Corinna Mae Smith Simpkins, 98, led thrifty, comfortable life and retired on the water

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Corinna Mae Smith Simpkins
Corinna Mae Smith Simpkins

Corinna Mae Smith Simpkins departed this life peacefully on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015, days away from her 99th birthday, at the home of her daughter in Greensboro.

Mae was born on Nov. 1, 1916, in Norwood, the daughter of Travis and Lela Lisk Smith. She outlived her five brothers and one sister.

Mae married Rodney Lane Simpkins Sr. in 1937 in New Bern. They had three children, all of whom survive, Rodney Jr. (wife Bettie), of Hampstead, Philip Warren, of Raleigh and Carolyn Turner Smith (husband Norman), of Greensboro. She is survived by seven grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

Mae came from a family of hard-working subsistence farmers and her husband Rodney was also of a modest background. Together they succeeded in raising their children and sending them all through college without incurring any debt. Mae operated a cosmetology business, Mae and Ida’s, in Jacksonville and Rodney was in life insurance sales and management. They were a successful part of that great generation that transformed America from a nation of small farmers to a society based on industry, commerce and the provision of services and information dissemination.

After leading thrifty but comfortable working lives, Mae and Rodney were able to enjoy 17 years of retirement at their beloved place on the Intracoastal Waterway at Hampstead. Mae lost Rodney in 1992 and remained a widow until her death. Mae was a devoted member of the Hampstead United Methodist Church and before that the First Christian Church in Jacksonville. She was also a member of the Eastern Star.

In addition to her loving children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Mae left scores of devoted friends and other relatives, many of whom visited her with regularity at her home in Hampstead.

Mae’s son Rodney Jr. lived next door to her and attended to her needs for more than 20 years until she required more care and moved in with her daughter Carolyn and husband Norman in Greensboro late in 2014. Then Carolyn took care of her mother, just as Mae had taken care of her own mother in her final months many years ago. Her son Phil visited her and helped with her care on a regular basis and seldom let a day go by without phoning her once—if not twice.

Mae was greatly loved and will be greatly missed by many.

The funeral will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015, at Hampstead United Methodist Church, 15395 US Highway 17, with Pastor Samuel “Skip” Williams and the Rev. Trudy Wilder officiating. The family will receive at the church one hour prior to the service. Interment will be held at Sea Lawn Memorial Park, 17750 US Highway 17, Hampstead.

Memorial contributions may be made to Hampstead United Methodist Church Building Fund, 15395, US Highway 17, Hampstead, NC 28443.

Please leave online condolences for the family at Andrews Mortuary.

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