|Birth: ||Nov. 11, 1980|
Hood River County
|Death: ||May 16, 2005|
Salah ad Din, Iraq
Man Of 'Such Integrity' Mourned
Published May. 28 2005 - Oregonian
Friday was a day of somber reflection under a cloudless sky at Willamette National Cemetery, where Sgt. Jacob Simpson's military family met his Oregon family and friends. Flags fluttered from thousands of markers, and a hummingbird flitted amid the flowers sent by soldiers and family members. Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens stood in sharp profile, the governor quoted from the Gettysburg Address and the bugler played taps.
But Simpson's friends and family, who gathered afterward for a private remembrance at the Paesano Club in Gresham, said they simply were grieving for a loved one who was gone. It wasn't the war, or duty, or patriotism that drew them together, several said. It was Jake.
"Politics aren't important. A great friend is dead," said Brenden Kelly, his best friend from his Ashland days.
If a crowd was gathered watching someone get hurt, his friends said, Simpson was the one guy who would jump out to help. He would do it, they said, not because he wanted to impress anybody, but just "because he was Jake."
"He had such integrity," said Kerry Rose Cowan, who got to know him in Ashland. "He had such a strong sense of ethics, and a strong code of honor.
"You could trust him with a secret," she said. "But you might not be able to trust him to watch your beer."
Simpson, 24, died May 16 in northern Iraq after he was struck by shrapnel caused by a rocket-propelled grenade. He was scouting a building near a hospital under the protection of the U.S. Army. Soldiers said it used to be a hospital avoided by injured Iraqi police because it was under the control of insurgents who might drag them from their beds and kill them.
But now, Iraqi families take their children to the hospital for routine treatment because it's safe again. That's a result of the protection provided by Simpson and his comrades from the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, his commanding officer said in a message read at Simpson's funeral Friday.
Jacob Simpson's mom, Roberta "Robyn" Simpson, pulled her son's worlds together Friday, blending the solemn, patriotic afternoon ceremony with a casual wake where beer flowed and the music he enjoyed -- industrial and '80s Goth -- played.
Kelly and Cowan said their friend communicated a lot without saying much. They said Simpson had a sharp wit, but not everybody got to see it. Some of them got to know him because they participated with him in role-playing games involving vampires. While Simpson was in Iraq, Cowan sent him an amulet with the symbol of Thor's Hammer, to protect him. When he died, he was wearing it alongside his dog tags, she said.
At the time of his death, Simpson was the 46th member of the military with strong Oregon ties to be killed in Iraq or Afghanistan since March 2003. A 47th, John B. Ogburn III of Ontario, died on Sunday. Five civilian contractors with Oregon ties have been killed in the two countries during that time.
Simpson was a gunner on a Bradley Fighting Vehicle, but he was killed on a foot reconnaissance patrol. He joined the Army, his friends said, to find a better life outside Ashland, where job prospects seemed slim. Simpson, Cowan said, "refused to settle for mediocrity in his life."
A member of the U.S. Army in Germany when the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks happened, Simpson re-enlisted because "he wanted to get bin Laden," Cowan said. He was on his second tour in Iraq when he was killed.
Simpson grew up in Hood River and Ashland. He is survived by his mother, Robyn; his father, Gregory; his brother, Carey; and his two sisters, Rebekah Simpson of Glenwood, Wash., and Kimberly Bemiss of Banks.
Willamette National Cemetery
Plot: Sec X Plot 2297
Created by: Carrie and Allen ㈎...
Record added: Nov 09, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 100447950