In Loving Memory of Laurel Simpson
Laurel Jayne Simpson, 73, of Morrow, Georgia, a devoted wife, loving mother and cherished grandmother, passed away on October 15, 2023, while visiting Gulf Shores, Alabama. Laurel was born in Asheville, North Carolina, to Rachel and Riley Oxley.
After high school, Laurel joined the United States Army and served 7 years. It was during training in 1976 at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, that she met the love of her life, Michael Simpson. They married and went on to have two sons. Laurel was so proud of her boys and provided them with love, wisdom and endless support throughout their lives. She was especially proud of the four beautiful granddaughters her sons gave her. She loved being a mom to boys, but with all these girls, it was her time to shine!
Laurel had a servant's heart for people in at-risk populations and especially those struggling with mental health issues. She earned a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Austin Peay State University in Tennessee, and then majored in Social Psychology and Counseling at the University of Hawaii where she was an Honors Graduate with a 4.0 GPA. She was a certified hospice volunteer with specialized training for AIDS/HIV patients and families, a Registered Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner, and a Family Violence Counselor where she facilitated for men's groups. While in Hawaii she directed a program for federal and state inmates and established a new program addressing re-socialization needs specific to female inmates. When the Simpson family moved to Georgia, her servant leadership continued as she participated in the establishment of the first Community Correctional Center in Georgia for alternative sentencing options. Her passion was exemplified by the name she created for herself through her work in Hawaii and Georgia, and later led to her being named Executive Director of the Georgia Alliance for the Mentally Ill. For her children and their spouses and her grandchildren, Laurel was always there to provide unconditional support as Mom and Gammy.
Laurel is survived by her beloved husband of 47 years, Michael Simpson, her eldest son and daughter-in-law, Anthony and Alana Simpson, granddaughter Alissa, her youngest son and daughter-in-law, Brentley and Kelly Simpson, granddaughter Harper, and former daughter-in law, Melissa Simpson and granddaughters Madison and Lauren, brother Alan Oxley of Jupiter, Florida, and sister Lynette Malone of Centerville, Tennessee. She is preceded in death by Helen and Amos Simpson, her parents Rachel and Riley Oxley, and a brother, Jay Oxley.
Laurel's memory will forever live on in our hearts as we celebrate her as a family, continue to do the things she loved to do, and reminisce over the great times we had with her. She will be dearly missed, but her love and spirit will continue to shine brightly in our hearts. We love you, Mom - we'll meet you at the tiki bar.