Robert E. Simpson
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AUSA Robert E. "Bob" Simpson, 93 years old, passed away Monday morning on October 18, 2021. He went peacefully to his maker after shattering his hip and recovering in a rehabilitation facility. He suffered a long battle with FLD. Bob was a good, kind, and patient man- always positive even in adversity. Bob's sunny disposition didn't allow one to stay angry with him very long. He worked as an assistant U.S. attorney (AUSA) for 42 years and he thoroughly loved his job and the people he worked with- they were family to him. The Knoxville U.S. Justice Department was a close-knit group of conscientious and stalwart employees doing their jobs respectfully and courageously for their community and country. Bob was born in Atlanta, GA and attended school in Sylvan Hills, a community of Atlanta and graduated from Boys High. He was athletic in his youth as he excelled in football, baseball, and jumping hurdles. As a paper boy he delivered the Atlanta paper to soldiers based at Fort McPherson, a U.S. Army Military base, headquarters for the U.S. Army Installation Management Command. It was at Fort Mac where 1300 German POWs were interned in WWII and freely worked within the fort and local farms. It was from his exposure to POWs that Bob learned the German language. He also met golfer Bobby Jones and Bob Hope at the Fort. He was a very social boy. The Army recruited a teenage Bobby to play one game as substitute catcher for as the regular catcher was indisposed. Bob was that good! A couple of years later he was scouted by the Dodgers. Mama said "no". Bob was a die-hard Braves fan and lifelong Dawg! As a ministerial student he majored in history and received his undergraduate degree from Mercer University in Macon, GA. After college he worked for an insurance company as an adjuster in Eastern Tennessee, realizing that maybe he wouldn't be a good preacher. Over time he worked often with a lawyer in Johnson City who sparked Bob's interest in law and encouraged him to seek out the law profession. Bob received his Doctorate of Jurisprudence in 1960 from the University of Tennessee College of Law. He worked in private practice until he joined the Justice Department and became an AUSA on September 5, 1966, and retired January 3, 2008. In 1966 when he joined the U.S. Attorney's Office, he was one of the only three assistants in the Eastern District. At retirement Bob was the longest serving assistant U.S. Attorney in the Nation. During his career, Bob worked many and various case and probably the most notorious was the Butcher case (1983) involving the biggest banking scandal in Tennessee. Bob was proud of his Scottish heritage and became a Baird of Scotland as well as a member of the Scottish Society of Knoxville. He was a member of the 1st Baptist Church of Knoxville, attended Trinity Episcopal church of Gatlinburg, member of KSO and various community-based organizations. He gave of himself in many ways. He was preceded in death by parents, Minnie Phillips Simpson and Joseph Brown Simpson; brothers, Jack, Malcolm (Mack), William (Billy); sister, Betty Jo Papp; and beloved stepdaughter, Jolie Anne Higgins. Bob is survived by his wife, Muriel. His children, Mary, Susan, and Bobby, his daughter Lori (Ed) Wilkerson, and grandson Blair King along with their families. Nephews, Jeff and Alan Ballew; nieces, Jennifer Ballew, Pam Matthews, and beloved Cynthia and Joe Emert and their sons, Jose and Jason (Lauren) Emert. "Those who have drunk deeply from the draught of life should expect to find some dregs at the bottom." - Ben Franklin; and so, in Bob's 93 years he had much of what life had to offer and he managed the dregs of life with never ending grace and faith. "I am Resurrection, and I am Life, says the Lord. Whoever has faith in Me shall have life, even though he dies. You are in the Lord's possession." You are not gone if you are remembered. We will remember you. A celebration of life will be arranged at a later date. Any consideration of memories may be made to U.T. College of Law, Ste. 278, 1505 W. Cumberland Ave., Knoxville, TN 37996-1810 or to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Friends of the Smokies (P.O. Box 1660, Kodak, TN 37764) or to your choice of Charity.