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Carmen Zitelmann Simpkins
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Birth: Jun. 9, 1913
Berlin, Germany
Death: Jul. 9, 2011
Knox County
Maine, USA

Carmen Z. Simpkins, 98, of Camden [Maine] and formerly of Clinton, S.C., died peacefully at home July 9, 2011.

She was an artist, musician and sculptor whose work has been exhibited in galleries throughout America, Europe and the Caribbean.

Born in Berlin, Germany, in 1913, Carmen was the youngest daughter of Franz Karl and Edith Zitelmann. She grew up in Havana, Cuba, where her father, former ambassador to the Philippines and Consul-General to Norway, was appointed German Minister.

She studied art at the renowned San Alejandro Academy in Cuba and later returned to Berlin to enter the Ernesto de Fiori School to study sculpture.

In 1935 Carmen married Nathaniel Simpkins III of Boston. They shared a life together for over 50 years, raising four children and traveling from homes in Maine, Massachusetts, Bermuda and later, Florida.

She played violin with the Cape Ann Symphony and the Bermuda Philharmonic and music became the inspiration for her paintings. She never worked without the radio on and often carried one in her purse together with a sketch pad or scrap of paper. She often remarked that she would paint what she heard. One of her personal favorites was titled "Fidelio," which she painted to Beethoven's opera of the same name.

She opened her own galleries in Florida and South Carolina and spent every summer working at her studio in Maine . She always did her own framing and was as meticulous with her table saw as she was with any of the tools she collected and loved to use. She could often be seen rushing down the highway driving her small pick up truck full of wooden framing material and supplies as she prepared another painting for a show or for sale.

Much like the images in her paintings, her life was spent in motion as she kept active and creative throughout the year, even during winters when she moved to Maine year round. She enjoyed walking daily with her beloved French poodle, Duchess, and feeding popcorn to the ducks or birds that would flock to her side at the shore.

She loved reminiscing about her life at the Embassy in Cuba and the opportunities it had provided her for meeting extraordinary people, like spending an afternoon with Albert Einstein when he visited Havana. Her mother had introduced him as a brilliant mathematician who could help her with arithmetic. But he confided to the little girl that indeed he could not since he was only able to count in the millions. She did not think he was very clever.

The long daily walks she took on the beach in Florida, no matter what the weather, eventually gave birth to the images of infinite landscapes or lonely figures in vast spaces. Her paintings began to shrink in size as years passed until they were miniatures so small that she needed a miniature museum, the size of a dollhouse to display them. So she had a gallery inside of a gallery.

Her art remained her passion and she loved to draw people into it and to educate them how to see. She looked for reactions and interpretations from others, especially young people with whom she loved to argue or challenge.

Carmen believed in having big dreams and in finding the strength and ambition to follow them. She was devoted to her faith. She was known for her courage and determination to live life on her own terms, independent and completely in the present. Quick to respond to any in need, she was always reluctant to make her own needs known. Fame did not impress her and she will be remembered for her generosity of spirit and her dedication to the value of art.

Carmen was predeceased by her husband, Nat; two sisters, Dagmar Diago of Havana, Cuba, and Saskia Bintz of Offenbach, Germany; a niece, Bettina Von Feilitch; and a nephew, Peter Udo Bintz.

She is survived by four children, Natascha Halpert and her husband, Stephen; Cornelia Turner and her husband, Stephen; Nathaniel Simpkins IV, and his wife, Sandy; and Charles Alexander Simpkins and his wife, Annellen.

She will also be missed by her 11 grandchildren, Laura Lorenz and her fiance, Russ, Diana Weggler and her husband, Bobby, Angela Lorenz and her husband, Johnny, Christopher Lorenz, Bryana Turner, Nicholas Turner, Nathaniel Simpkins V, Alexandra Simpkins, Nicole Simpkins, Alura Simpkins and Alexander Simpkins Jr.; 10 great-grandchildren; her niece, Tamara Diago of Miami; her nephew, Joaquin Diago; and her niece, Marie Antonia of Buffalo, N.Y.

A funeral Mass will be held Monday, July 18 at 1 p.m. at Our Lady of Good Hope Catholic Church in Camden with the Rev. Mark Reinhardt officiating.

Burial will be held in the Woodside Cemetery in Yarmouthport, Mass. Condolences, photos and memories may be shared with the Simpkins family by visiting their book of memories at

Memorial donations may be made to the Camden-Rockport Animal Rescue League, P.O. Box 707, Rockport, ME 04856.

Arrangements are with the Long Funeral Home, 9 Mountain St. in Camden.

Source: Grafton News


Name: Carmen Simpkins
Last Residence: 04843 Camden, Knox, Maine
Born: 9 Jun 1913
Died: 9 Jul 2011
State (Year) SSN issued: Massachusetts (1962)

Name: Carmen Zitelmann Simpkins
Birth Date: abt 1913
Age: 27
Naturalization Date: 18 Jul 1940
Residence: Carnegie Hall, New York
Title and Location of Court: New York Southern District

Name: Carmen Simpkins
Arrival Date: 31 Aug 1937
Birth Date: abt 1913
Birth Location: Germany
Birth Location Other: Berlin
Age: 24
Gender: Female
Ethnicity/ Nationality: American;German (American)
Place of Origin: United States of America
Port of Departure: Antwerp, Belgium
Port of Arrival: New York, New York
Port Arrival State: New York
Port Arrival Country: United States
Ship Name: Pennland

Name: Carmen Zitelmann
Age: 21
Birth Year: abt 1914
Birth Place: Berlin, Germany
Spouse's Name: Nathaniel S Simpkins III
Spouse's Age: 23
Spouse's Birth Year: abt 1912
Spouse's Birth Place: Boston, Massachusetts
Marriage Date: 15 May 1935
Marriage Place: The Municipal Standesamt, Berlin-Wilmersdorf, Germany
Consular Location: Berlin, Germany


In her later years in Florida, Carmen remembered attending a diplomatic function in her student days in Berlin at which Adolph Hitler was present. Impulsively she ran across the room in front of Hitler and was seized by his guards, since crossing in front of der Führer was verboten. Hitler ordered them to let her go, saying: "She meant no harm."
Source: Steve Calvert

Carmen, whose father was in the German diplomatic corps, once told me that she was actually born in France, but this created problems, so she listed Berlin.

After she married Nat Simpkins, a U.S. citizen, in Berlin, she was that she became "stateless." Germany said she had lost her citizenship by marrying an America; the US said she didn't become a US citizen just because of the marriage. Somehow, strings were pulled and the US Consulate issued papers allowing her entrance into the US with her husband.
Source: Steve Calvert
Family links: 
  Nathaniel Stone Simpkins (1912 - 1988)
Woodside Cemetery
Yarmouth Port
Barnstable County
Massachusetts, USA
Created by: Martin Weybright
Record added: Oct 31, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 99964145
Carmen <i>Zitelmann</i> Simpkins
Added by: Martin Weybright
Carmen <i>Zitelmann</i> Simpkins
Added by: Lisa Riley
Carmen <i>Zitelmann</i> Simpkins
Added by: Martin Weybright
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- Steve Calvert, your former neighbor in Stuart, FL
 Added: Oct. 31, 2012

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