Leroy "Roy" Valentine Simplot born Oct 23, 1877 [possibly 1878], likely in Dubuque, IA, was the sixth child of Alexander and Virginia Knapp Simplot. He had three sisters and five brothers. He was a tall, nice-looking man who had worked as a clerk in an overall store and traveling salesman for clothing companies. How he met and courted Daisy Pearl Fox is not known, but they were married Aug 22, 1906 at the home of the bride in a ceremony performed by Rev. Robert H. Mumby, second husband of Martha Elizabeth Hankinson Hadley, and thus the bride's step-grandfather. The newlyweds left by train to their new home in Chicago after the ceremony and a wedding dinner for the guests. At the time of their wedding Roy was 28 years, 10 months old, and Daisy was 21 years, 6 months.
Little is known of their brief, unhappy marriage of two years and eight months duration, but it is possible that Leroy may have been an insufficient provider who had difficulty holding a good job and that Daisy spent more than she should have in view of their financial stress. Their son, Raymond William Simplot, was born Jul 24, 1907 in Dubuque, and both parents doted on him. Daisy was granted a divorce on May 10, 1909 on the grounds of "cruelty and inhuman treatment." She was granted custody of their son Raymond. Leroy did not contest the divorce and was served with the decree. Daisy and Raymond then lived with her parents.
Leroy's mental and physical health rapidly declined. Leroy was sometimes delusional, and that was very evident in a poignant letter to "My Dear Dear Wife" written to Daisy August 17, 1909, three months after their divorce, desperately asking her to send him money and apparently not understanding or accepting that their marriage had been dissolved. "Remember you have a devoted husband." His psychiatric problems apparently kept him from gainful employment, and, perhaps loath to ask his family for financial support, he lived in the old Simplot homestead in an unheated room without adequate food. His family may have lost patience and abandoned him, at least to some degree. In those times psychiatric problems were not understood and were often hidden by families. According to grandson Kyle Simplot, Leroy had earlier contracted typhoid fever and never fully recovered, and he also may have been depressed after his father's death Oct 21, 1914. He reportedly supported his minimal existence by selling some of his father's illustrations. In 1915 a newspaper article stated that he was taken by police from his zero degree room to Finlay Hospital delirious, emaciated, and with pneumonia. In early 1917 he was admitted to the Oakdale Sanitarium in Oakdale, IA suffering from acute pulmonary tuberculosis. The state paid $30 per month for his treatment at this modern tuberculosis hospital, which included exposure for several hours a day to frigid outdoor winter air in a well-covered bed, a medical therapy of the day. He died there of tuberculosis on Feb 18, 1917, after a stay of only 25 days. He was buried Feb 21, 1917 in the family plot in Linwood Cemetery, Dubuque. [The above is excerpted from my book, Family History of Lee Mason and Daisy Fox Pease, 2010, all rights reserved. Lowell S. Adams] _______________ LEROY V. SIMPLOT PASSED AWAY SUNDAY
The death of Leroy V. Simplot occurred at Oakdale, Iowa, Sunday [Feb 18, 1917]. The deceased was a son of the late Alex. Simplot and was born here thirty-nine years ago. He is survived by a son, two sisters and four brothers.
His health had been failing for the past several months.
The funeral will be held here and interment made in Linwood.