Violin and fiddle stuff

Retired engineer, painter, violinist Bruce Simpson died Monday, Nov. 22, 2010


Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Bruce Simpson passed away Nov. 22 2010

Bruce Simpson passed away Nov. 22 2010

by: Mark Hicks / The Detroit News

Painting a watercolor portrait, designing a steering wheel, playing the violin in a community concert — Bruce Simpson could do it all.
“He was a man of many talents,” said his wife, Edwina. “Creativity was a real part of Bruce’s life.”
Mr. Simpson died Monday, Nov. 22, 2010, in hospice care after declining health. He was 89.
Born May 19, 1921, in Detroit, he attended Greenfield Village Schools, an experimental learning facility.
There, he began playing the violin, and once was loaned an Italian instrument owned by Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Co., relatives said.
Mr. Simpson later attended the Edison Institute and worked as a draftsman at Ford’s Willow Run plant.
After a stint at Michigan State University, he joined the Army Air Corps and served in such places as Canada and the Azores. While working as an air traffic control officer, he met Alice Wilhelm. They wed in 1946.
Earning a mechanical engineering degree at the University of Illinois, Mr. Simpson returned to Metro Detroit in 1947 and began working at Ford. He worked in cooling systems and oversaw the design of factory-installed safety features such as door locks, seat belts and steering wheels, relatives said. “He was also a person who would look at a problem and want to solve it,” his wife said. “He would figure out ways to solve it that were out of the box.”
Mr. Simpson retired in 1986 as an executive engineer of fuel economy and emissions.

Outside of work, a major passion was playing the violin. He spent a decade with a Plymouth music group and more than 40 years in the Dearborn Symphony Orchestra, which he helped found in 1961.
Over the years, Mr. Simpson performed at many concerts and often spent summers taking music classes to hone his skills.
“He was really an accomplished violinist who played at every opportunity,” said Sandy Butler, president of the Dearborn Symphony Orchestra. “Music was very important to him.”
An avid skier and golfer, Mr. Simpson also loved traveling — including once tracing the 19th-century Lewis and Clark expedition through the West.
Some of his trips yielded more creativity: He painted watercolor portraits based on the photographs. “He just had a gift,” his wife said.
Other survivors include sons Dick, John, David, Tom; stepsons Michael Clay and Whit Clay; 12 grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and a sister, Charlotte Martin.
His first wife died in 1988.
Memorials may be made to the University of Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Attn: Courtney McDonald, 2101 Commonwealth Blvd., Suite D, Ann Arbor, MI 48105.
via Retired engineer, painter, violinist | detnews.com | The Detroit News.

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