Frederick "Fritz" Simpson
FREDERICK H. “FRITZ” SIMPSON
Frederick H. (Fritz) Simpson died Saturday, June 28, 2014, at Bergan Mercy Hospital in Omaha. He was 86.
The son of Frederick D. (Ted) and Gladys H. Simpson, he was born Oct. 31, 1927, in Boone. Before he was a year old, the Simpson family moved from Jordan, to Ponca, Neb., where his father became owner of weekly newspapers in Ponca and Allen, Neb. The Simpsons lived in Ponca until 1937 when they moved to Atlantic, where Frederick D. became one of the owners of the Atlantic News-Telegraph.
Fritz attended Jackson Elementary and Atlantic High School, which he was graduated from in 1945. During his high school years, he was a member of the National Honor Society; editor of The Needle, school newspaper; president of his senior class; on student council; boys' glee club; football, track, tennis; junior and senior plays; opera; declamatory; and Hi-Y. He was named to the Iowa Daily Newspaper Association 1944-45 all-state basketball first team;the Trojans lost to Des Moines Dowling in the championship game. He was first team All Southwest Iowa and Hawkeye Six Conference. Junior high through senior high, Fritz' teams were 59-5, with three losses in tournament games. He was called, "a cool player and smooth ball handler, the best offensive, defensive and rebound man in southwest Iowa." The four who played together the six years from junior high through senior high were referred to as, "the whiz kids."
Following his graduation, Fritz enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He was stationed at the Great Lakes Navy Training Center in Chicago, and aboard the U.S.S. Hornet in San Francisco Bay during his 13 months in the Navy.
Following his Navy service, Fritz enrolled in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He attended school there four years and was graduated in 1950. During his years at the University, he was president of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity; fraternity scholarship winner as outstanding upperclassman; on student council; on the Interfraternity Council; editor of The Daily Nebraskan, school newspaper; member of Sigma Delta Chi, journalism honorary; a member of The Innocents Society, senior men's honorary; played on the Cornhusker basketball team, and won the intramural free throw contest by making 97 of 100 attempts. One of his editorials in "the Rag" was picked by UPI, an uncommon occurrence.
Fritz returned to Atlantic following his graduation and worked at the News-Telegraph for 38 1/2 years. He and his father became sole owners of the newspaper in 1956, and Fritz was appointed publisher in 1966 following the semi-retirement of Frederick D. They modernized the presses and introduced color in the early 60's. He was mentioned in the Dear Abby column after censoring out words and cutting entire letters found objectionable. Then Gannett ran a story citing his position. The News-Telegraph was sold in 1988 to American Publishing Co. of West Frankfurt, Ill.
During his years in Atlantic, Fritz served as president of the Jaycees, was recipient of the Jaycees' boss of the year award, received the Jaycees' Distinguished Service Award; was selected waiter of the year at the Junior Federated Club's celebrity waiter dinner; president of the Atlantic YMCA and the Southwest Iowa District YMCA; president of the Chamber of Commerce and the Atlantic Industrial Foundation; general chairman of the Community Chest drive; trustee on the Cass County Memorial Hospital Board; and in 1987 was a recipient of the Iowa Newspaper Association's distinguished service award. He was a member of the Atlantic Rotary club; the First United Presbyterian Church and donated more than 18 gallons of blood to the American Red Cross Bloodmobile. He was chairman of the steering committee which raised funds to expand and modernize Heritage House and was a member of the steering committees to pass the new Atlantic High School bond issue.
In 1951, Fritz married Susan Reed, a university classmate from Deshler, Neb. They had two children, Ted and Mary Sue, and their marriage continued until 1981, when Susan died of illness. On June 8, 1991, Fritz was married in Omaha to Lois Jean (Dolly) Rohling, a widow and resident of Omaha. The couple made their home there for 23 years.
Fritz enjoyed spending time with his grandkids and family, travel, golf, boating, sports, attending granddaughter Erin's volleyball matches, seeing his step-grandchildren in Omaha and West Lake Okoboji, reading and anything pertaining to the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
He kept every golf score and milestone scorecards since 1958 and tabulated averages for each year.
Fritz is survived by his wife; son Ted and his wife Mary of Cedar Park, Texas; daughter Mary Shannon, her husband Jim and granddaughter Erin of Atlantic; stepchildren Julie Connor, her husband Keith of Kansas City, Mo. and step-grandchildren, Kelly, Patrick, Daniel, Andrew and Brian; Robert Rohling, his wife Kim and step-grandchildren Raegan and Katie of Eden Prairie,Minn.; Becky Braggins, her husband Rob and step-grandchildren Jackson and Emma of Alma, Colo.; and Tom Rohling, his wife Anne and step-granddaughter Elle of Leawood, Kan.; and nephews and nieces. He was preceded in death by his wife, Susan Reed Simpson; sister Marilyn Simpson Ford, brother-in-law William Walton Ford; and his parents.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials be given to the Atlantic YMCA, the Siena/Francis House Homeless Shelter in Omaha, or Phi Kappa Psi fraternity in Lincoln.
Honorary pallbearers are Don Deter, Hugh Ross, Don Henningsen, Sid Winchell, Warren Hutchinson, Phil Chinitz and nephews, Bill, Dave and Ted Ford.
Condolences may be left online at www.heafeyheafey.com or www.rolandfuneralservice.com .