[Congressional Record Volume 141, Number 14 (Tuesday, January 24, 1995)]
[Senate]
[Pages S1427-S1429]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]


                        SALUTE TO LORNA SIMPSON

  Mr. DOLE. Mr. President, on Sunday, we lost an American Treasure, 
with the death of Rose Kennedy. This morning, we have lost another, 
with the passing of Lorna Simpson, the mother of our colleague from 
Wyoming.
  Married to Milward Simpson in Sheridan, WY in 1929, Mrs. Simpson 
devoted the next 65 years of her life to her family, her community, and 
the entire State of Wyoming.
  Even before her husband's election as Governor of Wyoming in 1954, 
Lorna Simpson was always reaching out to help others. She volunteered 
at the local hospital, served as president of the Cody Red Cross, and 
was appointed to the local planning commission.
  During this time, she also was raising two sons, and serving as a 
full partner in her husband's many business ventures, which included a 
newspaper, a radio station, and a dairy.
  Mrs. Simpson served as the first lady of Wyoming from 1954-58, where 
she was personally responsible for remodeling and restoring some of the 
beauty and historical value of the old governor's mansion. Thanks to 
her leadership, a building that was once closed to the public, now 
stands as a monument to Wyoming's history.
  When her husband was elected to the U.S.
   Senate in 1962, Lorna continued her tireless devotion to others by 
serving as the Representative of the Women of the United States to the 
Organization of American States, and as a delegate to the 
interparliamentarian union in Australia.

  When Milward retired from the Senate in 1966, he and Lorna returned 
to Cody, where they dedicated themselves to their community and to each 
other. They had been married 64 years when Milward passed away in 1993.
  Senator Simpson has told me of a Wyoming chapel that was remodeled 
under the leadership of Milward and Lorna. For the inscription on the 
stained glass window in the chapel, they chose the words ``I am with 
you always.''
  Milward and Lorna Simpson will now be ``together always'' in the 
hearts of their family, and the many others who loved them.
  I know the Senate joins with me in extending our sympathies to 
Senator Simpson, to Ann, and to their entire family.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that a biography--``On the 
Passing of Lorna Kooi Simpson''--be made a part of the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                  On the Passing of Lorna Kooi Simpson

       Lorna Kooi Simpson was born on August 19, 1900 in Chicago, 
     IL to Mary Helen Kooi and Peter Kooi. Mr. Kooi was a Dutch 
     immigrant who came to the United States from Holland. He was 
     orphaned at an early age and went to work as an employee of 
     the Burlington Northern Railroad. After working for many 
     years as a railroad clerk in Chicago, he then ``went West'' 
     with the railroad, and later became a very successful 
     businessman and eventually the founder of the town of Kooi, 
     Wyoming--a coal mining community near Sheridan.
       After attending schools in the Chicago area and the Lewis 
     Academy, Lorna was a student at Miss Mason's Castle School in 
     Tarrytown, NY for 2 years. At the school, Lorna was a 
     classmate of Clare Boothe Luce and Better Greene Bond, the 
     mother of former governor and now U.S. Senator Kit Bond. At 
     the Castle School, Lorna studied art, music, history and 
     sculpture. Lorna went on to attend the University of 
     Illinois.
       As a young girl, Lorna traveled extensively with her 
     parents. In 1919 and the early 1920's she visited Egypt, 
     France, England, the British Isles, Europe, Turkey, Greece, 
     Algiers, South America, the Andes, Brazil, Chile, Argentina 
     and Peru. She even flew in a single-engine aircraft over 
     Sugar Loaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro in those early days--
     such extensive travels were rather uncommon in those years 
     for either an adult or a child! She loved to travel and 
     visited many historical and archaeological sites over the 
     years.
       On June 29, 1929, in Sheridan, Wyoming, Lorna married a 
     young lawyer from Cody, Wyoming, Milward L. Simpson. Milward 
     had been a member of the Wyoming Legislature from Hot Springs 
     County in 1927. They began their life together in Cody, 
     Wyoming, where Milward went into private practice with his 
     father, William L. Simpson. In Sheridan, on July 31, 1930, a 
     son, Peter Kooi, was born and on September 2, 1931, a son, 
     Alan Kooi was born.
       Kooi was a marvelous homemaker, a creative and 
     inspirational mother who was strong and talented, fair and 
     firm. In her home she had a Hammond organ and a piano--and 
     she played both beautifully. Early in her marriage, there was 
     a contest conducted throughout the state to determine an 
     original University of Wyoming ``pep song.'' Lorna's sister, 
     Doris Kooi Reynolds, urged her to enter, but Lorna was 
     reluctant to do so. Finally at Doris' urging, she went 
     forward to finish the work and sent it on to the contest 
     officials. As she said later, to her 
     [[Page S1428]] absolute astonishment, she won! The winning 
     song was called ``Come on Wyoming.'' The band director of the 
     University of Wyoming at the time, urged her to play the song 
     and he set it to a band arrangement. The cover of the sheet 
     music of the piece was illustrated by the great western 
     artist Bill Gollings, at the request of Lorna's father, who 
     was a personal friend of Mr. Gollings.
       Lorna instructed her son, Peter, on the violin. She had a 
     beautiful singing voice and she conducted the choir at the 
     Christ Episcopal Church in Cody. She also served as the 
     assistant organist for a very dear lady, Mrs. Henry Pool, who 
     served for
      many years as organist in that church. Among her many 
     talents, Lorna was also a talented amateur artist and 
     sculptor, and a member of the Cody Country Art League.
       With her great humanitarian spirit, Lorna served as a Gray 
     Lady at the W.R. Coe Hospital, which later became the West 
     Park Hospital. Lorna was a charter member of that 
     organization. During the war, she was one of the Presidents 
     of the Red Cross Chapter in Cody, in charge of Civil Defense. 
     Lorna was the chairman of the ``Blackout Committee'' which 
     ensured that all lights within the city were properly out of 
     view during ``air raid alert'' activities during World War 
     II. She was also the chairman of the scrap metal drive and 
     always met every quota set. Lorna was asked to hold a 
     position on the National Board of the Red Cross, but rejected 
     that to travel with her husband to Israel on behalf of the 
     Husky Oil Company, while Milward served as a member of the 
     Board of Directors of that company.
       In Israel, Lorna assisted her husband, Milward, in his 
     official capacity as a representative for the Board of Husky 
     during the creation of ISRAM, a joint venture oil company 
     between the United States and Israel. She was instrumental in 
     assisting Milward in negotiations with the new state of 
     Israel in establishing new laws and regulations on oil and 
     gas development.
       In 1940, Mrs. Simpson campaigned vigorously with her 
     husband in an unsuccessful race against a very popular 
     Senator Joseph C. O'Mahoney for the United States Senate. 
     Senator O'Mahoney served 26 years for Wyoming.
       Lorna was active in all aspects of community life. In 1940, 
     she was appointed by Mayor Hugh Smith to the Cody Planning 
     and Zoning Commission. The commission originally submitted to 
     the city council and mayor the final bond issue for all of 
     the streets, curbs and gutters of Cody. The city then 
     presented that to the citizens on a ballot. The people of 
     Cody twice rejected the bond issue, until Lorna, along with 
     others, immediately activated a ``person-to-person'' campaign 
     in order to raise community awareness on the bond issue. 
     Under her urging, leadership and participation, instead of 
     just simply ``paving the streets of Cody,'' it was determined 
     to proceed with curbs, sidewalks and gutters. She was 
     instrumental in seeing the bond issue pass in 1950. Even 
     today, Cody remains one of the most beautiful cities in 
     Wyoming.
       Lorna helped obtain the first national network association 
     (ABC) while she and Milward were co-owners of the local radio 
     station, KODI. She often did some of the programming and 
     radio work. She was also the acting editor for a time during 
     the war, of the local paper, the Cody Enterprise. Milward and 
     Lorna were also co-owners of the Cody Inn--the old Burlington 
     Inn--with Les Carter of Billings and Joe Fitzstephens of 
     Cody. Together they helped to restore the Inn to its former 
     grandeur.
       Lorna was also involved in other business activities. She 
     encouraged the first pasteurization of milk in Cody through 
     investment in the Sani-dairy (a local dairy). Later, she 
     became involved in the support of a local cheese making 
     industry.
       In 1954, Lorna once again vigorously campaigned with her 
     husband in a successful race for the governorship of Wyoming.
      She graciously served as the First Lady of Wyoming from 1954 
     to 1958. She was known for her many projects and 
     assistance to various youth groups and organizations in 
     Cheyenne and through the entire State of Wyoming.
       Mrs. Simpson was personally responsible for remodeling and 
     restoring some of the beauty and historical value of the old 
     Governor's Mansion. The Mansion had been closed to the public 
     for many years--the heating system, the carpets and the 
     furniture had seriously deteriorated and portions of the 
     ceilings and the floors had fallen. It stands today as a 
     State and National historical site and also as a tribute to 
     her creativity. The State Legislature responded generously to 
     the request to ensure that the residence would serve as a 
     remarkable showcase of Wyoming's history.
       While serving as First Lady, Lorna worked extensively to 
     assist and entertain various Wyoming groups and 
     organizations, such as Girls' State and Boys' State. She 
     hosted many state functions, teas and receptions for the 
     citizens of the State of Wyoming. After returning to Cody in 
     1959, Milward continued his law practice with his son, Alan, 
     and later with partner, Charles G. Kepler.
       Milward was one of the founding fathers and trustees of the 
     Gottsche Foundation Board in Thermopolis. With Board 
     approval, she asked permission to remodel an old abandoned 
     storeroom on the Foundations' property and constructed a 
     Chapel for the patients. It is a functional non-
     denominational chapel with a beautiful stained glass window. 
     Milward and Lorna selected the quotation for the window--``I 
     am with you always''--a most appropriate biblical reference 
     with reference to the sorrows and joys of illness and 
     healing.
       Milward and Lorna also began a small endowment fund which 
     they used to restore the old Episcopal Church in Cody and its 
     original pipe organ in the old ``Poker Church.'' The citizens 
     of Cody, in the early years of the city, felt there were far 
     too many gambling establishments and bars and not enough 
     churches! The citizens spread the word to the ``city 
     fathers'' of that day. At this time, a rather remarkable 
     poker game took place, and the pot increased to a rather 
     staggering sum. Those gathering around the table that night 
     stated that the one who ``wins that pot`' (about $2,200) 
     would agree to start a new church of the denomination of 
     their choice in Cody. A remarkable pioneer of the community, 
     a man known as ``Governor'' George T. Beck won it all and saw 
     to the building of the ``Poker Church''--Christ Episcopal 
     Church.
       Through the years, the marvelous pipe organ suffered 
     vandalism and decay and eventually became inoperable. Milward 
     and Lorna restored the organ to its original luster. They 
     later donated 27 town lots to the Episcopal Church, which 
     erected a new church upon the site. The old ``Poker Church'' 
     was also moved to this site. The two churches are gloriously 
     compatible on the beautifully landscaped property.
       In the small chapel of the ``Poker Church''--or the 
     ``little Church''--many of the windows were donated by 
     Milward and Lorna. The original window, ``the Dr. Francis 
     Lane window,''--the ``Lady Doc''--is over the altar. It was 
     donated by many loving friends at the urging of Margery Ross, 
     who came from the East with Dr. Lane. It replaced the oldest 
     window, now behind the choir--bearing the inscription ``God 
     is love.'' The third window to the far right portrays the 
     healing of the blind. It was given by a Denver attorney and 
     his wife, George and Sally Hopper. Arch Hopper, George's 
     father, was the rector of the church at one time.
       In 1962, it was back on the campaign trail as Milward ran a 
     successful United States Senate race for the unexpired term 
     of Keith Thomson, who tragically died in late 1960 after his 
     election to the U.S. Senate in November of that year.
       Lorna and Milward lived in Washington, D.C. from 1962 to 
     1966 and greatly enjoyed entertaining Wyoming people who were 
     in the capital city. In 1962, Milward was diagnosed as being 
     afflicted with Parkinson's Disease. Lorna's care, nurturing 
     and support encouraged him through the Senate experience. He 
     retired from the Senate in 1966. He died June 13, 1993.
       Lorna was designated by the Senate to be the Representative 
     of the Women of the United States to the Organization of 
     American States, which met at the former Pan American 
     Building. President Lyndon Baines Johnson appointed Lorna as 
     a delegate to represent the U.S. women participating in the 
     Interparliamentarian Union in Australia. Mrs. Simpson was 
     also instrumental in the
      refurbishment and extended use of the Senate Chapel in the 
     United States Capitol.
       Throughout this remarkable career of service, love and the 
     nurturing of others, Lorna always emphasized the importance 
     of home. It was here there was a haven of support, love and 
     nurturing for her two sons, Peter and Alan.
       During the time the two were in high school, four different 
     boys from the Cody community often lived with the Simpson 
     family in their home. Those boys were practically ``raised 
     up'' by them, all having gone on to great things in their own 
     lives--all receiving a college education, having families, 
     children and grandchildren and being very productive 
     citizens. They all think of Milward and Lorna as their 
     ``Second Mom and Pop.''
       Pete married Lynne Livingston of Cody on June 18, 1960. 
     They have three children, Milward Allen and his wife Amy, 
     Margaret Ann and her husband Chris Pinto, and Peter Kooi. Al 
     Married the former Ann Schroll of Greybull on June 21, 1954. 
     They also have three children: William Lloyd and his wife 
     Debbie, Colin Mackenzie and Susan Lorna and her husband John 
     Gallagher Lorna is also survived by five great-grandchildren, 
     Sara, Elizabeth, Alexander, Daniel, and Eric.
       Peter Presently serves as the University of Wyoming's Vice 
     President for Development and Alumni and University 
     Relations. Al is in his third term as a United States Senator 
     from Wyoming.
       Upon Milward's voluntary retirement from the Senate because 
     of ill health in 1966, they retired to Cody. Lorna remained 
     active in Gray Lady community work and above all else, the 
     nurturing and care of Milward. For many years, when the 
     winter winds were kicking up in Wyoming, Milward and Lorna 
     joined many Wyoming citizens--the ``Snow Birds''--in Sun 
     City, Arizona. The last few years they spent between Cody and 
     the South Fork of the Shoshone River at their beloved Bobcat 
     Ranch. Milward and Lorna lived in a seamless bond of 
     affection, love and support sewn with strong sinews of faith 
     and belief in God. they were truly an extraordinary pair. 
     They are now joined anew.
       These were the things that brought great pride and 
     inspiration to Lorna Simpson. She was a very special woman 
     who did not seek the limelight and did not wish to boast of 
     her activities. On once being nominated for ``Wyoming Woman 
     of the Year'' she said, ``When I received notification they 
     had nominated me for `Woman of the Year', I felt so 
     completely inadequate and unworthy of ever being mentioned as 
     a possibility for the 
     [[Page S1429]] award, that I did not reply. But I must say 
     when I saw the rather sparse account of my accomplishments in 
     a booklet sent to me explaining the qualifications of 
     candidates, I felt I owed it to those who organizing the 
     entire project to detail some of the these activities that 
     they might have it for their records. ``I was always taught 
     one should never `boast' of any charitable activities, but on 
     the other hand,'' she smiled, ``the Bible does say, `Let your 
     light so shine before men that they may see your good works, 
     and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.' So, as a small 
     justification for the honor bestowed upon me, I shall then 
     ``boast'' a bit about some of the fine things that have 
     touched my life.'' That life ended peacefully at 7:45 a.m. on 
     January 24, 1995.

     

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