Kenneth “Kenny” J. Simpson, 72, of Orlando, Florida passed away on October 19, 2022. Mr. Simpson was born on August 26, 1950 to the late Harry and Hazel Simpson in Boyle, Kentucky. He is survived by his brother Jim Hougue; cousin Ann (Thurman) Preston; as well as his two very close friends Judy Miles and Rebekah Santiago. He will be missed by his many loved ones and friends.
How does a person sum up 72 years of a person’s life in a few short paragraphs? It’s not possible to do so, but we’re going to condense our knowledge of the man as best as we can. We didn’t know Kenny in his young years; we only know the stories he told us in the 32 years he has been part of our lives.
We could tell you many stories he told us about the long lazy days growing up in Danville, Kentucky, and riding his bike into town to see a movie or the time he built an igloo in his yard. I could tell you about his adventures in babysitting with his cousin Ann. I could tell you that he was married and divorced before moving to Florida.
We could tell you how proud he was to have served on the USS Strickland in the early 1970s. I could tell you about the crossing of the equator ceremony. I could tell you how proud he was to have crossed the equator twice in his short military career. I could tell you about when he and a buddy rented motorcycles to see Mt. Fuji, only to find out that it was in a different country even though they could see it and felt it was so close. I could tell you that diabetes ended his career in the Navy.
We could tell you many stories he told of fishing on Lake Okeechobee. He either gave the fish away or released them back into the water. Kenny would not eat seafood of any kind for any reason. I could tell you how much he enjoyed racing dirt bikes when he was young. I could tell you how he fixed up cars to race in the local tracks in Kentucky. There are so many stories that make up a life.
I could tell you how much he loved Harley-Davidson motorcycles. He finally got his Harley. That adventure ended with him giving away the bike because he was offended at an unsolicited low offer. I could tell you that he dreamed of piloting an ultralight aircraft, but diabetes had taken so much of his sight that it wasn’t a possible dream for him to accomplish. He replaced that dream with flying remote control helicopters inside the house. Ducking them was a hobby of anyone around.
I prefer to tell you about the man we knew. He was the most stubborn human. He didn’t have very many friends, but the ones he did have, he was the most loyal person you’d ever know. He drank Busch beer. He wouldn’t even look at rice, let alone let it touch his lips. Kenny put Tobasco and ketchup on almost everything he ate. He spent his time playing games on the computer or watching old black-and-white movies. He preferred dogs to people most of the time. He liked old-school country music. He thought the new country and rap were garbage. He loved Ruger guns. He looked forward to visiting friends at the Fraternal Order of the Orioles.
Kenny was a complicated person that couldn’t be summed up in a few words. Everyone he ever shared a beer with, told a story, or spent time with him will at least have his stories to remember him. Kenny J., is the man, the myth, the legend, the Grumpy Ol’ Man. We will miss him dearly.