Eugene Simpkins

Eugene “Gene” Simpkins, of Prior Lake, passed away September 28, 2018 at the age of 90.  Visitation is Tuesday, October 2, 2018 from 4:00 – 7:00 PM at Ballard-Sunder Funeral & Cremation in Prior Lake.  Mass of Christian Burial is Wednesday, October 3, 2018 at 12:00 Noon with visitation one-hour prior at St. Michael Catholic Church in Prior Lake.  Father Tom Walker will preside, and Gene’s grandchildren will be his pallbearers.  He will be laid to rest at St. Michael’s Cemetery in Prior Lake.

On December 14, 1927, Dennis & Irene Simpkins celebrated the birth of their son, Eugene Michael.  Gene was born and raised in Prior Lake.  As a boy, he loved being outdoors, playing in the woods and row-boating on Prior Lake with his brother, cousins & friends.

After graduating from Shakopee High School in 1945, Gene enlisted in the armed services.  He proudly served his country in the Army Air Force, stationed in Hawaii working as an airplane mechanic.  Following his service, Gene used the GI Bill to attend college, graduating from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Civil Engineering.

While at a Catholic Youth dance in St. Paul in the summer of 1957, Gene met Cathy Fitzpatrick.  They started dating, and he took her waterskiing on Prior Lake on one of their first dates.  They quickly fell in love and exchanged wedding vows on April 19, 1958.  Gene and Cathy settled into a lovely home that Gene had built for them on Pleasant Street in Prior Lake. With a growing family, they needed more space, so Gene moved his family to a bigger home he had also built just down the street, with a stuffed car towing a trailer piled high with boxes held in place by family members walking alongside to keep the stuff from falling off, just as you’d see in a movie about the Exodus or on the Beverly Hillbillies.  Gene & Cathy’s marriage was blessed with six wonderful children, David, Patrick, Joanne, Ann, Michael & Mary.

As a family, the Simpkins’s enjoyed spending time at the lake, being outdoors and taking long hikes through the woods.  They took many memorable road trips to all the contiguous states west of Minnesota, including one in their non-air-conditioned blue station wagon to Arizona in August during a heat wave.  They also enjoyed white-water canoeing with other neighborhood kid friends.  Gene especially loved cruising around the lake in their pontoon boat or sailing to Green Heights in his home-made sail-row-motor boat or home-made kayak/sailboat.

Gene worked hard to provide for his family.  He was a project manager in commercial construction and was involved in several high-profile projects in the area, finally retiring in his early 60’s.  Gene’s faith was very important to him, and he felt he had been very blessed in life. He believed that to whom much is given, much is expected; and that he should do unto others as he would have others do unto him. In retirement, Gene fulfilled these ideals by pursuing his passion for providing clean water to people in developing countries, and he would encourage others to join him in doing so.

Over the years Gene took dozens of trips to Guatemala, Mexico, Paraguay, Tanzania & Peru.  He believed in sacrificing his own luxury to instead help provide basic resources to those in true need. He drilled dozens of wells in his retirement; so many in Chimbote, Peru, in fact, that a park was named after Cathy and Gene there.

He was a wonderful husband, loving father and the best grandpa.  He loved singing his kids to sleep when they were young, and this tradition continued with his grandkids & great-grandkids.  Gene will always be remembered for his servant heart, selfless nature and determined spirit. He leaves behind a wonderful legacy for his family to carry on.

He will be remembered always by his wife, Cathy; children, Patrick (Brenda) Simpkins, Joannie (Tom) Scherer, Ann (Mark) Page, Michael (Homayra Hosseini) Simpkins, Mary (Darrin) Helget;  grandchildren, Jessica (Brendon), Alan, Erika (Jason), Molly, Abby, Catie (Brian), Jen, Sarah, Jennifer, Natalie, Nicholas, David, Thomas, Greg, Jack & Kevin; great-grandkids, Jonathan, Josiah, Hope & Leah; daughter-in-law, Alice (Roger) Plechaty; and brother, Jerry Simpkins.

Gene was greeted in Heaven by his beloved son, David Simpkins; parents, Dennis & Irene (Casselius) Simpkins; step-mother, Julia Simpkins; sister, Lois (Fred) Duede; and sister-in-law, Donna Simpkins.

Ballard-Sunder Funeral & Cremation proudly serves the Simpkins family.

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Condolence Messages

  1. My sincere condolences on the loss of your father, Ann. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  2. Tom and Melanie Simpkins

    You are in our thoughts and prayers. Hugs across the miles!

  3. Mary, I was always inspired by your dad. I only had the pleasure of meeting him several times, but every time, he amazed me! He was the reason I got into rental property! You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.

  4. Lloyd and I would like to offer sincere sympathies to the family of Gene Simpkins. He lived a full life and left a lasting legacy for all those who loved him. Blessings, Lloyd and Marlys Pool

  5. Maureen E. Peterson

    I have many fond memories of Gene & Cathy from my connection with St. Michael’s Parish. In 1984, I had the privilege of teaching their daughter, Mary, in sixth grade and later several of their grandsons. Gene spoke to our fourth graders about his well drilling in Chimbote supported by Cathy. May you rest in God’s peace.

  6. I had the pleasure of working with Gene at the Scott County Historical Society. His passion for preserving Prior Lake history was outstanding and a joy to experience. He was quick to share stories and had a great sense of humor. Gene was a wonderful man and will be greatly missed. My thoughts and heart are with his family.

  7. Cathy, I’m so sorry for the passing of Gene. You can count on all your friends to hold you and your family up during this sad sad time. Cling to your family and know your being prayed for when you can’t pray during your grieving.
    Love and God bless,
    Vickie Cross

  8. Joannie and the Simpkins Family, you are in my thoughts and prayers during the grieving process. May Gene rest in peace.

    God Bless,
    Caity Lee
    KinderCare Co-Worker

  9. Mike – Thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

    God Bless,
    Paul Bussmann
    Starkey Co-Worker

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