Legendary Philanthropist and Businessman Bernie Simpkins Passes Away Oct. 16 at 92

By  //  October 16, 2020

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left an indelible mark on Brevard – and beyond

ABOVE VIDEO: Legendary philanthropist and businessman Bernie Simpkins passed away Friday, Oct. 16 at age 92. He has left an indelible mark on Brevard County – and beyond – and was honored in 2016 by Space Coast Daily with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Legendary philanthropist and businessman Bernie Simpkins passed away Friday, Oct. 16 at age 92.

Simpkins has left an indelible mark on Brevard County – and beyond – and was honored in 2016 by Space Coast Daily with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Simpkins was originally from Nashville, Tenn. and from an early age, his parents were a major influence in his life. His father was a no-nonsense type of person, very straightforward.

Simpkins’ father pointed him toward the importance of humanitarianism and instilled in his son honorable traits such as “do not lie, tell the truth, and be honest in everything you do.”

He also told his son, “You can play hard, but work hard. Anything you start, don’t quit until you finish.”

While away at college, Simpkins lost his mother, who was equally as important in his life as his father. This hit him very hard. While away at college, each week he would receive a letter from his mom.

They would always conclude with the same remarks, “Hold your head up high and be somebody.”

Obituary continued below>>>

Legendary philanthropist and businessman Bernie Simpkins passed away Friday, Oct. 16 at age 92. He has left an indelible mark on Brevard County – and beyond – and was honored in 2016 by Space Coast Daily with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

In Simpkins’ entrepreneurial programs at Eastern Florida State College, he usually worked this into his program. He has his students repeat after him, “Hold your head up high, and be somebody.”

Simpkins’ business dealings are legendary as he and his partner, the late Fletcher Sheriff, owned oil companies, convenience stores, a car dealership and much, much more.

Their company, S&S Enterprises, is well known worldwide.

Simpkins worked extremely hard to be successful, and in doing so, he has put himself in a position to help many people along the way. Simply put, Simpkins had a big heart.

“I enjoy assisting or helping people in need,” he said.

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Simpkins was extremely proud of The Simpkins Family Foundation, which was created with a purpose in mind, and that is to pass on to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren the understanding of charitable work.

The Simpkins Family Foundation is an organization committed to providing support for innovative programs that promote meaningful change in its communities.

The Board of Directors, which consists of family members and others, meets twice a year. At each meeting, members are encouraged to bring forward a charity that they would like to see the Foundation support.

An example of one of the numerous charities The Simpkins Family Foundation has supported is Camp Boggy Creek, whose mission is to “foster a spirit of joy by creating a free, safe and medically-sound camp environment that enriches the lives of children with serious illnesses and their families.”

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EASTERN FLORIDA STATE COLLEGE bachelor’s degree student Phylicia Herline, left, accepts a scholarship from Bernard W. Simpkins, who underwrites the Entrepreneur Speaker Series. He is making the presentation in the Bernard Simpkins Fine Arts Center on the Cocoa Campus. (EFSC image)

HAS LEFT LIFELONG IMPRESSION

As a former member of the Board of Trustees, Simpkins has a strong relationship with Eastern Florida State College.

The Bernie Simpkins Scholarship is awarded annually to an Eastern Florida State College student and offers financial aid based on a set of criteria that includes character and sincerity. This is no surprise because it is part of the philosophy Simpkins has subscribed to his entire life.

Each year on the campus of Eastern Florida State College, the Simpkins Seminars take place and is named after Simpkins, who established an endowment to create the sessions that have brought some of the nation’s top business leaders to the college.

Simpkins penned “The Harder You Work, The Luckier You Become – The Bernie Simpkins Story,” which is a fascinating read that details the life of Simpkins.

A paragraph on page 92 sums up the charitable nature of Bernie Simpkins. In part, it reads, “We realize that we have been very, very fortunate. Our life has been good, health reasonably good, and God’s given us a lot to manage, for which we are very appreciative, so we give to the religious organizations and church foundations primarily, but also the hospitals, colleges, youth foundations and others.”

Yes, Bernie Simpkins has left a life-long impression on those with whom he has come in contact.

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Bernie Simpkins, who passed away Friday at age 92, worked extremely hard to be successful, and in doing so, he has put himself in a position to help many people along the way. Simply put, Simpkins has a big heart. As he explains it, “I enjoy assisting or helping people in need.”

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