Peter K. Simpson

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Peter Kooi Simpson, Sr. (born 1930), is a member of the Simpson political family in the U.S. state of Wyoming. He served in the Wyoming House of Representatives from Sheridan from 1981 to 1984, with assignment to the House Appropriations Committee.[1]

In 1986, Simpson was the Republican gubernatorial nominee, having been defeated, 54-46 percent, by the Democrat Michael J. Sullivan of Douglas in Converse County in southeastern Wyoming. It was a heavily Democratic year politically, as Republicans lost their majority in the U.S. Senate for the last two years of the Ronald W. Reagan administration. Sullivan succeeded fellow Democrat Edgar Herschler.

Biography

Simpson was born in Cody in northwestern Wyoming to subsequent Governor and U.S. Senator Milward L. Simpson and the former Lorna Kooi. His brother is former U.S. Senator Alan K. Simpson. Both have as their middle name the mother's maiden name "Kooi". One of Simpson's nephews is former State Representative Colin M. Simpson of Cody, who ran unsuccessfully for governor in the Republican primary election in 2010. The nomination and the election went to Matt Mead, a grandson of former governor Clifford P. Hansen.

A graduate of the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Simpson lettered in basketball and earned his bachelor’s degree in History in 1953. He served for four years in the United States Navy.[2] Simpson then moved to Billings, Montana, where he became involved in folk singings and had a local television program.[3] Simpson returned to UW for his master’s degree in History, which he completed in 1962. His thesis is entitled "A History of the First Wyoming Legislature".[4]

Simpson thereafter earned his Ph.D. from the University of Oregon in Eugene, again in the field of History. He is a member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. In the early 1970s, Simpson returned to Wyoming to accept a position as the assistant to the President at Casper College in Casper, the state's second largest city. He then became Dean of Instruction at Sheridan College.[2]

In 1984, as his legislative service ended, Simpson became Vice President for Development at UW and the executive director of the UW Foundation. He resigned from the UW Foundation to run for governor but returned to the university in 1987 as vice president for development and alumni affairs and later vice president for institutional advancement. After retiring in 1997, Simpson taught history on a temporary basis at UW and was the Milward Simpson Distinguished Visiting Professor in 1999 and 2000. Over the years, Simpson has served as emcee at several UW Athletic Hall of Fame banquets. He was himself inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009.[2]

While at UW, Simpson and his brother, Alan, both considered moderate Republicans and known as after-dinner speakers, were asked by the political science department to team teach a course for one time only, but the effort became so successful that Pete Simpson was still involved in the course twelve years later.[5]

Retirement

After retiring from UW, Simpson and his wife, the former Lynne Alice Livingston (born 1940), left Laramie to return to their native Cody.[3] The couple married c. 1960. Their sons are Pete Simpson, Jr., who has been a musician with the Blue Man Group in New York City,[6] and Milward Allen Simpson (born 1962), a Democrat who served as the director of the Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources in the administration of Governor Dave Freudenthal. This Milward Simpson had been mentioned as a potential Democratic candidate for governor at the same time that his cousin, Colin Simpson, unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for the office that their paternal grandfather once held.[7]

In 2011, Pete Simpson received the Medallion Service Award from the UW Alumni Association.[5]

In June 2012, Simpson posed as William F. Cody at the grand opening of the redesigned Cody museum at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody.[8]

References

  1. Legislator Information. legisweb.state.wy.us. Retrieved on November 1, 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Peter K. Simpson. wyohof.com. Retrieved on November 1, 2012.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Debra Thomsen, "Moving home Pete and Lynne Simpson are leaving Laramie, but not before giving the community one more production". Laramie Daily Boomerang, February 11, 2011. Retrieved on November 1, 2012.
  4. Peter K. Simpson, A History of the First Wyoming Legislature. University of Wyoming thesis. Retrieved on November 1, 2012. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Julianne Couch, "Pete Simpson Receives Medallion Service Award". ato.org. Retrieved on November 1, 2012.
  6. Pete Simpson, Jr.: Cast member, New York City production of the Blue Man Group. uwyo.edu. Retrieved on November 1, 2012.
  7. Milward Simpson says he won't run for governor, February 9, 2010. trib.com. Retrieved on November 1, 2012.
  8. Kathryn Buniak, "Bill Is Back: The grand opening of the redesigned Buffalo Bill Museum in Cody, Wyoming, unveils a fascinating study of the life of William F. 'Buffalo Bill' Cody". cowboysindians.com. Retrieved on November 1, 2012.
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