Yvonne Rose Gauthier Simpson who lived her life as a devoted daughter, wife, mother, sister, grandmother, great grandmother, aunt and friend to many died on Saturday, December 12, 2015 on her 86th birthday.
The youngest of three daughters, she was born in Tacoma, Washington to Eugene Gauthier and Hazel Cline. Yvonne attended St. Patrick’s School and graduated from Stadium High School in 1947 and then attended the College of Puget Sound before taking a job at New York Life.
She met the love of her life, Richard Simpson, at a beach bonfire in the summer of 1947. They married at St. Patrick Parish on August 12, 1950. After their wedding, they had brief stays in Denver, CO and Ritzville, WA before settling back in Tacoma to raise their family. Their bond of marriage lasted for 57 years until Richards death on the eve of their 58th wedding anniversary.
Yvonne was an accomplished singer and in the late 40’s was a soloist with orchestras in the Tacoma and Seattle area. She also sang for years with the St. Patrick’s Choir and with the Glenwood Acres Gutplucking Society during the heydays of folk music. Throughout her life she wouldn’t hesitate to pass up an opportunity to sing, whether it be to sooth a baby to sleep or slipping into the piano bar at a local restaurant to belt out a few tunes with the pianist. She would frequently break into song with Richard when he returned from work singing duets as the family sat down to dinner. In Yvonne’s final days she even sang to the hospice staff, amazing them with a rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, commenting at the end that she may have missed a few notes. Probably even more than singing, she cherished the opportunities to hear her children and grandchildren sing and perform across a wide musical spectrum from opera and rock to theater and choir. She rarely missed a performance.
In addition to music, Yvonne loved to golf, ski and walk. She particularly enjoyed her morning walks along the Tacoma waterfront. If the weather was bad she would walk at the mall, the YMCA or back and forth in the basement of her condo. She always encouraged you to keep moving.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Richard; their daughter, Catherine; and her sister Joy Erspalmer. She is survived by her daughter, Margaret and her husband Jack Daniel of Tacoma; son, Richard Jr. and his wife Johanna of New Hampshire; son, Paul and his wife Patricia of Seattle; and son, Thomas and his wife Louise of Sausalito, CA. She also leaves her sister, Gloria Knapp Pankratz; and her grandchildren, Richard and his wife Sarah, Kathryn, Charles and his wife Crystal, Peter, Jonathan and his wife Abby, Merrill and her husband Dorian, Lindsey and her husband Chris, Kyra, and Ailey; 3 great grandchildren, Molly, Luke and Penelope; 28 nieces and nephews, and countless friends.
A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Friday, February 19, 2016 at 11:00am at St. Patrick Catholic Church (1001 N. J Street, Tacoma, WA 98403). A Rosary will be recited on Thursday, February 18, 2016 at 6:00pm at Gaffney Funeral Home (1002 S. Yakima Ave, Tacoma, WA 98405). Inurnment at Calvary Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Franciscan Hospice, 2901 Bridgeport Way West, University Place, WA 98466. Arrangements by Gaffney Funeral Home, 1002 South Yakima Avenue, Tacoma, WA (253) 572-6003. Please leave online condolences at www.Gaffneycares.com
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