Ida Emily Simpson
By Christine Baldwin
Ida Emily Simpson was born in 1922 in Donaldsonville, LA. A child during the Depression, she took every opportunity to learn and ended up Valedictorian in her High School graduation. She then attended and graduated from Louisiana State Normal School with a degree in Health and Physical Education. It was at this time that Ida felt a calling to join the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps in 1944 because of the killing of the Jewish people in Europe. She did her Basic Training at Fort Oglethorpe, GA and had her advanced training at Camp Shanks, NY. Her first assignment was aboard an Army Transport bound for Liverpool, England, as a switchboard operator. She stayed onboard through Normandy, Paris and Deville. When the war ended in 1945, General Charles De Gaulle honored all the women who served there with a big parade. After the war, Ida could have come home for discharge, but decided to stay in the Army in Europe as a cadre person. After reenlisting, she volunteered with the Berlin Airlift. Later she transferred to Fort Dix, NJ and Fort Monroe, VA working as staff on their newspapers. Ida was even assigned as (Acting) Public Affairs Officer. Her next assignment was in Munich Germany where she conducted tours for American tourists. Ida earned many lauds throughout her career, including the Army Commendation with bronze star, the European African Middle East ribbon with battle star and the WWII Victory Medal. Ida returned to Fort Monroe and retired there in 1964 as a Sergeant First Class.
After retiring, Ida lived in New Orleans for 20 years, where she became an avid golfer, before moving to Florida to be near friends and relatives. She created the Ida Emily Simpson First Generation Endowed Scholarship in Journalism for Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, LA. Ida came to AFRH-W in 2002, where she enjoyed playing golf for many years. In fact, many of the male residents wanted to join her group because of their winning records. Ida has also been an active poetess, writing and reciting her works at various poetry readings.