Elder Robert Leatham Simpson, emeritus member of the First Quorum of the Seventy and former longtime member of the Presiding Bishopric, died 15 April at his home in St. George, Utah. He was 87 years old.
Elder Simpson was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 8 August 1915 to Heber C. and Lillian Leatham Simpson. The family moved to southern California in 1920, where Elder Simpson was reared and received his schooling, graduating from Santa Monica City College in 1937. Elder Simpson served in the New Zealand Mission and later married Jelaire Kathryn Chandler in 1942 in the Mesa Arizona Temple. They have four children.
For nearly 20 years he worked for a major California telephone company, serving as plant engineer, public relations supervisor, and head of the accounting office. He interrupted his business career to serve in the Air Force from 1942 to 1946 during World War II.
In 1958 Elder Simpson was called as a mission president in New Zealand. In 1961, he was called to serve as First Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric under Bishop John H. Vandenberg. He served for more than 10 years in that calling. In 1972, Elder Simpson was called as an Assistant to the Council of the Twelve Apostles. He was later called as a mission president in England and also served as Area Supervisor for the Australia, New Zealand, and South Pacific Area of the Church. He was sustained to the First Quorum of the Seventy on 1 October 1976.
In 1980 Elder Simpson was called as president of the Los Angeles California Temple, where he served with his wife, Jelaire, until 1982, when he was called to be the Executive Administrator for the Southeast Asia/Philippines Area of the Church. From 1986 to 1989 Elder Simpson was general president of the Sunday School. On 1 October 1989 Elder Simpson was named an emeritus General Authority. He later served as director of the St. George Utah Temple Visitors’ Center.