COSHOCTON — Robert Eugene Simpson, founder of MFM Building Products, of Coshocton and Mount Vernon, died Wednesday, March 2, 2011, in Coshocton. He was 86.
Born in Christian County, Ill., on April 29, 1924, he was the son of the late Frank and Grace (Triece) Simpson. After graduating from Champaign High School in Champaign, Ill., he enlisted in the U.S. Navy where he served as a Naval Aviator navigating airplanes and lighter than air (LTA) craft (also known as blimps) during World War II. He married Juanita Klemick on April 4, 1944, in Lakehurst, N.J.; and on the same day earned his “Wings of Gold.” He served in Squadron ZP-51 (based in Trinidad, BWI and Surinam) flying anti-submarine patrols, and in Squadron VR-11 (based in Honolulu and Guam). After the war he attended the University of Illinois where he was a member of the SAE Fraternity, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1949 with a major in English literature. Throughout his life Mr. Simpson (known as Bob) was an avid reader who especially enjoyed studying literature and history.
During his early career Mr. Simpson worked as a salesman, moving his family from Illinois to Ohio, then to Michigan, Georgia and Texas. In 1961, he started a business in Houston, Texas, that sold anti-corrosion materials for oil and gas pipelines and in 1965 he purchased Lee and Associates in Coshocton in order to manufacture his products. The business is now known as MFM Building Products and Bob remained active in the business until shortly before his death. Mr. Simpson was an innovator in the industry, receiving several patents for products used in building waterproofing. He also owned and operated several other businesses during his lifetime including Corrulux, located in Houston, Texas, a manufacturer of fiberglass roof panels, and Shawneewood Farms, located in Knox County, Ohio, a horse breeding farm that also raced Standardbred (Harness) horses.
Bob greatly appreciated the contribution that the Coshocton community made to the success of his business and he gave back to the community however he could. He served on several charitable boards in Coshocton and in 2003 he established the Simpson Family Foundation to promote the value, and improve the quality of education in and around Coshocton County. He was also instrumental in the creation of the Coshocton Campus of the Central Ohio Technical College. Additionally, he donated generously to the University of Illinois.
He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Juanita (Klemick) Simpson; three sons, Robert (Carolyn), John (Rebecca) and Wesley (Ann); daughter-in-law, Karen Simpson; six grandchildren, Kristen, Alexandra, Susan, Scott, Emily and Jennifer.
His son, Richard Simpson, three brothers, Frank, Howard and Paul Simpson, and his sister, Virginia Telfer, preceded him in death.
A gathering of family, friends and neighbors will be held Saturday, March 12, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Given-Dawson Funeral Home in Coshocton and a private funeral will be held in Champaign, Ill., at a later date.
Donations can be made to The Salvation Army, 219 N. Fourth St., Coshocton, OH 43812; or to a charity of the donor’s choice. An online memorial can be viewed at www.given-dawsonfuneralhome.com.