EAST PRAIRIE -- A celebration of the life of Carl Simpkins Sr., 83, will be conducted at 3 p.m. July 12, 2006 at the Shelby Funeral Home in East Prairie with the Revs. Ted Wimberley and George White, pastor of the First Baptist Church, officiating. Steve Douglas will provide music. Following the service, Mr. Simpkins will be taken to the East Prairie Cemetery on a flat-bed trailer pulled by his favorite brand of tractor, a John Deere, driven by his grandson, Tra Simpkins. Interment will be conducted with military honors.
Mr. Simpkins died at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, July 9, 2006 at Southeast Missouri Hospital in Cape Girardeau. He was born in Leachville, Ark. on Nov. 22, 1922, son of the late Benjamin Harrison and Mary Jane Owens Simpkins. He had lived in East Prairie all his adult life.
Mr. Simpkins led a full and active life. He graduated from East Prairie High School in 1941 and entered the Army Air Force shortly after graduation. During World War II, he was stationed in the Philippines as a mail clerk. In this capacity, he personally delivered communications to General MacArthur on a daily basis. Mr. Simpkins was extremely proud to have had the opportunity to serve his country during a time of war. After coming home from the war, he married and began his family. His adventure in farming had begun. Mr. Simpkins began with only a very small farm and limited equipment, but lots of love and passion for the land. With much hard work and the Lord's help, he was able to expand his farming operation into a large successful business. Up until just a few years ago, he could still be seen driving a tractor or hauling beans in his truck.
Over the many years of his life, he received numerous awards for his achievements in farming. In 1963, he and his family were awarded the Plant to Prosper Farming Family of the Year through the Mid-South Association. In 1971, the Apollo Co. of Abilene, Texas named him an Outstanding Farmer of America. For many years, Mr. Simpkins served on the Board of Directors for MFA Oil Company. Mr. Simpkins was a personal friend of newly elected Governor Warren Hearnes and in 1970, he and his family attended Hearnes' inauguration and the inaugural ball.
In addition to all his farming activities, Mr. Simpkins was active in many aspects of the local and state Future Farmers of America. He also sponsored 4-H clubs when his children were young. Recently, he displayed his physical abilities by earning a bronze medal at the Senior Olympics. His hobbies included dancing, traveling, running races with his grandchildren and beating everyone at cards. It was often said that Mr. Simpkins never met a stranger. Above all this, Mr. Simpkins was a lifelong active member of the First Baptist Church in East Prairie. He proudly served as a Deacon of the church for over 40 years at the time of his death.
In 1946 he married Merrillian Collins who passed away on Oct. 7, 1984. He is survived by one son and daughter-in-law, Carl Lester and Penny Simpkins of East Prairie; and three daughters and sons-in-law, Barbara and Bill Pope and Eugenia and George (Bill) Cogdill of East Prairie and Janie and Bryan Horton of Mesa, Ariz. He is also survived by 10 grandchildren, one step granddaughter, seven great-granddaughters and one step great-granddaughter.
On Sept. 27, 1985, he married Joann Lemons Morgan of East Prairie, who survives of the home. He is also survived by one stepson and stepdaughter-
in-law, Steve and Cindy Morgan of East Prairie, and two step grandchildren and one step great-grandchild.
Mr. Simpkins is survived by two sisters, Bernice Thresher of LaCenter, Ky. and Mattie Prince of Charleston; one brother, Roy Simpkins of East Prairie and one half-brother and sister in law, James and Linda Simpkins of Louisville, Ky. Two brothers, J.B. Simpkins and Johnny Simpkins preceded him in death.
Pallbearers will be: Gary Thresher, Dr. Jimmy Heath, Kelly Barker, Milas Mainord, Lester Moore and William Taylor.