Russell David Simpson

Russell David Simpson

HAZELHURST-Russell David Simpson, age 66, of Hazelhurst went to eternal life on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, after a courageous battle with cancer.

He was born on June 30, 1951 in Beloit, Wis., to Leonard Clyde and Dorothy Marian (McHone) Simpson.

Russ graduated from Turner High School, class of 1969. He went on to get his bachelor degree from UW-Madison for Biology and two masters degrees from UW-Green Bay and UW-Milwaukee in education, which was his true calling. He was a high school Biology and Advanced Biology teacher for 34 years at Pulaski High School retiring in 2008. He had a unique classroom filled with live animals, a greenhouse, sand jars from all over the world, and a mural painted by his students, adding additional scenes through the years. He was the ice cream man, avid joke and story teller, and lover of the outdoors. He also created a nature preserve behind Pulaski High School for students to work on and enjoy which was one of his passions.

Russ was a Golden Apple recipient from Herb Kohl, an Upward Bound teacher, became a high school football referee, member of the Scottish Rite Freemasons, barbershop quartet singer, fisherman, and he loved to play the standup bass fiddle, banjo and harmonica. He was also an expert handyman, a craft passed on by his father who was a master woodworker. Besides his love of teaching, he had a great love of coaching. He started with cross country and football, moving into high school girls’ basketball and his daughters’ grade and middle school teams. He finished as a proud spectator of many years of soccer games, dance team competitions, and in recent years loved to watch the grandchildren play soccer.

In 2006, Russ met his future wife, Ali. Over the next 11 years, Russ and Ali purchased a home up north in Wisconsin and a townhouse in Green Valley, Ariz. They split their retirement between their summer home and winter get away. They loved to find new adventures on their journey between the two places. Boat rides, reading, antique hunting, house renovations, watching Badger games with friends, and being active in their church filled their time.

Russ is survived by wife, Alice Simpson; daughters, Kelly (Pat) McGrath and Tara (Scott) Sonnenberg; step-children, Jim (Corina) Rasmussen, Carrie (Dale) Weaver, Noah (Jen) Rasmussen, Benn Rasmussen, Sarah (Greg) Kewley and Jake Rasmussen; sisters, Rita (Bill) Dongarra, Ann Perkins and Debbie Simpson (mother of Kelly and Tara); four nephews and three nieces; and 11, plus one very special grandchildren, Kylie, Ian, Gwendolyn, Cailyn, Bellana, Lexie, Ashleigh, Sean, Zachariah, Bennett and Ryan. He was preceded in death by his father, Leonard Clyde Simpson; mother, Dorothy Marian Simpson; and father-in-law, Lambert Hank Cerny.

A special thanks to all the doctors and nurses at UW Madison and Green Bay Oncology for their compassionate care of our beloved husband, father and granddad. Also, special thanks to the staff at Altrusa House (Green Bay), Restoring Hope Transplant House (Middleton) and Agrace HospiceCare (Fitchburg) for the care and love you gave our family. “Time will ease our sadness, gently…family and friends will uplift our spirits, softly peace will replace pain. Eternally…so you shall live.”

A memorial service will be held at ASCENSION LUTHERAN CHURCH, 7937 U.S. Hwy. 51 S, Minocqua, at 11 a.m., on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, with lunch to follow.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Altrusa House (Green Bay) or Restoring Hope Transplant House (Middleton).