Dorothy Simpson was graceful in her appreciation and thanks for the celebration of her life, faith and inspiration. Raising six children with her late husband Calvin was her source of pride. (Photo by HB Meeks/Tell Us Detroit)

   

 
 

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Donnie Simpson, famous Detroit and Washington DC radio personality who took to the airways on WJLB-AM at the tender age of sixteen and was affectionately tagged the "Love Bug” paid tribute to his mother with memorable stories of growing up, he smiled and wiped away a tear of pride as he went down memory lane. (Photo by HB Meeks/Tell Us Detroit)

  A Remarkable Detroit Businesswoman is Honored

By Karen Hudson Samuels
Tell Us Detroit

DETROIT (Tell Us Det) - Dorothy R. Simpson challenged the assumptions of her times when she decided to start a business fifty years ago while simultaneously raising a family and serving as a devoted member of the Greater Burnette Baptist Church.

Friends and family came to Detroit from around the country over the weekend to honor Dorothy Simpson who realized her dream of entrepreneurship with Simpson’s Records Shop, at 2961 East McNichols Road, which has been a community haven for more than 50 years.

Simpson Records specialized in gospel music but the business was more than about selling vinyl, it was a place where adults listened to music and conversed as well as a candy store for children. The candy counter drew the kids to the store, the music lured the adults.

The tributes honoring Dorothy Simpson were delivered with music, praise and stories of her life lessons within the sanctuary of Greater Burnette Baptist where she has served for sixty-three years.

On hand for the celebration were her children and grandchildren who shared stories of love and life lessons.

Her son, Donnie Simpson, a famed DJ who took to the airways on WJLB at the tender age of sixteen and was nicknamed “Donnie the Love Bug” paid tribute to his mother with memorable stories of growing up, he smiled and wiped away a tear of pride as he rose to speak.

Growing up Donnie talked about his big brother Calvin who he said had Hollywood good looks, “If I had a girlfriend I wouldn’t want to bring them home!” But he was a great brother who took them fishing two or three times a week. “He was like a second father.”

My big sister Deloris said Donnie was like the “the First Boss” and because her siblings were all boys, she had her own room while they shared a space that was like an “Army barracks” but he said “We made it!” Donnie spoke of how the life of second oldest brother, Harry captured the essence of his mother’s character.

A Vietnam vet Harry became addicted to heroin, but for his mother Donnie said “That was her baby and she never lost faith” even after he would disappear for years at a time. Harry eventually won over his addiction, earned college degree, started a drug clinic and was invited to White House by President Clinton. It was Donnie said because his mother’s lesson of never giving up, “She never gave up on him.”

A parent’s loss of a child was the second story Donnie shared about Harry that personified Dorothy Simpson’s ability to reveal life lessons at even the most difficult times.

In the hospital with Harry till the very end, Donnie said the family had left his brother alone for few minutes when his mother said “I think he’s gone” and he was. “My God I was here for his birth. I was here for his death, what a blessing.” His mother Donnie said was able to find life lessons in any circumstance. She taught him and his siblings to “Believe in you, and never say what you cannot do, until you have tried.”

Dorothy Simpson was graceful in her appreciation and thanks for the celebration of her life, faith and inspiration. Raising six children with her late husband Calvin was her source of pride.

Several of her children followed in her musical footsteps: Donnie achieved fame as the host of the national acclaimed Video Soul on BET and earned numerous awards over 45 career in broadcasting; Calvin Jr., owned Bad Records, a local chain of wholesale music stores. And during his life Harry was a local DJ.


 

 

 

 

 

   
   

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