Joe Tyler Simpson, 85, passed away peacefully Friday, August 16, 2019, in Penn Yan.

Joe was born in Lexington, S.C. on Oct. 26, 1933, and grew up in Moncks Corner, S. C. 

He was the son of Joseph Earl and Nannie Louise Simpson. He was preceded in death by his wife of 55 years, Sonja Simpson. Joe will be lovingly remembered by his three children, Dwight (Jeanette) Simpson, Nancy (Larry) Ballentine, and Sara (Randy) Kromer. He was also blessed and proud of his five grandchildren, Lindsay and Dana Simpson, and Jason, Ryan, and Anna Kromer. He was known as “Papa Joe.”

After graduation from high school, Joe attended Clemson University for one year, then joined the U.S. Navy (’53-’57), serving in naval aviation and photography. He was proud to serve on the USS Forrestal, the Navy’s first “supercarrier.” His love of photography, flying, and the GI Bill led him to Rochester, where he attended RIT and graduated in 1961. He then started his career with the Eastman Kodak Company, where he worked until retirement. 

Joe and Sonja were married in 1962 in LeRoy, then worked and raised their family in Rochester (Brighton). He was an active member of Twelve Corners Presbyterian Church (Brighton) as well as The First Presbyterian Church (Penn Yan).

Joe and family enjoyed many years at their vacation home on Keuka Lake (known as “Billy Goat Hill”), where they moved full time after retirement. Joe learned to make wine in the early 60s from his father-in-law and perfected his hobby over many years. Joe was generous with his delicious wine, and friends and family enjoyed it for years. 

Joe loved a pig roast and hosted many with friends and family over the years. He loved all things “southern,” and never really lost his southern accent, even after all of the years residing in New York. He was truly a people person and could strike up a conversation with anyone and have a new friend in minutes. He would often invite strangers walking past their lake home up to their porch, just to get to know them and have a glass of wine or share a funny joke. 

Joe missed his wife terribly after her passing last year, and we celebrate their reunion in heaven!

Our sincere gratitude for the love and kindness provided to Joe this past year while he lived at The Manor Nursing Home in Penn Yan. 

A Memorial Service and Celebration of Life will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24. A calling hour will be held from noon to 1 p.m., followed by a memorial service at the First Presbyterian Church of Penn Yan, 211 Main St., Penn Yan.  

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Keuka Comfort Care, PO Box 107, Penn Yan, N.Y. 14527 or The First Presbyterian Church of Penn Yan, PO Box 639, Penn Yan, N.Y. 14527.