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home : obituaries : obituaries April 29, 2016

7/9/2013 6:00:00 AM
Obituary: James Simpson

James A. Simpson of Kingman died Wednesday, June 26, 2013, in Kingman. He was born in January 1923 in Breckenridge, Texas, to Joseph "Jerry" Simpson and Mary Cunningham. His father was born in Los Angeles, his mother in Edinburgh, Scotland; she came to this country as a World War I war bride.

His early years were spent in Gallup and Albuquerque, N.M. He graduated from Albuquerque High School in 1941.

On Dec. 30, 1941, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and after 30 days of military training he was shipped to the South Pacific, where his unit was stationed for three years on jungle landing strips, moving from Australia to the Philippines, where they could make emergency repairs to fighter planes too damaged to make it back to base.

Jim graduated from the University of New Mexico in 1950 with a bachelor of science in civil engineering and formed a company, Albuquerque Engineers. He held a U.S. mineral surveyor's license and surveyed many of the uranium claims in New Mexico as well as mineral claims in Oregon.

In 1966, he earned his master's degree in civil engineering from Purdue University on a teaching fellowship and accepted a position at Oregon Technical Institute in Klamath Falls, Ore. In 1971, the Bureau of Land Management asked him to design a training program for Cadastral surveyors at the University of Portland, and in 1976 he was accepted for the new BLM position of specialist in riparian boundary surveys with nationwide responsibilities in water boundary determinations. In that position, he traveled extensively and testified in many court cases for the government. He is the author of many professional papers and publications, the last of which is the manual, "River and Lake Boundaries," which is held in high regard by his fellow surveyors.

Jim is survived by his wife of 50 years, Ruth (Barber); a daughter, Nancy (Ray) Reynolds; a son, Donald (Diana) Martin; and grandchildren, Desra Ann and Devin James Simpson.

At his request, there will be no funeral service. The family will host a memorial in Kingman in October for family and friends.

Anyone wishing to remember him, please do so by making a donation to the local blood bank or a charity of your choice.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2013
Article comment by: Barbara Pierce

I am so sorry to hear of Jim's passing. Ruth, my thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time.

Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2013
Article comment by: Stephen Kopach

Jim was a friend and colleague who taught me a great deal, not only on surveying, but life in general. I shared an office with Jim for almost three years and I got to know Jim pretty well. I will miss Jim's quick wit and dry sense of humor. Outside surveying, Jim had a variety of diverse projects that always kept challenging himself. I kept in touch with Jim over my 34 year Department of the Interior career, and I consider him a friend and mentor. My thoughts are with family, friends and colleagues who have lost a very good man. Jim, rest in peace.

Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Article comment by: Tim Kent

What a great loss as a mentor and friend for the past 40 some years. I have lots of great memories with Jim from the OTI days as a student, years of interaction at BLM, the writing of his water boundary book, and just an overall friendship through the years. He is in my thoughts and prayers, rest in peace.

Posted: Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Article comment by: Justin Chambers

Jim was a great person. He will be missed by many in the community and by members and volunteers of the musuem. I've known him for a long time and he will be sorely missed. I enjoyed our many breakfast get togethers with him and his wife. He was very sharp and quick witted, even in his final years. I hope I can achieve half of what he did in his life.

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