Eric Carter Simpson, 73, of Neotsu, Oregon, passed away on Sun., Oct. 10, 2021. He was a prominent force at St. James Santiago Church in Lincoln City, having served many years as parishioner, organist and music director. He was also the organist and choirmaster at St. Stephen’s Church in Newport and St. Luke’s in Waldport.
Eric was a beloved music teacher and staff colleague at St. James Santiago School, and before that at Neskowin Valley School. He accompanied many musical and dramatic productions and mentored countless children as a private piano teacher.
Born in Wenonah, New Jersey, the son of Ernest and Edna Simpson, Eric was devoted to his family, taking his stepmother Mildred on annual vacations until the end of her life. His family moved to Virginia, where Eric attended high school and then college at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. He spent summers waiting tables for seaside tourists in Cape May, New Jersey, and Virginia Beach.
While working for The Music Box Company in Boston, he was transferred to manage its store on Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco; he served as organist and parish administrator for the San Francisco Church of the Advent and organist at St. Aidan’s Episcopal. He was also active in PAWS (Pets Are Wonderful Support), taking care of the pets of people with AIDS who could no longer care for them.
Eric and his husband Scott were named Lincoln City’s “Couple of the Year” in 2008 for their many contributions to community service. They initiated the St. James Church Community Meal Program, which continues to serve thousands of hot meals to the hungry each year.
He was a kind and generous person who made powerful contributions to his communities; his love for humankind embraced many forms of service to others. His friendship and stewardship knew no boundaries.
Eric’s countless friends across country will remember him for his hospitality and his unstinting support of those who knew him. Eric leaves behind his husband of 29 years, Scott Sommerfeld. He will be dearly missed.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Community Meal Program at St. James Santiago Church.
A memorial service is set for 4 p.m. on Wed., Nov. 3 at St. James Santiago Church, Lincoln City. Masks are required. If you prefer to attend the service via Zoom, please contact the church office for a link.