Doris Simpson

(January 23, 2007)

Doris C. Simpson, an avid gardener and birder who had been a garden club president, died Tuesday from cerebrovascular disease at the Cathedral Village retirement community in Philadelphia. She was 94.

The former Doris McElroy Cullings was born and raised in Memphis, Tenn., and after the death of her parents, she and her sister were raised by their paternal grandmother.

In 1940, she earned a bachelor's degree in music from Rhodes College in Memphis, and the next year, married her college sweetheart, Dr. Thomas W. Simpson.

They moved to Baltimore in 1941, when Dr. Simpson entered medical school at the Johns Hopkins University. After the end of World War II, they moved to Columbia, S.C., and in 1948, to Winston-Salem, N.C., when Dr. Simpson began practicing medicine. There, Mrs. Simpson began volunteering at the local hospital and developed what became a lifelong interest in bird watching and horticulture.

Because Dr. Simpson was an expert in tropical diseases and medicine and a pioneer in the oral-fluid therapy for cholera, his work took the couple to Panama, Okinawa and India.

While living in India, Mrs. Simpson was president of the American Women's Club in Calcutta, and raised funds for Mother Teresa's work among refugees and the needy.

In 1973, the couple returned to Baltimore when Dr. Simpson joined the faculty of the Johns Hopkins schools of medicine and public health.

A longtime resident of Ridgemede Road in Tuscany-Canterbury, Mrs. Simpson was president of the Hardy Garden Club in Ruxton in the early 1980s and became a Garden Club of America horticulture judge. For her work, she was presented the organization's Zone VI Horticulture Award.

Mrs. Simpson enjoyed working in her garden and had a passion for daylillies, which led her to become an expert hybridizer of new varieties.

She and her husband, who also maintained a second home in Accomac, Va., were members of the Maryland and Virginia ornithological societies. The couple enjoyed photographing and doing pencil sketches of birds and were especially interested in raptors.

Dr. Simpson died in 2012.

Mrs. Simpson liked doing pencil and watercolor portraits and contributed articles to horticultural and ornithological magazines. She was also an accomplished needleworker.

Mrs. Simpson liked cooking and entertaining family and friends, and in addition to Southern cooking, she also prepared meals featuring Indian, Korean and Chinese cuisine, said her daughter, Lucia Shen of Philadelphia.

She was a former communicant of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Ruxton. She had been living in Philadelphia since 2005.

Funeral services are private.

In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Simpson is survived by two grandchildren.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com