Small Town News


William Simpson

Journal Opinion of Bradford, Vermont

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1925 — 2015

PIERMONT — William "Bill" Marden Simpson, 90, passed away on Aug. 20, 2015 from complications associated with an accidental fall at his home on July 8. He died peacefully at his home surrounded by his family.

Bill was born in Haverhill on Jan. 14, 1925, the only child of J. Ralph and Elsie Mitchell Simpson.

Bill attended Haverhill Academy with the class of'43. He did not graduate with his classmates because he enlisted in the US Marine Corps at the age of 17 on Jan. 4, 1943. Bill was awarded a "War Emergency Diploma."

Bill proudly served his country as a member of the newly formed 4tK Marine Division in the South Pacific Theater. He served as a telephone lineman on the front lines. His division saw successful campaigns on the Marshall Islands, Saipan, and Tinian. On Feb. 19, 1945, the 4th landed on Iwo Jima. Within the first hour on the island Bill sustained a shrapnel wound for which he was awarded the Purple Heart. Ten months and four operations later Bill received an honorable discharge from the USMC in 1945.

Bill married his teenage sweetheart, Ellen Morse of Medford, MA, on Aug. 9, 1946. They lived in Manchester, NH where Bill attended sign-painting school on the GI Bill. After two years, they moved to Littleton Where Bill drove a delivery truck for Profile Dry Cleaners. In 1950 Bill and Ellen bought their farm on Route 10 in Piermont where they have lived ever since. Bill farmed with his father until Ralph's death in 1957.

He sold the dairy herd and went to work for Whiting Milk Company in Bradford for 19 years. When Whiting decided to move to New York, Bill made the decision to stay in Piermont. He found a job with Boise Cascade demolishing the Lake Tarleton Country Club and cutting trees along the survey lines on Piermont Mountain and around the lakes. Boise Cascade eventually sold the property, so Bill began another career painting with Bill Knehr of Pike. He then found a job painting at Dartmouth College where he worked for 20 years before retiring in 1990. He painted many landmark buildings including Baker Library.

Not one to remain idle, Bill decided to become an independent painting contractor. He painted his way up and down the Upper Connecticut River Valley for 10 years before an accident with a ladder ended his work career.

Bill always believed in volunteering. In 1964, as part of Piermont's Bicentennial celebration, Bill painted all of the date signs that were hung on each house specifying when that house was built. Some of those signs are still hanging today. He was a long-time volunteer fireman with the Piermont Fire Department helping build the new fire station and digging the Piermont "Puddle."

Continuing his service to country, Bill was a member of the North Country Iwo Jima Survivors Group and a lifetime member of the American Legion of Ross-Wood Post #20 in Woodsville. He was also a lifetime member of the VF W Post#5245 in North Haverhill. Bill was a great proponent and successful salesman for the Buddy Poppy program that helps disabled veterans and survivors of deceased veterans.

Bill really liked to work, but he also enjoyed an active lifestyle including hunting, fishing, skiing, skating, and hiking. He spent a lot of time at the family camp on Lake Armington. And every year he had to go to the beach. In recent years he enjoyed mowing his lawn and working on the weekly bingo games at the VFW.

A talented singer, Bill loved to sing along to the piano after dinner. And he loved going to dances. He enjoyed everything musical from Big Band to Country to Gospel. His favorite shows were Lawrence Welk and the Gaithers Precious Memories. He loved to reminisce about life in Piermont and Haverhill corner, and he was a fount of knowledge when it came to those towns' histories.

Bill was a wonderful son, husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather. He never met a stranger, welcoming everyone into his home for a cup of coffee and a meal. He loved to get a hug and a kiss from "the girls," a constant source of amusement for his family and friends. He was a good friend and will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

He leaves behind his loving wife of 69 years, Ellen, of Piermont; his daughter, Karen Simpson, and his daughter-in-law, Brenda Strong, of Laconia; his daughter, Julie Simpson Lamarre, and son-in-law, Bruce Lamarre, of Piermont; his granddaughter, Karen Lamarre Gansz, and her husband Chris Gansz of Warren; his granddaughter, Gail Lamarre Pearl, and great grandchildren Xander, Liam, and Mackenzie Pearl of Piermont; and his grandson, Timothy Lamarre and his wife, Hannah Marsh Lamarre, and great grandchildren, Isabelle and Tristen Lamarre of Boiling Springs, SC.

Calling hours will be held Sept. 4 from 6-8 p.m. at Ricker Funeral Home, 1 Birch Street, Woodsville. A celebration of Bill's life will be held Sept. 5 at 11 a.m. at the Piermont Congregational Church, 101 Church Street, Piermont.

In lieu of flowers Bill asked that anyone wishing to, could make donations to either:

VFW Post 5245, in care Dale Pierson, 3 Beech Street, Woodsville, NH 03785; or Piermont Fire Department, in care of Bruce Henry, 224 River Road, Piermont, NH 03 779.

Ricker Funeral Home and Cremation Care of Woodsville is in charge of arrangements. For more information, visit

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Original Publication Date: August 26, 2015

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