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Kerry Shawn Simpson

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[July 06, 2020]  LINCOLN - Kerry Shawn Simpson passed away on Thursday, June 25, 2020 at the age of 72.

Funeral home: Fricke-Calvert-Schrader, Lincoln   


Kerry Shawn Simpson passed away on Thursday, June 25, 2020 at the age of 72. Born on September 15, 1947, in Lincoln, to Harold and Jacqueline (Moriearty) Simpson, Shawn grew up in the bosom of an enormous extended family in a town in which there was, according to his father, “a Moriearty on every street corner.” He was indeed fortunate to have spent his formative years in Lincoln surrounded by a loving, supportive network of individuals who nurtured his varied interests and innate intellectual curiosity.

After serving his country in the U.S. Army, Shawn became a trusted and highly capable production specialist who worked for major glass manufacturers in the United States and Canada, including Obear-Nester, Dominion, Anchor-Hocking, Kerr, and Ball-Incon. While bottle making paid the bills, drag racing was THE reason Shawn got out of bed in the morning. Though the use of “six pack technology” applied in various backyard garages throughout Illinois, he transformed the rusted frame of a 1933 Ford Coupe into a dragster that earned high praise at nostalgia races across the country and was featured in several national publications. Driven by friend David Shaffer, the 334 Coupe was a copper-colored, blue-flamed demon that ran a 7.70 ¼ mile at 172 m.p.h. Those who knew Shawn well know his happiest moments were spent bathed in burnout smoke on a hot drag strip as the concussive roaring of nitro engines thumped in his chest.

NCAA basketball came in a close second to drag racing in Shawn’s hierarchy of interests. Once a formidable player in his own right, it should be noted he possessed a fade-away jump shot that was nearly undefendable given the height of its release point and the insane amount of follow-through and spin he put on the ball.

Shawn’s circle was small but tight and included friendships remarkable for their loyalty, affection, and longevity. Cousin Scott Moriearty was his earliest companion and remained a beloved brother figure throughout his life. Phil Martin, Mike Edwards, Jerome Vlahovich, and the late Jake Moore and Jim Poole comprised the core group of men with whom he was fortunate to have shared a lifetime of interests and experiences.

Shawn is survived by his mother Jacqueline, sister Gay (David) Boward, former wife Cheryl Miles, all of Lincoln, daughter Shelley (Geoff) Cooker of Shabbona, son Stephen Simpson of Normal, and son Christian (Julie) Culleton of Lake Barrington, as well as granddaughter Lucile Johnson of Preston, Iowa, grandson Riley Johnson of Lee, and grandsons Ian and Rory Culleton of Lake Barrington. Shawn enjoyed a friendship with his former son-in-law Mark Johnson as well. He was preceded in death by his father Harold, grandsons Reid and Nolan Johnson, and many more beloved family members.

In keeping with the way he lived his life and in accordance with his wishes, there will be no services.

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