George Delbert Lea Simpson
George Delbert Lea Simpson, born Nov. 13, 1931. Raised in Winnipeg and Claresholm. Oldest of three boys. Met my Mum when he was 13 and she was 11 in Claresholm. They married in 1953. He was an elementary school teacher, eventually moving to administration. He was a principal for as long as I can remember.
He started traveling to Africa in 1970 to teach other teachers about administration. This was a life-long passion and he continued to go to Africa after he retired. He spent time in Lesotho, Swaziland and Namibia. The longest stint was four months.
In 1973, he applied to the Department of National Defense and we all moved to what was then West Germany so he could be principal at a Canadian Armed Forces base school. He was my principal. So when I got called to the office, it was usually to convey some message to Mum when I got home. We loved our time in Germany, traveling every chance we got in our VW campervan. We used to see if we could have breakfast, lunch and dinner in three different countries - it is possible. I have amazing memories of our time there and I'm SO grateful he took the plunge and moved his young family so far from home.
But that was Dad - or Big Guy, as we all called him. Life was an adventure to be lived and we were along for the ride.
After returning to Canada in 1976, Dad continued to be a principal at various schools in Calgary. He retired in about 1990. And then he and Mum began traveling Canada in a succession of motorhomes, always with Miniature Schnauzers in tow. (We had Schatzi, Liebchen and Hansel.) That's where I get my love of camping from. And the love of terriers.
Dad loved music and played the guitar and saxophone. In high school, he was part of a group called the Silver Tone Seven - I still have their one and only recording, a 78 rpm. He would lead the singing around the campfire when I was a kid. His favs were Gordon Lightfoot, Neil Diamond and James Keelaghan.
My parents were married just shy of 59 years when my Mum died. It was really hard on my Dad who was in long-term care by then, suffering from COPD and Parkinsons. He missed her so much and although my brother and I visited as much as we could, it wasn't the same. He died four months later. So, they're back together! That was in 2012. Hard to believe it's been nine years already. They are buried together in Claresholm. When we held the interment, my Uncle Dave threw a cigar in with the urns and poured some scotch over Dad's - so he could continue to enjoy wherever he was!
He was a larger than life, funny, warm and loving man and I miss him very much. He called me Biscuits - because Mr. Christie and the good cookies. But no one else is allowed to!
And that was my Dad. As he aged, he looked just like the character of Carl from the movie Up! especially the crazy eyebrows.
~ Christina Waldner
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