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1936 Ruby Bernice Simpson 2024

Ruby Bernice Simpson

September 6, 1936 — February 18, 2024

Ruby Bernice Simpson, age 87, passed away February 18, 2024. She was born September 6, 1936, in Crabtree, Arkansas, to the late William Ayers and Mollie (Williams) Neldon. 

Her dad was, at one time, a local judge and lawyer: but most of the time a simple farmer, which meant they were poor, and life was hard sometimes.  But her mom would always tell her she loved her and then kiss her on the forehead! Ruby grew up in a Christ-oriented family. Both of her parents were devoted Christians, and she followed in their footsteps as a believer in Christ.

In her teen years she met Thomas C Simpson, who lived in a nearby town. Later,  Ruby married Thomas in 1953, in Newport Arkansas. To better themselves, they moved north to Michigan – working first at the Morrison Farm in Paw Paw. After some time, Thomas went to work for a higher paying job at Rex Paper Company.

Their firstborn son was born in 1957; and a daughter in 1966. But unfortunately, Ruby and Thomas divorced shortly afterwards. To support her family, Ruby began working at the WL Molding Company in Portage as Plastics Molding Machine Operator, where she worked for over 30 years.

Since she never finished graduating from high school in Arkansas, Ruby decided to enroll in Adult Education in Portage. In 1980 she finally earned that coveted High School Diploma, which she was very proud of! During this time, she saw both of her children graduate college and leave home, so she sold her house in 1990 and became an apartment renter.

After her retirement, Ruby was lonely and bored after spending all those years working with her peers. Since she always had a desire to help others, she began a "second" career as a volunteer with Senior Services in Kalamazoo, where she worked for 12 years. Everybody loved Ruby because of her "talk-ability" and her smile and laugh.

In late 2012 and into 2013, Ruby began having memory issues, and it was discovered that she was showing the signs of the first stages of dementia. With each year, her memory declined. In 2016, after her son developed Parkinson’s and couldn’t provide the extra help she needed in Kalamazoo, Ruby moved into a senior apartment complex in Grand Rapids to be closer to her daughter, who could help her in the care she needed.

Unfortunately, Ruby was slowly losing her battle with dementia. When she could no longer live by herself, she moved to an assisted living home; and later to a fully staffed, 24-hour memory care facility in NE Grand Rapids. But the dementia continued to ravage her brain and memory, and on the early morning of February 18, 2024, Ruby Simpson passed away peacefully in her sleep, due to the ravages of dementia. She is now with Jesus and is full once again in mind and body.

Ruby was preceded in death by her parents; former husband, Thomas C. Simpson in 2011; and siblings: Carson, Robert, Nova, Johnny, Lucille, Aaron, and Charles.

She is survived by her son, Thomas Bruce (Karen) Simpson; daughter, Debbie Arlene (Brian) Noel; sisters, Ruth Jones, and Martha Pilcher; as well as several nieces and nephews. 

A memorial service will take place Monday, February 26, 2024, at 11:00am at Langeland Family Funeral Homes Burial and Cremation Services, 3926 S 9th St, Kalamazoo, Michigan 49009, where family will greet friends from 10-11:00am. A time for food and fellowship will follow. Ruby will be laid to rest at Hill Cemetery in Lawrence.

Donations in Ruby’s memory may be made to Friends of the Portage Senior Center or the Alzheimer’s Association.

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Gathering

Monday, February 26, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Memorial Service

Monday, February 26, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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