A true love story, when one can’t live without the other. Don and Maxine Simpson, of Bakersfield, California were married 62 years and died within four hours of each other.
According to the couple’s granddaughter, Melissa Sloan, the couple passed away approximately four hours apart on the morning of July 21. Maxine, 87, had suffered from bladder cancer, while Don, 90, had struggled with Alzheimer’s disease and suffered a broken hip and pneumonia in the week before his death.
The couple lived in Bakersfield since the early 1950s. They were introduced by mutual friends at a local bowling alley. Don proposed six months later, and they were married in 1952.
Soon after their marriage in 1952, they moved to Germany where Don took a civil engineering job with the U.S. Army, and spent the next few years in Europe.
Maxine wasn’t able to have children due to complications from an ectopic pregnancy. They adopted twin 18-month-old boys — James Mack and William Walter Simpson — from a German orphanage.
They returned to the U.S. and settled in Bakersfield, living primarily in the Westchester area. Maxine resumed nursing, and Don worked as chief engineer at the Kern County Public Works Department for a few years before running his own engineering business until 1995.
Two weeks ago Don Simpson was taken to the hospital for a broken hip, but his health quickly started to deteriorate. His family brought him home to be with his wife, who had been battling cancer for several years.
“I knew in my heart this is what’s supposed to happen. Grandma and Grandpa are supposed to be together and Grandma and Grandpa are going to die together,” Melissa Sloan said.
With her family and the love of her life by her side, Maxine Simpson quietly passed away. She died at 7 a.m. on July 21st. At 10 a.m., as her body was being taken from the room, Sloan noticed her grandfather’s breathing was becoming labored.
“I walked them out with her body, walked back in to check on grandpa and he quit breathing as soon as her body left the room,” Sloan recalled. “He left with her, and they passed four hours apart from each other.”
In addition to Melissa Sloan, the Simpsons are survived by their son, James Mack Simpson, of Bakersfield, and four grandchildren. Their other son, William Walter Simpson, died earlier this year.
A memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Aug. 21 at Hillcrest Memorial Park, 9101 Kern Canyon Road.
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