Valerie G. Simpson
1955-2023One of St. George’s most devoted champions of the school, longtime faculty member and school archivist Valerie G. Simpson died in her longtime campus home, Wyn Wyc House, on Monday, June 5, 2023. She was 68.
Val arrived at St. George’s with her husband, English teacher Jeff Simpson, in 1982 and served for many years as the school’s librarian before taking time off to be a full-time mother to her and Jeff’s cherished son, Will, a member of the St. George’s Class of 2014.
In 2011, Val became school archivist and presided over St. George’s collection of historic artifacts, trinkets, photographs, publications, and various eclectic ephemera with fastidious, heartfelt care and reverence.
Appreciation and Memories
Truly heartbreaking to hear of her passing. The Simpsons were the major reason I stayed at St. George's. Jeff became my advisor and also coached me in basketball. Beautiful warm people that were tremendously supportive and helped me so much. My dearest condolences go out to Jeff and their son Will.
—Bob Edenbach ’94
Mrs. Simpson saw me for the quirky, bookish adolescent I was and heartily embraced each iteration of who I've become since graduating from SG. My fondest memory with her is actually one of the most recent. My daughter and I returned to the Hilltop for a reunion. During our archives visit, Mrs. Simpson showed yearbook pictures of me and told stories about who I was when I was in school. The look on my daughter's face at this discovery is the same look of awe and curiosity (and laughter) that Mrs. Simpson inspired in all who came through the library and archives and were blessed by her knowledge and wisdom. Her warmth and wit will stay with both of us forever. I am so grateful for the time we had together. I hold Mr. Simpson, Will, and all of her loved ones in my heart and wish you grace, peace, and love always.
—Holly Moten Fidler ’94
I met Val at a New England Archivist annual conference many years ago. We became conference buddies over the years, and I valued our professional connection. I cherished Val’s warm friendship, always looking forward to seeing her and sharing stories. I will miss her. I send Light to her family, friends, and the St George’s community.
—Anne Krive, Moses Brown School
Mrs. Simpson's open heart and open mind helped me get the most out of St. George's — and life. I was so lucky to be her advisee and to get to work in the library with her. Her quiet strength, her sense of humor, her professional expertise, her lifelong curiosity, and her love for her husband, her son, and her extended SG family will always be with me.
—Tegan Willever Tigani ’94
In recent reunions—2017 and 2022—some of my classmates and I gathered first thing Saturday morning, instinctively, without any prearrangement, at the school archives where Valerie Simpson presided. She opened the doors and the files wide into the shade of our distant past, letting us pore over black-and-white photos, Red & White newspapers, Dragons, trustees minutes. For me, these explorations led to reinterpretation of that past and newfound thanks. Under Valerie’s welcome and direction in the archives, I was made to feel still a part of St. George’s. Her realm was vast and meticulously organized, yet intimate as an old family photo album. I am most grateful to have known Valerie Simpson, however fleetingly.
—Jay Merwin ’72
Mrs. Simpson. You were such a sweet soul. I was fortunate to have known you. My deepest condolences go out to Mr. Simpson, son Will and the entire SG Community. “The God of love and peace shall be with you.” – Corinthians 13:11
—Carlos Gonzalez ’98
Val was a wealth of SG historical knowledge, a well of kindness, a champion supporter, lover of nature and native gardens, my favorite place for rainy day research with her. No words for the heartbreaking loss of this beautiful wonderful human. Irreplaceable.
—Lori Silvia, P’13, former staff
Mrs. Simpson was exceptionally kind and took time to know everyone at SG. I frequently checked out a book from the Library about Chicago when I felt homesick. Mrs. Simpson let me know that a new edition had become available if I wanted SG to get a new copy. I remained touched by her kindness and in how she took the time to get to know students through their reading choices. We shall all remember her fondly — many sympathies to Mr. Simpson and their son.
—Justin Craib-Cox ’90
My flights of angels sing Val to her rest. When I arrived on the Hilltop and was faced with learning the various traditions for my first Christmas here, Val compassionately showed me the way, providing invaluable perspectives of her time as well as beautiful examples from the long history of the school. Her warmth and kindness live on in the many lives she has touched here.
—Kate Longo, SG Music Director, Faculty
Val was a wonderful colleague and neighbor, always happy to chat as we watered plants in the community garden or bringing up her latest discovery in the Archives. She was passionate about SG history, and sharing the stories of those who came before us on the Hilltop. Val always made time for any student, alum, or faculty member and she loved to share the collection with students in particular. In the library, we will miss her passion for her craft, her wisdom, and laugh.
—Kate Fox, SG Associate Director of Library Services
Val was an energetic, dedicated and talented archivist who was tremendously knowledgeable about the school’s past. We exchanged a number of e-mails over the years about obscure corners of SGS history, and she was always interested in discovering long-lost records and artifacts and preserving them for posterity. Her passing is a profound loss to the SGS community; deepest sympathy to her family and friends.
—John Barry ’77
Jeff and Will — we are holding you in our hearts at this time. Val was such an incredible light for the SG community. She cared deeply about the school and was a gentle steward of its history. She will be missed and always remembered.
—Katie Titus, former faculty member
Val's passion for libraries and preserving the history of SG inspired everyone around her, and I was honored to get to work alongside her. I will miss her smiles, her stories, her kindness, her friendship.
—Laura Hooper, SG Director of Library Services
R.I.P to an incredible person and teacher. She always had something insightful to add and constant encouragement every time I came across her on campus. She will be missed dearly by so many. So glad I was able to share some time with her!
—Dierra Wilson ’12
Valerie loved helping all students interested in history. She. was a treasure to the SG community and will be missed.
—John Grosvenor ’70
I am absolutely devastated by this news. I have known Val since 1989 when I first arrived on the Hilltop. Since then, she and Jeff were first like surrogate parents to me, then later became close friends. She is one of the warmest, kindest, most thoughtful people I have ever known (I cannot bring myself to use the past tense). This is an immense loss to the entire SG community, and my heart goes out to Jeff and Will and to everyone else who was lucky enough to have Val be part of their lives.
—Charles Barzun ’93
A serious archivist with a great sense of humor. I enjoyed our communications always about items around the school. So sorry to hear about her passing.
—Clinton Howell ’67
Oh Val! Thank you for making my school days home like with your caring and nice words to me! Mr. Simpson: My greatest condolences for you, my always-favourite English teacher.
—Fernández-Castillo Garcés Francisco Manuel
Mrs. Simpson was always so kind and helpful to me during my time at SG — especially when putting together The Lance! There wasn’t anything she didn’t know about SG, and I will always appreciate the help she gave me. Sending my love, prayers, and condolences.
—Georgia Barrett ’21