Each of Jennifer Simpson's six children grew up hearing her favorite phrase: "Momma loves you best!" After many years and several generations, the phrase morphed accordingly, becoming first "Grandma loves you best" and then, eventually, "G.G. loves you best!"
Everyone fortunate enough to hear Jennifer say this to them believed she loved them best, and all of them were right.
Jennifer was born Jennifer Olivia Reyes on January 2, 1929 in Evanston, Illinois. She was the oldest of twelve children born to Jordan and Grace Reyes, and very early on she saw the value of caring for others. She helped raise her brothers and sisters with a patience and kindness she kept the rest of her life.
A strong penchant for experimentation, a talent for chemistry, and an intense curiosity in the world around her pushed Jennifer into the sciences. She earned her bachelor of science degree in chemistry from the Kinsey Institute in 1951 and her master's degree in the same subject from the University of Washington in 1954.
It was at the University of Washington campus where Jennifer met James Simpson, the man destined to become her husband. Upon meeting him at a mixer, Jennifer stated her intention to take him on a date. When James protested that he couldn't possibly let her buy him dinner, she retorted with, "Then come volunteer with me at the soup kitchen, and we'll call it a draw." Such was Jennifer's way. She was straightforward with her intentions, all-encompassing in her kindness, and passionate about helping others.
Jennifer and James married on May 18, 1953. Upon graduating, they moved to Tacoma, WA, where Jennifer taught high school chemistry at Tacoma High, a job she would keep for nearly four decades. During that time, they welcomed their children, Katherine, Maria, Jaime, Lily, Alex, and Isabella. For her students and her children, Jennifer was known for being a loving and patient teacher as well as a tremendous force for discipline and guidance.
Her sense of humor was well-known and well-loved, or at least well-tolerated with good-natured groans. Her favorite joke that many students heard over the years was, "What do you do with sick chemists? If you can't helium and you can't curium, you might as well barium."
In her later years, Jennifer maintained a partial presence at the high school, spent time with her grandchildren, and continued volunteering for soup kitchens and homeless shelters. Although she was slowed by her illness in the end, she was never lacking for family, friends, and volunteers who lit up at her presence. She had a way of listening and responding to people that made them feel heard and appreciated.
It is why so many people, even now that she's gone, continue to love her best.
Download this obituary template — free!
Formatted and ready to use with Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or any other word processor that can open the .DOC file format.
Index of obituary templates