Altus L. Simpson, or “Al” as his friends knew him, died Saturday March 30, 2019 at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, WA.
He was born December 30, 1923 to Norma and Carl Simpson in Clemscott, Oklahoma, a small town in south central Oklahoma.
He graduated from Ringling High School in Ringling, Oklahoma. He established a scholarship for graduating Ringling students who demonstrated leadership qualities in school activities.
Following his graduation, Altus moved to San Diego, California and ultimately joined the Navy. With boot camp fresh in mind, Altus was assigned to duty on a destroyer escort (DE 21}that was undergoing repairs in San Francisco.
A few days later the ship sailed under Golden Gate Bridge to the great adventures of conveying ships traveling throughout the south, central and eastern Pacific. The Harold C. Thomas participated in three island hopping campaigns as the troops moved toward Japan. After eighteen months of convoy and antisubmarine patrol duty, the ship left Pearl Harbor, sailing to San Diego for a complete overhaul; to return to the Pacific routine for another eighteen months. World War ll ended and his ship was decommissioned in San Pedro, California.
Altus, along with a large number of returning vets entered the University of Southern California. He graduated with degrees in geology and oceanography. He served as president of the Sigma Gamma Epsilon, a national;honorary society and received the Hancock Foundation fellowship for work in oceanography.
He was employed by a major petroleum service company with the understanding that he could continue his education for a master’s degree. This excellent job lasted seventeen years.
An opportunity opened for Altus to teach geology and oceanography at California State University at Long Beach. He accepted the offer and dedicated the next seventeen years to teaching. He taught geology and oceanography at Cypress College for fifteen years. During this time he met his future wife, Lu Lawrence, who taught on the same campus.
They took early retirement and were off to a beautiful retirement on Bainbridge Island, Washington.
Their future was well organized and arranged: they taught on the adjunct faculty at the University of Puget Sound at Tacoma for another ten years, lecturing on cruise ships and gardened around their home on Bainbridge.
Finishing their “working lives” to devote more time on cruise ships, they sailed on every ocean and visited more than one hundred countries on every continent and more than forty of the proverbial seven seas. Their shipboard lecturing ended with one hundred cruises.
Altus is survived by his wife Lu Lawrence, of Bainbridge Island, his two stepdaughters, Candy Riddell and Susan Knickerbocker of California and Washington..
Interment is entrusted to Cook Funeral Home of Bainbridge Island. Condolences to www.cookfamilyfuneralhome.com