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Mary Shirley (Dickens) Simpson
May 9, 1932 ~ October 29, 2023 (age 91) 91 Years Old
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Mary Shirley Dickens Simpson was born on May 9, 1932, to the union of the late George A. Dickens and Mary F. Dickens in New York City, New York. Mary moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana with her mother and son, the late Glen R. Simpson in 1971. Her formal education was in New York City, where she attended and graduated from Hunter College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology.
Mary was employed by Fort Wayne Community Schools as an Attendance Caseworker from August 1971 to June 1979. Afterwards, she became employed in the Claims Department of Aetna Insurance Company until January 1985, when she went to Physicians Health Plan in the Plan Department until her retirement on July 4, 2003.
Mary dearly loved the Lord, and was an active member of Union Baptist Church where she served on the Hospitality Committee and the Singles Group. She played the piano as a child, and this led to her love for all forms of music - she especially loved gospel and big band music. Her love for music was also expressed through her love for dancing. She would often be seen as the first to kick off the “Electric Slide” - to any song - at social events and gatherings.
Mary was an active member of the community through her membership in Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., in which she became a member of the Epsilon Chapter in May 1952 in New York City, New York. Just three years after her arrival in Fort Wayne, she was instrumental in establishing Zeta’s presence in the Summit City as one of eight members to charter the local chapter,
Eta Upsilon Zeta. Mary was the chapter’s first president, and she served in various roles at the local, state and regional level over her 71 years of membership. Mary was distinguished as a Zeta Crystal Dove, for having devoted over 50 years of service to the sorority. Mary was an inspiration for many young women, whom she referred to as her “legacies,” to join Zeta across the state of Indiana. Mary was also an active member of Cosmopolites Business and Professional Women’s Club, Greater McMillen Park Neighborhood Association and the Al Jennings Center Advisory Board.
Mary was preceded in death by her loving son, Glen. Mary leaves to mourn her passing a beloved first cousin Judith Gibson, and Goddaughter, Valerie Whittington. Children and grandchildren of her best friend Wilhelmina Ricks; Sybil Hyde (Edwards), Aaliyah Hyde, James Ricks, and Kyle Ricks. She also leaves her extended family Rev. Dr. Timothy R. Williams, Renetta, Cedric and Torrance. Her beloved Zetas and Cosmopolites and a host of devoted friends.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Fort Wayne Finer Women Society, Inc. for scholarships.