SCI Mourns the Loss of Past President Michael Simpson

To the SCI Executive Committee and Board of Directors: 

SCI Past President Forrest Michael Simpson, the first winner of the C.J. McElroy Award, passed away Jan. 26. He was 76. 

Simpson was an international hunter and owner of one of the largest taxidermy businesses in the U.S. He was a stalwart supporter of SCI since the early days and was a storehouse of knowledge of Record Book animals the world over. In 1995, he was the first recipient of the then-new McElroy Award and a few years later received the prestigious Weatherby Hunting and Conservation Award in 2003. 

“Having actually hunted the animals helps us create a better mount,” Simpson had written on the Conroe Taxidermy website. He created the company in 1972 when he was the only employee. It now has 50 employees and is run by his sons Michael, Travis and Barret in Conroe, Texas, about 30 miles north of Houston. Simpson retired several years ago.

“My dad pioneered the bridge between the taxidermist, outfitter and hunter,” said Barret Simpson. “That relationship drove the business, but it wasn’t just about the taxidermy. It was truly because he loved the outfitters he worked with, and he loved bringing people into that community and the world of hunting. That was extremely important to him.” 

Simpson was a top leader of SCI for years. He was SCI President from 2005-06, Director-At-Large for several years and served on the Record Book Committee for more than 15 years. It’s likely that he measured more record animals than any other member. He was a Master Measurer since 1977, the year the title was first established. 

“Mike Simpson was a wonderful man who presided over SCI during a period of change that helped transition Safari Club to SCI First for Hunters,” said current SCI President Sven K. Lindquist. “He was a visionary leader, a friend, and he will be missed.”

In addition to the McElroy and Weatherby awards, he attained the SCI World Hunting, SCI President’s, SCI Hall of Fame and the Jim Conklin awards. Simpson was a Life member of SCI and a supporter of many other conservation groups and projects, such as NRA, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Texas Operation Game Thief, Exotic Wildlife Association and National Taxidermy Association, among others.

Simpson described Safari Club International as a “fraternity of ethical hunters dedicated to protecting hunting, promoting wildlife conservation and educating the public.”

“This organization is the leader,” Simpson told the Houston Chronicle in 2002. “NRA protects rights to bear arms. SCI protects freedom to hunt and hunting rights.”

Simpson’s son Barret said no one was ever able to say anything bad about his dad. 

“He loved his family, his children and his wife Becky. He was a moral guy, such a gem,” said Barret. 

On behalf of myself and the whole SCI organization, I extend my deepest condolences to the Simpson family as we remember Mike’s legacy.  

SCI/F CEO W. Laird Hamberlin
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