Carl E. Simpson of Penhook, Virginia passed away on Friday, February 14, 2020. Carl was born February 13, 1928 in Pittsylvania County, Virginia to Russell Simpson and Estelle Crews Simpson. He was preceded in death by his parents; and his brother, Leon Simpson.
He is survived by his loving wife of 43 years, Linda Blankenship Simpson; three children, Susan Dent (Dan), Oakton, VA, Randy Simpson, Hendersonville, NC, and Jimmy Lynch, Tampa, FL; granddaughter, Laura Buice (Erik); and two great-grandchildren, Noelle and Ainsley Buice of Fairfax, VA; brothers-in-law; Jerry Blankenship (Lucy), Wendell Blankenship (Kathy) and Johnnie Blankenship (Peggy); nephews; Russ Simpson (Lisa), Mark Simpson (Heather), Todd Simpson (Beth), Ricky Blankenship (Lori), Brandon Blankenship; Keith Long (Brandy); and nieces, Melinda Blankenship, Krissy Blankenship and Nicole Blankenship; special friends, Emily Smith, Carol Dillon, Pearl Simmons, Mark Dalton; and countless other friends and family members.
Carl was a patriot through and through. He served three years in the Army Air Corp. He received the WWII Victory Medal and the Army of the Occupation–Japan Medal. He was a life member of the Veteran of Foreign Wars Post 10840. Carl came to Franklin County 71 years ago as a student at Ferrum Junior College and later transferred to Randolph Macon College in Ashland, VA. He returned to Franklin County and bought the George Mattox Super Market which became the Simpson’s Super Market and laid the groundwork for a successful career in the grocery, oil and gasoline business. Ten years after opening the Super Market, he founded and was President of the First Minute Market Corporation. As he built and expanded his Minute Markets, he pioneered the launch of the first true self-service gasoline operation in the State of Virginia at his Bedford location. Carl also owned and operated many other businesses over the years such as self-serve laundry mats, a boat dealership and FMM Fuel Company (a wholesale and retail gasoline company). He was a former Director of ABRAXAS Petroleum Company, San Antonio, Texas. Carl loved to dabble in real estate. He was a partner with Atlantic Developers that owned and developed the Kroger Shopping Center in Rocky Mount and he bought and sold many other tracts of real estate in Franklin and adjoining counties. He also spearheaded the movement to annex the Rt. 40 East corridor, including Franklin Heights. Carl served on the Board of Directors of the Retail Merchants Association for many years, Rocky Mount Jaycees and was a founding member of the Moose Lodge. In December of 2013, Carl had the distinguished honor of being selected to serve as the Grand Marshall for the Franklin County Retail Merchants Association Christmas Parade as recognition for his years of service and the many contributions he made to the community.
Carl was a founding member of Christ Community Church in Penhook, VA. He was a trustee of the church until the age of 80 when he decided it was time for someone “younger” to serve! He and his wife, Linda gave 35 acres of land to establish a permanent home for the church.
Carl was an avid outdoorsman and sportsman. He was very involved in hunting, fishing, boating, golf (winning the Water’s Edge Member/member in 1988 and was Senior Club Champion in 1990), bridge, traveling and square dancing. He was also a great environmentalist and spearheaded the landowners’ group from Long Island to Brookneal to preserve a 10.8 mile stretch of the Staunton River that was ultimately received a “scenic river” designation. Carl had a passion for farming and was a true gentleman farmer in every sense of the word; from farms in Franklin, Pittsylvania and Giles counties, to his pride and joy, Long Island Ranch where he had over 600 head of cattle. Over the years he sired and raised Tennessee Walking Horses and Charolais and Simmental cattle.
Carl lived at Smith Mountain Lake and loved Franklin County and the many people he was associated with all these years.
Visitation will be held at Flora Funeral Home on Wednesday, February 19th, from 4-7pm. A Celebration of Life and interment will be held at Christ Community Church, Penhook VA on Thursday, February 20th, at 11:00 am. The service will be conducted by Rev. Derek Layman and the Rev. Liz Lazenby. A reception for friends and family will immediately follow at the Water’s Edge Country Club.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Christ Community Church building fund in Carl’s memory. Christ Community Church, P.O. Box 100, Penhook, VA 24137.
Well Done Good and Faithful Servant!