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 David B. Simpson

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David B. Simpson

  • Birth 21 Aug 1898 Greer, Spartanburg County, South Carolina, USA
  • Death 10 Apr 1976 Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon, USA
  • Burial San Diego, San Diego County, California, USA
  • Memorial ID 24839823

David B. Simpson, the man with the gruff voice - but a warm handshake and a friendly smile, realtor and Portland civic leader during the past four decades, and Portland's First Citizen of 1950, passed away in Portland, Oregon on April 10, 1976, at age 77 after an extended illness.

During his long business and civic life, David played an active role in city, state and national affairs, served as president or on the board of numerous firms and organizations, and participated in many of the Portland community's major real estate transactions.

Among his many lifetime honors, David was president of the Portland Chamber of Commerce, Portland Board of Realtors and the National Association of Real Estate Boards, a member of the Oregon State Highway Commission, and in 1945 Oregon chairman of the American Cancer Society fund drive.

Born in Greer, South Carolina, on August 21, 1898, David spent parts of his childhood in Tennessee and New Mexico. He received his education at Northwestern Military and Naval Academy at Lake Geneva, Wisc., and at Lake Forest University in Lake Forest, Ill. During World War I he served with the U.S. Army in France, attained the rank of captain at age 20, and remained in service, which finally brought him to the Vancouver, Washington Barracks in 1923. (Army service was from 1917 to 1924)

Upon resigning his commission, David moved to Portland, Oregon where he entered the real estate and property management business. In 1936 he joined with A.D. Norris and George J. Beggs, who had started their real estate firm four years earlier, and the name was changed to Norris, Beggs & Simpson.

Following the death of his partners, Norris in 1957, and Beggs in 1959, David became president, and then in 1964, chairman of the board.

Norris, Beggs & Simpson received its early impetus when the firm was named correspondent for New England Mutual Life Insurance. Later it entered a similar relationship with John Hancock Mutual Life.

David's firm specialized in commercial and industrial properties and over the years has managed many of the major Portland office buildings.

As wartime president of the Portland Chamber of Commerce, David served two years in the post, leading efforts to obtain industry and adequate war housing.

David played an active role in locating such industries as Owens-Illinois Glass, Pennsalt, Flintkote, Folgers Coffee, and others. His firm was leasing agent for the Lloyd Center in NE Portland and the liquidation of the Corbett investment properties.

David personally took a great interest in the community effort to bring about the construction of the Portland Hilton Hotel, helped obtain some of the property, and joined with Aaron Frank, Hillman Lueddemann, Paul B. McKee and Frank E. McCaslin as co-signers on a note when the $3 million debenture sale faltered near the final deadline.

Interviewed by The Oregon Journal in 1967 (article dated 4-6-67), David obviously enjoyed recalling events of the past. But he was quick to point out the firms's current activities then, which included handling leasing for the 29-level Georgia-Pacific world headquarters building and the Oregon Education Association's huge office complex in Tigard, Oregon.

During his long career, David served on the Oregon State Welfare Commission, The Portland City Planning Commission, was a regent of Reed College in Portland, on the board of governors of Physician and Surgeons hospital in Portland and a director of the Oregon State Motor Association.

David also served on the board of directors of: U.S. National Bank; Northwest Natural Gas Co. and its predecessor, Portland Gas & Coke Co.; Portland Traction Co., Portland Transit Co. and Rose City Transit Co.; and Columbia Basin Terminals.

David was also a member of the Arlington Club in Portland and the Portland Rotary.

In 1968 David was awarded a brass knob from City Hall for his contributions to Portland civic affairs.

One of David's favorite bits of philosophy was, "This city will be as good as people are willing to make it."

In recent years David had spent his winter months in homes in Palm Springs and La Jolla, Calif.

Survivors include his wife, Barbara W., of Palm Springs, Calif.; a sister Mrs. Daisy B. Goodin, of Rogers, Ark.; and a stepson, William N. Wise, of Winterhaven, Calif.

Family Members

Siblings Half Siblings

  • Created by: Douglas Kirk Sorensen
  • Added: 23 Feb 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 24839823
  • Douglas Kirk Sorensen
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for David B. Simpson (21 Aug 1898–10 Apr 1976), Find A Grave Memorial no. 24839823, citing Greenwood Memorial Park, San Diego, San Diego County, California, USA ; Maintained by Douglas Kirk Sorensen (contributor 46956932) .