My Sister – Barbara Uldene Robinson Simpson – May 25, 1954 to November 17, 2022

My younger sister, Barbara died Thursday, November 17. She was an amazing person and a wonderful sister.

She knew what she wanted in life and pursued it with focus. Her Christian faith was her rock. Her family meant everything to her. I will miss her enormously.

Here is her obituary:

Barbara Uldene Simpson née Robinson, aged 68, went to be with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Thursday, November 17, 2022 while living at home in University Place, Washington. Barbara was an earnest and faithful Christian, a regular attender and member of Faith Presbyterian Church, Tacoma. She sacrificially devoted herself to serving her Lord, family, and Christian brothers and sisters. Barbara died peacefully with family at home after living with ALS for 6 years.

Born in Bismarck, North Dakota on May 25, 1954 to Donald Wayne Robinson and Margaret Helen Robinson née Gibson, she was the second of four children. Barbara graduated valedictorian in 1972 from London Central High School in High Wycombe, United Kingdom while living with family in Farnham Commons, Buckinghamshire. She earned a degree in zoology from Iowa State University in 1976 and a doctor of dental surgery from the University of Washington in 1980.

Barbara served as an Army dentist at Ft. Lewis, Washington and Taegu, South Korea until June 1984. The Rev. Dr. Robert S. Rayburn, pastor of Faith Presbyterian Church, introduced Barbara and Michael Simpson to each other and they were married on June 8, 1985. They had four children, David, Jonathan, Elizabeth, and Mary.

Barbara loved being a full-time mother. In addition to being active in the ministry of the church, she loved knitting, sewing, playing the piano, cooking, gardening, and painting. When the children got older, Barbara returned to dentistry and worked as a hygienist at 6th Ave Dental in Tacoma for 11 years. During her last years, while enduring the ravages of ALS, she graciously kept her eyes on the Lord and was an inspiration to many.

Barbara is survived by her husband, Michael Gray Simpson, children David and his wife Katelyn Simpson of Cincinnati, Ohio, Jonathan Simpson, Elizabeth and her husband Logan Green, and Mary and her husband Scott Ligman all of Tacoma. She is survived by three siblings, Marion and her husband Duke Vermazen of Reno, Nevada, Elizabeth and her husband Steven Thompson of Memphis, Tennessee, and Charles and his wife Annie Robinson of Seneca, South Carolina as well as cousins, nieces, and nephews.

The Simpson family plans a viewing on Monday December 5th, 6-8 pm at Haven of Rest Funeral Home in Gig Harbor. All are invited. The burial is planned for Tuesday December 6th at Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent. If you plan to attend please be there at noon sharp. The burial will be at 12:30 pm sharp. A Memorial Service is planned for 4 pm at Faith Presbyterian Church also on Tuesday December 6 th followed by a reception in DeSoto Hall. All are invited to the burial, memorial service, and reception.

We are so thankful to our Lord and loving church family during this time. It was such a comfort to have your love and support throughout the years and it brings us peace knowing that Barbara is in Heaven with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

Barbara in Reno, Oct 16 2009
Barbara’s wedding picture – June 8, 1985
Barbara probably about age 8 in the summer of 1962

Mulligan on the AT raising money for Evergreen ALS

My brother is hiking the Appalachian trail. He has already completed over 1,600 miles and has a bit more than 500 to go. His trail name is Mulligan.  He has a wonderful YouTube channel where he has documented his hike. I have been thoroughly enjoying hiking vicariously with him.

The easiest way to find his videos is to search for Mulligan on the AT or if you follow this link you will go to his day 109 video. From there you can find his other videos too.

In 2016 our sister Barbara was diagnosed with ALS. My brother is raising money to support the ALS Evergreen Chapter ( Barb’s Brother ). Use the link on the top right of his home page ( ALS Evergreen Chapter Donation ) or the link in bottom right hand corner of the channel cover picture to donate.


Letter Writing

Since my Dad died we have received many condolence letters and cards. It is hard to overstate how comforting these are.

They have inspired me to write letters. One of my favorite books is The Gift of a Letter by Alexandra Stoddard. I like it because it inspires me. Reading it feels warm and comfortable like sitting by the fire wrapped in a blanket.

2014-12-04 09.04.55

Letters may seem old fashioned but there is permanence about them. I always save letters from friends. It is a real joy to open an old letter and connect with my friend again.

Stoddard says:

“A world of difference separates a phone call from a letter. The phone is a utility–a convenience like a refrigerator or a washing machine, A letter is a gift. It can turn a private moment into an exalted experience.”

She suggests:

“Sit by a crackling fire and read some of your favorite letters. While sitting there soaking up all the love and support, think of one person you love and write a beautiful, loving letter to that person. Let the flame in the hearth warm your heart. One letter in a lifetime to a mother, a daughter or a special friend could make a greater difference than you dare believe.”

I have not always been good about letter writing. Even thank you notes sometimes don’t get written. But like so many things I can always start again and decide to be a letter writer.

Stoddard suggests that one write with a fountain pen and collect pretty stamps to use. This I have done. I put a Harry Potter stamp on a grandchild’s letter or a Judy Garland stamp on a letter to my daughter. It is is a joy to sit down and think about the person I am writing to. My letter becomes a conversation with that person.

I use old postcards and notes from friends as bookmarks. Recently I reread a friend’s note that I found in one of my books. It made me smile and remember how much I like and admire her. We haven’t talked in a while. I think I will go write her a letter.

My Dad – Donald Wayne Robinson June 26, 1927 – September 9, 2014

My Dad, Don Robinson died Tuesday September 9, 2014. He was 87 years old.

He moved to Reno in 2008 after my Mom died. He and I went out to Starbucks almost every day for coffee. He leaves a big hole in all of our lives. I'm sharing his obituary with you here.


Donald Wayne Robinson, 87, died Tuesday, September 9, 2014, in Reno, Nevada.

Born June 26, 1927, in Minot, North Dakota, the son of Ruth and Ray Robinson, he moved to Reno seven and a half years ago from Escondido, California where he and his wife Margaret had lived for twenty years.

He grew up in Bismarck, North Dakota. He joined the Navy in the spring of 1945 prior to graduating from high school. His parents accepted his diploma for him.

Don graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Civil Engineering in 1950. On September 24, 1950 he was united in marriage with Margaret Helen Gibson. They were married for 57 years until her passing in 2007.

He worked for Standard Oil which later became Amoco, for thirty-three years. He helped design and construct the Standard Oil refinery in Mandan, North Dakota. In March of 1964 he and Margaret with their four children moved to Brisbane, Australia where he was a Project Engineer for the construction of the Amoco refinery on Bulwer Island. In 1969, the family moved to London, England and then to Milford Haven, Wales where he was project manager for the construction of the Amoco refinery there. In 1974, he and Margaret moved to Fungerumi, Zaire, Africa where he managed the construction of a copper cobalt mine for Amoco. A year later, when that project was cancelled, he accepted a position in Chicago as Manager in Synthetic Fuels Development with Amoco, and the  family moved to Wheaton, Illinois. He was elected Vice Chairman of the Council on Synthetic Fuels and appointed to the National Coal Council by the Secretary of Energy. He retired from Amoco in 1986 subsequently he and Margaret retired to Escondido, California.

 He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1956. It is a tribute to his strength that for more than 58 years he never let the challenges of living with diabetes define his life or limit his activities. He climbed the Grand Teton, enjoyed an annual fishing trip with friends at Lake of the Woods, traveled the world, moved more than twenty times and loved, provided for and supported his family. Donald was a faithful Christian all his life. He lived his faith.

Mr Robinson was preceded in death by his wife Margaret Helen Gibson Robinson and his granddaughter Jennifer Margaret Gail Thompson. He is survived by his four children and their spouses; Marion and Duke Vermazen of Reno, Nevada, Barbara and Michael Simpson of University Place, Washington, Elizabeth and Steven Thompson of Memphis, Tennessee, and Charles and Annie Robinson of Mendon, Massachusetts; sister, Dorothy Jensen of Centerville, Minnesota; nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

 Funeral and burial occurred Sept, 22 in San Diego and Escondido, California

The family suggests memorials to The American Diabetes Association, The Glaucoma Research Foundation or The Salvation Army.


If you would like to read about my Mom her eulogy is here

I miss both of them a lot. I was so lucky to have them for parents. They always believed in me. I can honestly say that I am who I am today because of them.

Red Coat Picture


My Nephew’s Wedding – and Exploring the Cincinnati Area

Earlier this month my nephew, David got married in Ludlow, Kentucky which is just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. I love weddings and seeing all the family and friends. This wedding was no exception. It was such a happy time.


Katelyn's Dad is the pastor at Trinity Presbyterian Church of Northern Kentucky. The church was built in 1896. It has been a Catholic Church and a Baptist church and now the congregation is restoring it. One of their first tasks was to remove the dropped ceiling to reveal the soaring roof and stained glass windows. The acoustics in the church blew me away. The hymns and other music added to what was already a beautiful and joyous wedding.


The other fun thing about an excuse to travel like a wedding is that we get to explore new places. Duke and I flew into Cincinnati Thursday before the wedding. We picked up Allison Thursday night. On Friday we drove to Frankfurt Kentucky to see the capital of Kentucky. We took the capitol tour. What a beautiful building. It may be the most beautiful interior of any state capitol I have visited.



We were on the tour with a group of grade school children. Did they ever know their state history. When the guide asked them who the first Governor of Kentucky was, they knew (Isaac Shelby). When asked who what the state motto is they all said in unison "United we stand, divided we falll".

Friday night was the rehearsal dinner, the wedding was Saturday afternoon. Saturday night we went to the Blue Whisp Jazz Club in downtown Cincinnati. We had a great dinner and heard the Dick Sisto Quartet playing the music of John Coltrane. The vibraphone was right in front of where we were sitting. Dick Sisto wielded four mallets over the vibraphone and we sat and listened and I was mesmerized.


Sunday we went to the Union terminal in Cincinnati. It was completed in 1933 to replace the 7 train stations of the 7 different railroad companies that served Cincinnati. The building is an enormous half dome. Apparently one of the biggest in the world.



It has been converted into a museum center with 6 different museums. We toured the history museum which was great. But for me the highlight was the free tour of the train station itself. The mosaics above the central concourse are big, bright and beautiful. When we first walked in all I could do was stand there with my mouth open and say wow! I loved them. We got to go up in the old control tower and look out over the railway yard.



 Sunday night we had a fabulous dinner at an Italian restaurant called Via Vite also in downtown Cincinnati

Monday we all flew home. We took Allison to Dayton for a 6am flight and then we flew out of Cincinnati at 2pm. It poured rain the whole drive to Dayton and back. It doesn't rain like that in Reno!


Now we are back in Reno for the big push to the end of Tax season. If you or anyone you know needs their taxes done I'd be happy to do them for you. Here is a link to my office with profile on the H&R Block website.