January 9, 1944 – October 21, 2017
Juliette (Judy) Rich Simpson, 73, of Tifton, Georgia, passed away peacefully at home on Saturday, October 21, 2017, surrounded by her family.
The funeral service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, October 24, 2017, at First Presbyterian Church in Tifton with The Reverend Dr. C. Jarred Hammet, Jr. and The Reverend Brian Doles officiating. Adam Smith, Greg Cox, Adam Hale, James Hale, Robert Rich, Derry Cannon, Hunter Rich, Carson Rich, and Cal Holloway will serve as active pallbearers.
The family will receive friends from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Monday, October 23, 2017, at Albritton Funeral Directors in Tifton. Online visitors may sign the guest register at www.albrittonfuneral.com or www.iveyfuneral.com.
Graveside services will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 24, 2017, at the Simpson family lot in Oak City Cemetery in Bainbridge, Georgia.
Judy was born January 9, 1944, in Bainbridge, Georgia, the daughter of Robert Lloyd Rich, Jr. and Juliette Lane Rich. She was a 1962 graduate of Bainbridge High School. Judy was a devoted wife and mother. She taught her family the values of faithfulness, loyalty and love. Whether at nightly dinners together, while ensuring attendance at violin lessons, or through Girl Scout activities, Judy showed us the importance of dedication, a strong work ethic, and of loving our neighbors. She was co-president of the Tifton Aquatic Club and spent many Saturday mornings watching her children swim in meets throughout Georgia. She loved flowers, gardening and flower arranging. Her home was always filled with fresh flowers cut from her garden. Judy was a member of the Dogwood Garden Club and penned a guide to gardening in South Georgia. Her yard, visited by her students each year the last week of school, won Garden of the Month countless times.
Judy was a teacher. She taught third grade at Annie Belle Clark for thirty-one years. She was awarded the Tift County Teacher of the Year and twice awarded the Annie Belle Clark School Teacher of the Year. More importantly, Judy cherished her time in the classroom. She taught creativity and independence, as well as knowledge that students needed to know to be good citizens. Parents and students appreciated her way of making learning fun, as she incorporated the arts into daily activities and ensured each child had as much opportunity as the next. Her passion for teaching came early, and while attending Wesleyan College, Class of 1966, she served as President of the Student National Teachers’ Association.
An active member of First Presbyterian Church, Judy served on the Session as an Elder and was a Sunday School Teacher. She worked to ensure that the life of the church grew through her work as a youth leader and youth choir director. Judy loved to sing and was a member of the church choir. All around her knew about her love of music. She was a member of the Wesleyan Glee Club and the Tifton Choral Society. Judy encouraged her children to love music as well, and she was active in the Tift County Choral Parents Association.
Judy loved this country and was a very active Republican. She served as a member of the State Committee of the Georgia GOP for over twenty years, Treasurer of the Tift County Republican Party, and the Georgia 8th District Republican Party. She attended and was a delegate at four Republican National Conventions.
Judy had a strong spirit and a fierce resolve. She fought her battle with cancer with grace and as the true southern lady she has always been. Survivors include her husband of fifty-one years, Ralph F. (Rusty) Simpson of Tifton; her daughters, Juliette Simpson of Macon, and Elena Simpson Thomas and her husband, Dusty, of LaGrange; her sister, Sue Rich Hale and her husband, Sam, of Sandy Springs; her brothers, Bob Rich and his wife, Laura Ann, of Lincolnton and Joe Rich and his wife, Susan, of Atlanta; her granddaughter, Lane Thomas of LaGrange; and many nieces and nephews.