Joseph Ray Simpkins, Jr.

Born in Nashville, TN on February 7, 1952

Departed on January 3, 2020 and resided in Nashville, TN

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Joseph Ray Simpkins Jr.
Born February 7, 1952 and died January 3, 2020 in Nashville, TN
Joe Simpkins loved people and he loved life. He loved his family – the ones gone before him and the ones left behind. He loved his friends, near and far, and was quick to make them. He could talk to anybody and often did. He found satisfaction in working hard from a young age, earning money to buy his first car long before he was old enough to drive it. He worked a full-time job during college to pay his way, graduating from Belmont University in 1974. He was a loyal supporter of their music school and the basketball team. Go Bruins! He valued the life given to him by God and had a very strong will to live. He conquered colon cancer in 1993, a heart attack in 2009, and battled valiantly through Alzheimer’s Disease for over 6 years. At one point in his life he was a marathon runner and he carried that same determination and endurance through his final days.
Joe leaves behind his daughter Tiffany, who shares his soft, loving heart; his daughter Jenna, who shares his quick laughter and sense of humor; and his son Jordan, who shares his sense of order and family loyalty.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Joseph Ray Simpkins, Sr. and Virginia Walker Simpkins.
Joe is survived by his wife of 25 years, April Messick Simpkins; daughter, Tiffany Simpkins (Noah Darling); daughter, Jenna Hunter (Rodd); son, Jordan Simpkins; grandchildren, Luna and Lux Darling, Everett and Elenore Hunter; sisters, Patricia Howeth, Virginia Degerberg (George), and Tammy Carney; as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
The family wishes to thank the incredible staff and care partners of Abe’s Garden Alzheimer’s and Memory Care Center of Excellence, where he was a resident for 3 and ½ years, and Alive Hospice for their loving and supportive care for Joe and the family in his last days. Memorial contributions may be made to either organization or to Belmont University School of Music Scholarships.
If you wish to honor Joe, live your life with courage, love your people faithfully, take the trip, ask the question, and order the banana pudding.

14 Comments to Joseph Ray Simpkins, Jr.

  1. Linda boyte
    January 7, 2020 5:47 pm

    April, you and Joe have had the courage to live, love, and laugh hard. Y’all have shown how a true marriage should work even in the very tough times. You have shown the devoted and loving wife we should all aspire to be. True role models. As you go through this time of grief remember we don’t know what you need. Please ask us for help. All of us want to walk this path with you. I’ll bring the nana pudding!!!

  2. Celeste Lee
    January 7, 2020 7:13 pm

    The Hunter Family (Jenna),
    I am saddened for the loss of your dad and papa. Such an insidious disease for an individual and his family to bear. Jenna, you “appear” strong. Whilst I have not met your father, I’m certain you have some of his characteristics (good and errrr not so good). In the public eye, you are an inspiration to the community of practitioners, businesses and caring family members. I hope we can add strength to your personhood. Prayers, sweet woman who truly exemplifies His grace.

  3. Stan Anderson
    January 7, 2020 7:28 pm

    Joe Simpkins was and is a very special person. His conduct toward me was always gracious and honorable. I can honestly say that whenever I heard his name, it always brought a smile to my face. Rest in peace my friend.

    • Virginia Simpkins Degerberg
      January 9, 2020 8:28 am

      Thank you Stan for your kind words and sweet memories of my brother. Means a lot to me. I will miss him forever.

  4. Tommy Greene
    January 7, 2020 7:43 pm

    Joe was a best friend during high school at Cumberland. We both worked at Bill Crook’s Food Town after school. A quick story…We were actually robbed one night and Joe chased the crooks in his “First Car” and unbelievable the police caught them in East Nashville as Joe didn’t give up the pursuit…no cell phones those days. Yep…Nuts!

    We were also part of the band “The SoundWaves”. I think we would have made it big if the “Monkees” didn’t get in our way during that time. (Ha Ha)

    I also got my hair cut at Mr. Ray’s Barber Shop in wonderful downtown Bordeaux. I was Best Man at his first marriage…interesting times with being around Johnny Cash, June Carter and many other celebrities. He would invite me to eat at Johnny Cash’s house. We use to say not bad for two knuckleheads from Bordeaux.

    When his mom & dad move to the boom town of Hendersonville in those days, slowly over the next few years, as things happen, we kind of lost touch with each other. Joe was simply a great guy and we had many, many good times and laughs.

    It is good to read of his life after Bordeaux and with his family…I know they truly miss him dearly.

    • April Simpkins
      January 7, 2020 8:34 pm

      Tommy, he has told that story about chasing the robbers a hundred times over the years! Thanks for confirming it! He remembered you fondly. And we have a great photo of the band that I hope you will get to see this weekend if you can come.

      • Tommy Greene
        January 8, 2020 8:54 pm

        Sorry April for the length of my comments…just started thinking about Joe and the memories flowed. Just a portion of the good times. Saddens me that Joe and I did not stay in touch with each other over the years.

  5. Donna Finto-Burks
    January 7, 2020 8:10 pm

    So grateful to have walked alongside of Joe and his family during this journey.
    Sincerely,
    Donna

  6. J Edward and Brenda Campbell
    January 7, 2020 11:55 pm

    sorry for your loss.
    sending thoughts and prayers to the family and friends.

  7. Henry V Vaccaro
    January 8, 2020 8:31 am

    I am so sorry for the loss of your father .I never had the pleasure to have met him.But I know Tiffany and what a beautiful person she is to have had such a wonderful dad .God Bless

  8. Sylvia (Courtney Wilson's Daughter)
    January 8, 2020 4:06 pm

    I think of Joe so fondly. Always a Gentleman with a warm smile. Sending Prayers & Love Sylvia Wilson Smith of Hendersonville

  9. Lorrie Carter Bennett
    January 9, 2020 6:55 pm

    Tiff and family., My sincere condolences. I remember your daddy from the days that y’all lived together in Hendersonville. Sweet memories. Praying for peace in your hearts.

  10. Beverly J. Theis
    January 10, 2020 11:51 am

    I am so honored to have gotten to know Joe, April, his children, and sisters. We all miss him so.

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