Ervin R. “Erv” Simpson, 83, long time resident of Billings, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on March 21st in St. Vincent’s Healthcare after a long illness.
Ervin was born on July 12, 1935 in Hazelton, North Dakota to James F. and Ruth L. (Keifer) Simpson. His mother passed away several days after his birth. He was raised on a farm near Steele, North Dakota by his grandfather, Ritchie and step-grandmother Mabel Simpson with their daughter Mary. He and Mary were raised as brother and sister. His father moved to the Wilsall, MT area in 1937 where he met and married Ruth E. Kaiser in 1938. They had two children, Ervin’s sister Edna and brother Walter.
He went to school in Hazelton, ND until sixth grade and then moved to the school in Steele, ND. He moved to Wilsall, MT to live with his father and step-mother and finished his senior year there. He went one semester to college in Bozeman in 1953. Ervin met Doris Loman in 1952 in Wilsall. They married on May 3, 1955 and had four children together. They divorced in 1974 and were apart for 24 years. He married Carol Cook in 1975 and was father to her son Aaron Cook from that time on. Ervin and Carol divorced in 1991. Ervin and Doris reunited in 1997 and were remarried on September 6, 1998. They lived very happily together in Billings since then.
Ervin worked for the Montana State Highway Department from 1954 to 1969 and lived all over the state of Montana surveying and helping build roads. After leaving the Highway Department he worked for two concrete fabrication plants, Holland Steel, and three construction material testing laboratories before retiring at the end of the year in 1997.
He is survived by his wife, Doris, of Billings, MT; daughter Sherry (Scott) Kimball of Kirkland, WA; sons Ronald (Frances) Simpson of West Valley City, UT; James Simpson of Gold Bar, WA; Roger (Estela) Simpson of Billings, MT; and Aaron Cook of Missoula, MT; sister Edna Terry of Billings, MT; 15 grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren, numerous nieces and nephews and his adopted cat Kidder. He was preceded in death by his parents James and Ruth, step-mother Ruth, his brother Walter, his sister Mary, second wife Carol, beloved granddaughter Chelsea, daughter-in-law Sue Hyatt, close family friend and neighbor Arlie Paschke, and his much loved companion pets including Herman, Molly, Tia and Peggy.
Ervin is known for his generosity and compassion, deep unconditional loving respect and caring support for his family and friends, love for animals, and support for many cancer, law enforcement and veterans organizations as well as other local charities. He was active and served in Lutheran Churches in Culbertson and Billings for many years. He always had kind and encouraging words for everyone. He believed in treating other people the same as you like to be treated. He enjoyed camping and hunting all of his life, and fishing during his retirement. He loved powdered sugar donuts, fried chicken and vanilla ice cream. He made sure that meals were eaten together at the table as a family. He drank black coffee all day every day. He loved Western TV shows and movies and classic country music. His heroes were Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, John Wayne, Randolph Scott, Audie Murphy and James Stewart (not necessarily in that order). You could not drive down a road or cross a bridge without a historical reference or great story about how and when he worked on that stretch of road or bridge.
Services will be held at a later date.