricia Cooper (Ronald), Nashville, TN Deborah Smith (Walter), Jackson, GA Carolyn Merritts (Joseph), LaVergne, TN 3 Brothers: Ralph Simpson (Marcia), Waverly, TN Lanier Simpson (Sue), McEwen, TN Douglas Simpson, Waverly, TN 4 Sisters: Roberta Lee, Waverly, TN Ruby Dell England (Marvin), McEwen, TN Margaret Ann Nichols (Odell), Waverly, TN Sandra Stafford (Larry), Waverly, TN LUFF-BOWEN FUNERAL HOME 2400 Hwy. 13 North Waverly, TN 37185 Telephone 931-296-2437 Obituary Line 931-296-3500
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