Barbara E. Simpson '69
My parents were both members of the Greatest Generation. This was that very special group of people so aptly named by Tom Brokaw when he published his book "The Greatest Generation" in 1998. By reason of nothing more than their birthdates, these men and women would experience two of America's most turbulent times-- the Great Depression and World War II. They recognized that hardships are a part of life. They understood that freedom comes at a cost. Many of them paid with their lives for the freedom that future generations would enjoy.
My father, George J. Simpson, and my mother, Maryellen Hagan Simpson, were both veterans of World War II. They were both first generation born of Irish immigrants who settled in Western PA. My father had enlisted in the US Army before the United States entered the war. He was in ordnance— specifically bomb disposal, where a first mistake usually precluded a second error. Before the war, my mother was employed at Westinghouse in the payroll office. After Pearl Harbor, she enlisted in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps which later became simply the Women's Army Corps.
My parents met each other when they were both stationed at Edgewood Arsenal in Aberdeen, MD. My mother was assigned to Headquarters and she usually knew about my future dad's orders sending him overseas before he knew! She was honorably discharged when they married in 1945. My dad, one of many American soldiers training for the invasion of Japan, was honorably discharged when the war ended.
In 2006, I decided to update my will. Since I have no children or siblings, I knew that this was an opportunity to do some good with what I've earned. I realized that I wouldn't have what I have today if it hadn't been for my parents, my teachers, and Carlow University. I wanted to give back and thank those who had done so much for me. According to the terms of my will, my estate would establish a scholarship in my parents' name and one in my name at Carlow University upon my death. When I learned about the Capozzi-Kirr Endowment Challenge, I decided to establish a memorial scholarship for my parents now and on November 11, 2006 the George J. and Maryellen Hagan Simpson Memorial Scholarship was created. This scholarship requires academic excellence and gives preference to a veteran or to a student with a veteran in their immediate family.
My will also remembers a man who greatly influenced my life and my career. Msgr. Leo A. Pastorius sponsored me in the Cadet Program at Carlow. He was a man who knew the value of education and he built a school in my home parish which at one time educated hundreds of children each school year. Today, the school is closed due to lack of enrollment, but the facility is still used for CCD and also a number of parish activities. Msgr. Pastorius' legacy doesn't lie in the physical realm, but rather in the lives of all the people who were educated in that school and by the collective good they've done in their lives. I can't think of a more fitting way to thank him than to create a scholarship in his name. His name will be remembered and his work honored— long after his death in 1969.