In Memoriam

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Paul Byron Simpson ’36

Paul Byron Simpson ’36, January 21, 2013, in Eugene, Oregon. A fourth-generation Oregonian who grew up in Portland, Paul earned a BA in mathematics from Reed and then enrolled in a master’s program in economics at Cornell University. Completing that, he worked for the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, D.C., and enlisted in the navy, serving stateside and as a supply officer in Saipan during World War II. He then returned to Cornell, where he completed a PhD and taught economics and statistics. He also taught at Princeton and Stanford before joining the economics faculty at the University of Oregon. “A man of a vast array of interests,” Paul loved music and performed on piano and viola. During travels in the U.S. and in Europe, South America, Australia, Korea, China, Africa, and Indonesia, he attended concerts and theatre productions and visited art museums. His love of the arts led to the vital role he played in founding Eugene’s Hult Center for the Performing Arts. He also helped found the Pearl Buck Center, which provides support to individuals with developmental challenges. Paul camped, hiked, and kayaked across the U.S. and cultivated a small-acreage farm in Creswell, Oregon. He and Jean W. Miller were wed in 1938 and raised three sons and one daughter. Jean died from cancer in the late ’70s, and in 1984 Paul wed Ellen Coleman Gruetter ’36, his high school and college classmate. “Brilliant and diverse, loved and adored by family and friends,” Paul is survived by three grandchildren and great-grandchildren and by four stepchildren. Ellen died in 2003 and one of Paul’s sons died in 2011.

Appeared in Reed magazine: June 2013

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