In the last few years, my road-trip posts have increasingly relied on original research done by Richard M. Simpson, which he shared on his terrific Indiana Transportation History blog.

We lost Richard on Friday. I don’t know any details, but given that he posted in his blog and in the companion Indiana Transportation History Facebook group on Friday, I am guessing that his death was unexpected.

Richard’s wife contacted me to ask if I’d continue the Facebook group as admin, and take ownership of the blog to maintain and possibly continue it. I said yes, of course.

Richard devoted an enormous amount of his time and energy to the blog and group. I’m not sure I can do the same, but I can certainly make sure the vast amount of original research he did is maintained for others to find and enjoy.

Richard and I had agreed to do a road trip together, to explore Indiana’s State Road 67 from Indianapolis to its southern terminus at Vincennes. This road has a ton of great old alignments and we looked forward to exploring them all. We thought we’d do it as soon as the pandemic passed. I’m sad that we won’t get to make that trip together now.

Remembering Richard M. Simpson


24 thoughts on “Remembering Richard M. Simpson

  1. Andy Umbo says:

    Sorry to hear this, and good luck with the site, I always love the roads/buildings part of your blog, as well as the cameras, so it’s sorry to hear a vital component has passed on!

    Even before the pandemic, there seemed to be a surge of people passing away between 55 and 65 years old. So many I knew from the advertising biz, we felt it was probably due to the stress of the industry; but on further research, it just seems to be a sad trend overall (and the insurance people are mystified). It could very well be from overall stress with all the people losing jobs after 55 (again before the pandemic). I have a reporter pal that calls me on Sundays with a figure on how many obits in the paper are “sub-65”, and it’s a lot compared to past years

    Well, all we can do is celebrate through remembrance…

    • I don’t know how old Richard was, but I’m guessing roughly my age, and I’m 53. I haven’t been paying attention but I wouldn’t be surprised to find that you’re right, that people in this age bracket are dying of non-COVID causes at a higher rate than normal right now.

  2. P. Daffron says:

    Condolences for Mr. Simpson’s family… and for you, Jim. We connect with people here on the internet and at times, one or two become our “friends”… for lack of a more proper term. Their passing becomes a loss to us. I commend you for taking up yet another responsibility and wish you well with it. Be safe.

    Remind Margaret not to forget about the cook book!! LOL

    • Yes, it’s true – I have made many Internet friends who might never met in real life. It’s not often that one of them dies, but it does happen, and the grief is real.

    • I’ll at least be able to preserve the work he’s done so far. Maybe at some point down the line I’ll be able to pick up the level of research he did, but that’s not in the cards in the short term.

    • Of course. Just copy the URL at the tab of the browser and paste it into Facebook. You never need to ask permission to share a blog post on Facebook – that’s the whole point of the weather, is to share things!

  3. I’m very sorry to hear about Richard. I’ve been following his history of Indiana’s nascent road system, and I knew you too had collaborated together on several articles. You have been passed the torch now, my friend.

    • I’ll absolutely preserve the work Richard did, as it deserves to live on. Whether I’ll be able to continue his work remains to be seen. Here’s hoping.

    • Outstanding, thank you for sharing it. Now I know that Richard and I are the same age, born a couple months apart. This is far too young to die.

      • Shirley B. says:

        This indeed is far to young to die. I am so sorry for your loss, I enjoy to read the posts you write about the roads in Indiana. As for you taking over as admin: I know that you will try and honor his efforts to the best of your abilities.

        • Oh thank you. I feel like the road posts are the nerdiest thing I write here, and have the narrowest audience, so I’m grateful to hear that you enjoy them.

  4. Shirley B. says:

    For me it’s a way to travel. To places I wouldn’t get to visit any time soon, as well as through time. I find it fascinating to see how roads change over time. So, as far as I’m concerned: keep it up!

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  6. Darts and Letters says:

    I’m sorry to hear about the passage of your acquaintance, Jim. My condolences to his family and friends. That’s really thoughtful of you to take over the Indiana Transportation History group. If you’re not able to do it for the very long term, at least it’s in good hands with a conscientious steward for the interim.

    • Thank you kindly. The FB group will have to become a group effort among all the members. The blog … well, that will probably just become an archive, but I’ll be happy to maintain it. Richard did a lot of great original research that deserves to live.

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