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Dr. Hassell Algernon Simpson

May 8, 1930 June 10, 2013
Dr. Hassell Algernon Simpson
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Obituary for Dr. Hassell Algernon Simpson

Dr. Hassell Algernon Simpson, a retired professor of English who taught at Hampden-Sydney College for 33 years, died June 10, 2013, at age 83. Born May 8, 1930, in Laurens County, S.C., he was the son of the late John Algernon Simpson and Jewel Boroughs Simpson. After graduating from Gray Court-Owings High School, he enrolled in college at Clemson, where he became editor of the school paper. During his time there, he met his future wife, Grace Pinson Pow of Georgetown, S.C., then a student at Winthrop College. Upon his graduation, he received a commission as an Army officer. He rose to first lieutenant before an early discharge at the end of the Korean War. Hassell and Grace wed in 1953, launching a union that would last 60 years. He worked as a reporter and copy editor at The Greenville (S.C.) News before he and Grace were accepted for graduate teaching assistantships at Florida State University. He earned an M.A. there and finished the course work for the Ph.D. He researched and wrote his dissertation while teaching at Auburn University in Alabama. As soon as he had received his doctorate, he was invited to Hampden-Sydney College, where he was drawn to the small campus and the opportunity to get to know students personally. He began teaching there in 1962 and for a time was chairman of the English department. Indulging his lifelong love of theater, he acted in many plays at Hampden-Sydney, at nearby Longwood College (now University) and elsewhere. He published essays, articles and reviews in periodicals, as well as two books: “Rumer Godden,” a critical biography of the English novelist; and “Hampden-Sydney Stage: Theater at the College, 1786-2002.” He also published two historical monographs, “Simpson Hill, 1819-1978,” about his family home; and “’Twin Halves of One August Event,’” concerning the 1863 death of Union Col. Robert Gould Shaw. He was an elder for three decades at College Church and sang bass in the choir. He also sang with the Richmond Sacred Harp Singers and, in retirement, with the H-SC Men’s Chorus. He is survived by his wife, Grace; three sons, David Simpson and his wife, Teresa Annas, of Norfolk, John Simpson and his wife, Lynne, of Douglasville, Ga., and Bill Simpson and his wife, Kathleen, of Brownsville, Ore.; two sisters, Iris Kittrell and her husband, Vance, of Orangeburg, S.C., and Joyce Horni and her husband, Ed, of Asheville, N.C.; nieces and nephews; and grand-nieces and grand-nephews. The family will receive friends from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, June 21, at Puckett Funeral Home, 115 Covington Court, Farmville. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 22, at College Church in Hampden-Sydney. A reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Grace and Hassell Simpson English Prize, or to the Hassell Simpson Endowed Writers Series Fund, both at Box 637, Hampden-Sydney College, Hampden-Sydney VA 23943. Gifts may also be made to College Church, Box 13, Hampden-Sydney VA 23943. Puckett Funeral Home is serving the family. www.puckettfh.com

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Previous Events

Visitation

Friday

21

Jun

7:00 PM 6/21/2013 7:00:00 PM - 8:30 PM 6/21/2013 8:30:00 PM
Puckett Funeral Home

115 Covington Court
Farmville, VA 23901

Puckett Funeral Home
115 Covington Court Farmville 23901 VA
United States

Service

Saturday

22

Jun

11:00 AM 6/22/2013 11:00:00 AM
College Presbyterian Church

Hampden-Sydney, VA 23943

College Presbyterian Church
Hampden-Sydney 23943 VA
United States
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