Mary Simpson--Maryphyl

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azbackpackr
Posts: 8125
Joined: Jan 21 2006 6:46 am
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Mary Simpson--Maryphyl

Post by azbackpackr » Sep 27 2013 6:05 pm

Very sad news:
HAZ member Mary Simpson "maryphyl" lost her life in Grand Canyon this week, at mile 209, in a boating accident. She was a long-time Grand Canyon backpacker and river runner. I will copy and paste some of the comments I've seen around the web:

From Grand Canyon Private Boaters Assn:
GCPBA RiverNews 09.27.13 - Our Friend "Mary Phyl" Simpson
It is with great sadness we report the passing of our friend, river runner and hiker Mary Simpson of Flagstaff, Arizona in a place she loved and with the people she loved, her family - at Granite Park, Mile 209 in a boating accident. Our hearts go to her family and her husband Robert - high school sweethearts.
The National Park Service will make a formal announcement shortly.
For GCPBA: Richard Martin

From her daughter:
To any who haven't yet heard, my mama, Mary Phyl, is gone. She was in the canyon with my father and brother. They flipped the boat. She died of hypothermia before they could get her out. She had emphysema, with the lack of oxygen she didn't have the strength to pull herself out and her body couldn't keep itself warm. She knew it was a risk. She wanted to go anyway. She was in her very favorite place in the world in the arms of the man who has loved her since she was a girl of 13. There is a hole in my heart the size of the Grand Canyon.

From the Park Service:
Grand Canyon, Ariz. – On Wednesday, September 25 at approximately 1:00 p.m., the Grand Canyon Regional Communications Center received a call with a report of a deceased 67 year old female on the Colorado River within Grand Canyon National Park at River Mile 209.

An investigation into the incident is being conducted by the National Park Service in coordination with the Mohave County Medical Examiner and an autopsy is being performed to determine the cause of death. Pending family notifications the identity of the victim is being withheld, once notifications are made the deceased's identity will be released. No further information is available at this time.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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cactuscat
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Re: Mary Simpson--Maryphyl

Post by cactuscat » Sep 27 2013 6:39 pm

Wow - so sad. I got the Park Service email and hoped, as I always do, that it wasn't someone I knew or someone from HAZ ...
Deepest sympathy to her family and friends!
Where is the "dislike" button?

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desertgirl
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Re: Mary Simpson--Maryphyl

Post by desertgirl » Sep 27 2013 7:34 pm

So sad indeed. I am shocked.
Heartfelt sympathies to family & friends. I will miss her

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Hippy
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Re: Mary Simpson--Maryphyl

Post by Hippy » Sep 27 2013 9:34 pm

As sad as it is, she went into the next world doing what she loved in a place she loved with people she loved. My deepest sympathies to her family as well and I hope that our dear Maryphyl is enjoying the grandest of canyons in the sky right now. :budrose:

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suzaz
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Re: Mary Simpson--Maryphyl

Post by suzaz » Sep 28 2013 6:48 am

So so sad. MaryPhyl will be missed by many. She was such an expert with so much information. I am thankful to have known her and had her "on watch" for me during an adventure in her neck of the woods. She and her husband/boyfriend (as she called him) were so very welcoming, friendly and passionate about the outdoors. Keeping them in my thoughts.

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te_wa
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Re: Mary Simpson--Maryphyl

Post by te_wa » Sep 28 2013 7:38 am

back to the stars, young lady. an inspiration to many, she was.
:D

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PaleoRob
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Re: Mary Simpson--Maryphyl

Post by PaleoRob » Sep 28 2013 9:27 am

Very sad to hear this. She was an amazing woman. I know that she would rather pass on in the Canyon with family than anywhere else, however. Rest in Peace.
"The only thing we did was wrong was staying in the wilderness to long...the only thing we did was right was the day we started to fight..."
-Old Spiritual
My book, The Marauders on Lulu and Amazon

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big_load
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Re: Mary Simpson--Maryphyl

Post by big_load » Sep 30 2013 1:43 pm

Very sad. Just a couple weeks ago, I was talking about MaryPhyl with some Colorado hiking buddies who knew her well. :(

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Trishness
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Re: Mary Simpson--Maryphyl

Post by Trishness » Sep 30 2013 5:23 pm

She will be missed by many.
Trish-Kabob

"May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds" Ed Abbey

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azbackpackr
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Re: Mary Simpson--Maryphyl

Post by azbackpackr » Sep 30 2013 8:09 pm

This is from Mary's daughter, Janet, courtesy of Tom Martin:
I hope that this post will show on my dad's wall and my mom's as well as my own. I want to update folks on how my dad is doing. I think that most of our near and dear know that my mom died of hypothermia when their boat flipped in the Grand Canyon on the next to last day of their trip. Her emphysema had been problematic but not disabling when they had planned this trip last May. By August she had suffered a very significant decline in function. There was no doubt that she was taking a real risk by going, but she had planned and she had packed and she would not be dissuaded from going on what she knew would be her last river trip. My brother was their rower on the trip. They had anticipated that when they got off the mountain and onto the river that the lower elevation would give my mother more energy as it always had before but this time she wasn't able to do any of the day hikes.

When the boat flipped, all three of them grabbed ropes on the boat but my mom did not have the strength to pull herself up. My father was trying to help her but after about fifteen minutes in the water her eyes rolled up and she let go. My father grabbed her and as they both had life vests he was able to keep her head out of the water but he could not get them to shore. She was gone but he could not let her go. Kenny got to shore and frantically tried to get downstream where he hoped my father was still alive. He knew my mom was gone. Where the shore line cut in he did not go around but jumped into the current, trying to catch the eddies to get to the other side, which is insanely dangerous. A boat from another trip picked him up and took him downstream where he found my father and mother, finally ashore. His quote was "I have never been so relieved in my life to see that gray head." I came so profoundly close to losing them all that I cannot help but be extremely grateful to have Kenny and my dad.

So to my dad. The first few days were really rough, but we are so lucky that we all live here in Flagstaff; three kids, six grandkids, all here. We have pulled in tight. We have put silly numbers of people around my dad's kitchen table the last few nights. We did most of our heavy crying on Friday. Yesterday was easier; today my dad and I got out of the house and did the two mile loop of urban trail right above his house. It was just beautiful. Then we took KC and Celeste to Thorpe Park and let them run while we had Macy's coffee. Dad has Kenny and Tiffany, Dominic, KC, Celeste and Grandma in the house. When he needs time for himself, he has a big quiet room, but the house itself is full of life. KC and Celeste are so good, so sweet. It is hard to hold onto pain when they are demanding that life go on.

My mom and dad would have had their fiftieth wedding anniversary October 5th. He has been part of a couple for more than fifty years. He will be finding life anew over the next few years and I think he will come to enjoy the challenge over time. We are working out plans for the service for my mama and will keep you posted.

We are so very grateful for the love and support. It has meant a great, great deal. We are getting our feet underneath ourselves and coming up for air. Thanks for the love, all of you.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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mikehikes
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Re: Mary Simpson--Maryphyl

Post by mikehikes » Oct 18 2013 8:47 am

MaryPhyl's obituary can be found in the Arizona Daily Sun:

http://azdailysun.com/news/local/obitua ... f887a.html

The memorial will begin at eleven am at the Bright Angel Trail Worship Site.

For those unfamiliar with the worship site at the head of the Bright Angel trailhead.... It is on the West Rim Drive just a couple hundred feet west of the village shuttle stop. It is opposite the intersection with Rowe Well Road and overlooks the Canyon. The West Rim Road is still closed to private vehicle traffic but a volunteer will be at the gate to allow in the vehicles of persons attending the service access. Since the road is 'closed', there is plenty of parking.

Mike Coltrin
Tucson

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azbackpackr
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Re: Mary Simpson--Maryphyl

Post by azbackpackr » Oct 18 2013 7:37 pm

I sure wish I had met her when I had the chance.
If you haven't read the obit, take a look. The memorial that Mike is referring to is on the 27th.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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Jozgrdn
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Re: Mary Simpson--Maryphyl

Post by Jozgrdn » Jan 29 2014 6:11 pm

I met this lovely inspiring woman on the Grandview Trail five years ago. Long story, but I hadn't been in the Canyon in years because of my health (I was a regular bpacker there for 25 years prior). I had come with my 9 year old son to hike to Hance Creek, which had taken a lot of courage and bravado to pull off. Or so I thought, until I met her. She so inspired me that I have returned to the GC to backpack every year since...I ran into her one more time on the Grandview after that. So sad to hear of her passing...To the light Mary Simpson! May I be so lucky to continue to feel your presence in the Canyon where I am sure your spirit will soar forever more.

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