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SIMPSON – (Katherine) Mary

April 2, 1921 – February 13, 2011

Mary Simpson, a highly respected businesswoman and rancher in the Grand Valley north west of Cochrane, Alberta, passed away peacefully at her ranch on February 13, 2011 with members of her family at her side. Mary was predeceased by her husband, Jack Simpson (1984), with whom she started the Simpson Ranch. Born in Leicestershire, England, Mary (Bass) moved with her family to Gibbons, Alberta, in 1930. An exceptionally intelligent and well-read young woman, Mary completed high school in Edmonton and studied mathematics and sciences at the University of Alberta.

She met Jack, a U of A engineering graduate, at the beginning of the war and their romance continued to their marriage in 1945. Mary and Jack moved to Calgary in 1947, started a family, and expanded the life partnership through Jack’s work with Burns and Dutton Concrete and Construction Company Limited. B&D ultimately ended under the control of Jack Simpson and the name was changed to CANA Construction. In 1956, Jack and Mary made a huge leap of faith and created Simpson Ranching to the north west of Cochrane. Throughout their years together, Mary and Jack operated as team, supporting each other, planning ahead and jointly making the sacrifices that would lead to success. Throughout the world, Mary’s straightforward personality earned her the admiration of a diverse range of people, from South American generals to the Cochrane ranch hands. “The most important thing is to be yourself,” she frequently replied when asked how she attracted so many friends.
Mary is survived by her daughter, Barbara Kerr (Barney) of the Bahamas, and her son, John Simpson (Jollean Hancen) of Cochrane. She is also survived by six grandchildren Tara McTaggart (Neil), Kelly Kerr, Barbara Von Hahn (Chad), Patrick Kerr, Christie Simpson (Jeremy Van Staalduine) and Luke Simpson, four great-grandchildren, and brother, Russell Bass (Dorothy). Mary was predeceased by her brother, John Bass and his wife Muriel. Mary asked that a Celebration of Life be held when the grass is green. You may forward condolences through www.mcinnisandholloway.com. In lieu of flowers if friends wish, memorial tributes may be made directly to The Children’s Hospital Aid Society (CHAS) Box 900, Calgary, AB T2P 2M7 www.chascalgary.ca .

In living memory of Mary Simpson, a tree will be planted at Big Hill Springs Park, Cochrane by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Cochrane Funeral Home, 369 RAILWAY STREET, COCHRANE. Telephone: (403) 932-4740.

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Condolence Messages

  1. John and family,
    My thoughts and prayers are with you during your time of mourning.
    May treasured memories bring you peace.
    With sincere sympathy,
    Cathy Brooks

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  2. Dear Barbara and John,

    On behalf of the Bert and Mary Border family, please accept my condolences on the loss of your Mother Mary – my parents so enjoyed her company and I remember all the wonderful work she did for the Alberta Children’s Hospital Aide Society, her bowling at the Glencoe and her involvement with you in your riding careers … I know you will miss her – may she rest in peace.

    Sincerely Jayne Border

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  3. Haakon Dagsvik :

    To John and family
    My sincerest condolences with the passing of your mother. She was a great lady.
    Peace be with you all.

    Haakon Dagsvik
    Thunder Bay, Ontario

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  4. Bob and Gloria Remington :

    Christie,
    So sorry to read of your grandmother’s passing. She seemed to epitomize the best of the entrepreneurial, pioneering spirit of Alberta.
    – Bob & Gloria

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  5. Gwen McKendrick, Russell & Patricia Wiechnik :

    Dear Barb, John and families,
    We have many wonderful memories of your Mom. She truly had a genuine, engaging personality. Our lives have been blessed just knowing her. With our deepest condolences,

    Gwen McKendrick, Russell & Patricia Wiechnik

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  6. Barb and John: My thoughts are with you on the passing of your Mother. She was quick to smile and had a unique charm and warmth. My best regards….Nick Agnew

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  7. Dr. John Campbell :

    John and family:

    Please accept our condolences on the passing of your mother. She was a wonderful woman and I always enjoyed the chance to visit with her when we were at the ranch. She was always so good to the veterinary students that we brought out over the years. She will be missed.

    Sincerely, John Campbell (WCVM)

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  8. Dean and Brenda Slater :

    John, Jollean, Christie and Luke;

    Our deepest sympathies to you on the passing of Mary. Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time.

    Dean and Brenda Slater

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  9. Gordon & Wendy Lackey :

    John Simpson and Family,

    We just returned from a vacation and read in the local paper of the passing of your Mother. The obituary portrayed how much a person of substance your Mother was. May we pass our condolences to you and your family from our family in this time of sadness.

    Gordon and Wendy Lackey

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  10. Douglas Freeman :

    The Simpson Family,

    On behalf of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, I would like to extend our sincere condolences to your family.

    Douglas Freeman
    (Dean, WCVM)

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  11. Gregg & Christine Dutton :

    John Simpson and Family,
    We received the sad news yesterday on the passing of Mary, from Russel & Dorothy.
    We were very pleased to have met Mary in April 2004. After hearing so much about her from Mum & Dad (Steven and Vera Smith) over the years, after they had visited Canada and stayed at the Ranch with Mary. I think it is true to say it was one of the highlights of their Life, it was certainly one of ours.

    Our condolence from Gregg & Christine Dutton

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  12. John and family please accept my condolences on the loss of your mother, grandmother and great grandmother. I know how important family is to you all and know she will be greatly missed but forever remembered. Ray Clark.

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  13. For some reason I thought of Mary and the ranch this morning, only to look her up on Google and find she has joined Jack in another place. My thoughts are with each of you, John and family. Introducing Juan to Mary on a visit to the ranch years ago and having her show him the pool room is a great memory. She had that rugged yet wise & kind demeanor. Best wishes, Bob

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