Interview by Abernathy Cochran intern Grace Brown
Meet John Simpson! John has lived in Hall County all his life and graduated from Gainesville High School in 1996. He has worked in the community for 16 years and started out at Gainesville Middle School, then moved to Lakeview Academy. He is currently the Assistant Head of School at Lakeview.
Just last week, John was chosen at the Gainesville Jaycee’s Young Man of the Year. The Young Woman of the Year was Jenny Floyd.
John is married to Ashley Simpson and they have eight year old daughter Mary Evan. John is a huge Atlanta sports and golf fan and has followed the Atlanta teams almost anywhere including when the Atlanta Falcons played in the Super Bowl in 2017.
On Sundays John spends his time volunteering at the Gainesville Marina Preaching year round.
“God is my center and my all and I love my Sunday mornings at the Gainesville Marina. I don’t get paid for it and I don’t want to because of how much I love it.” John says.
We want to thank John in participating in our Faces of Hall County project.
Question: What inspired you or led you to your current career?
Answer: “I love dealing with high school students and I always have. I love helping them make wise choices and guiding them in their journey of life. It is nice to help them make good choices and be there for them in hard times, also in their happy times too. When their schoolwork gets hard and stuff I want to be the person to lead them towards a better path. I just love dealing with people in general.”
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Hall County, and what do you love there?
A: “It always changes but right now I would have to say I love to go to Chipotle. I like their tacos there.”
Q: How long have you worked or lived in Hall County?
A: “My whole life in Hall county. This is my 13th year at Lakeview, I taught two years at Gainesville Middle School, I was a youth minister for five years before that at Gainesville Lanier Christian church and I still preach at Gainesville Marina and I have been doing that for seven years.”
Q: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in Hall County?
A: “We are so blessed to have incredible people in Hall County and I have been blessed to be able to meet a lot of interesting people. Gus Whalen, he is one of the most interesting people I have met, I got the chance to speak at his funeral. Mr. Abit Massey is incredible, Philip Wilheit as well, Dr. Martha Nesbit with Gainesville College, Cara Burrell with the Northeast Georgia Medical Center, Melvin Cooper has same job at Park and Rec for 40 something years. My own dad especially, we’ve been at Lanier Christian Church for so many years. My mother Faith Simpson too. All these people have guided me to the man I am, and the man I am becoming. I am so blessed.”
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?
A: “My favorite place in the United States is Charleston, South Carolina. I love Seabrook, South Carolina. I’m simple minded I love the east coast.”
Q: What is your favorite movie or what is the first movie you remember seeing in a theatre?
A: “The first movie I saw was ‘Chariots of Fire.’ The best movie I have seen is ‘The Grace Card,’ it’s a great movie about having God’s grace when we mess up in life. It wasn’t a movie that was a bestseller or a multi-million dollar movie but it was so important to me, I think it was also important because it was the first movie I saw with my daughter Mary Evan.”
Q: What advice would you give a crowd of people?
A: “The only person you can control is yourself. You have to love and no matter what happens in your life you have to continue to love because that’s what Christ does to us.”
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
A: “Well, I want to see the Falcons win the Super Bowl that is one thing on my bucket list. I want to see all four majors in golf, I just have two left to complete that; The US open and The British Open. It would be nice to also see all 50 states.”
Q: What is your favorite music/ three bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?
A: “I wish I could sit down and just have a conversation with Toby Mac. Toby Mac is incredible he is probably the only one who matters. He is the best Christian writer. Michael Jackson is awesome, too.”
Q: What current/ former local business makes you the most nostalgic about Hall County?
A: “You know, I think that it is not a business but I have to say having the Atlanta Falcons in Hall County is extremely cool. We are so blessed to have the best medical care, and medical staff right in our backyard.”
Q: Choosing anyone alive and a non-relative: with whom would you love to have lunch? Why? Where in Hall County would you have lunch?
A: “Dan Quinn the coach for the Atlanta Falcons. We would go to 2 Dog and talk about this upcoming season.”
Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about Hall County?
A: “The lake is pretty impressive, I love the lake its very unique. I don’t think people realized how big it was that the Olympics was here on our lake.”
Q: Where do you see yourself in five or 10 years?
A: “Still happily married to my wife, and to be able to have a healthy family. I pray that I can be the husband for my wife that she needs, and the best father for my daughter.”
Q: (Even for friend or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
A: “I preach every Sunday year round outside at the Gainesville Marina, a lot of people don’t know that. I love to sing, preach, and talk about God. I can’t make it without him he’s the center of my life. It’s not about me it’s all about him”
Q: What are three words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word home?
A: “Family, Friendships, Laughter.”
The Faces of Hall County is a project to showcase the amazing people that live or work in our community. If you would like to nominate an interesting person to be featured please email firstname.lastname@example.org.