BEREA, Ky. — Mickel Paul Simpson, 69, of Berea, Ky., passed away on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, at his home, with his life partner, Sam Holmes. He was born on Nov. 12, 1951, to Paul Eugene (P.E.) and Janet Bishop Simpson in Blackmont, Ky. Mike was a graduate of Ohio County High School in Hartford. He received his bachelor’s degree in K-12 art education from Western Kentucky University and his master’s degree in public school administration from Northeastern Illinois University. He taught art in the Chicago city school system for decades, ultimately serving as a school administrator. After his retirement a few years ago, Mickel and Sam moved to Berea to be closer to the area where Mickel was raised, and also part of the famed vibrant arts and crafts scene of that city.
Mickel was preceded in death by his sister, fellow teacher, and lifelong partner in trading witty banter, Kay Simpson, who retired from the Ohio County school system, and by his infant sister, Sonja Simpson.
Mickel is survived by his life partner of many years, Sam Holmes; by many members of his extended Simpson and Bishop families; by his stepmother, Rachel Callaway of Lynnville, Ind.; and by the many members of his extended Ford stepfamily.
In addition to the lives of thousands of young people Mickel impacted through his decades in the art classroom and as a school administrator, he reached many through his painting and artwork, with original artwork still on display in Chicago and with print and artwork enjoyed by many. Further, his passion for art, for wit and humor, for politics, and for life in general were an inspiration to his family and his friends. For those who knew Mickel and who were inspired by his creativity and his dedication to education, think about how you can honor his memory by inspiring young people in your own lives. And, if you feel so compelled, consider donating time or money to the arts and crafts, to your local hospice organization, or to the cause of your choice.