Police officers, elected officials and civic leaders were among those who turned out last Friday morning for a ceremony to rename the 2900 block of Holme Ave. as Timothy Simpson Way.
Simpson, who worked in the 24th Police District, died in 2008 when his police car was hit at Aramingo and Allegheny avenues by a speeding suspect’s vehicle as the officer responded to an unrelated robbery. The suspect, who had a long criminal history, pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and was sentenced to 19 to 40 years in prison.
The Holme Avenue site was chosen because Simpson lived on nearby Gelena Road. He and his wife, Kathy, had three children: Samantha, Terry and Courtney. The Simpsons were in attendance.
“God bless the Simpson family,” said John McNesby, president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5.
The family is thankful the city has not forgotten Sgt. Simpson’s service. He would have been 57 on the day of the ceremony. The Simpsons received street signs like the one that is on a pole on Holme Avenue.
“This was great. It was a nice tribute. It’s right down the street from where I live,” Kathy Simpson said.
City Councilman Bobby Henon sponsored the resolution that led to the street renaming. He said police officers have a dangerous job and leave for work knowing there’s a chance they will not return home when their shift is over.
“For those who don’t return home, we never forget and always remember,” he said.
Councilman Al Taubenberger left his senior citizen health and resource expo to attend the ceremony.
“This was a great tribute to a great neighbor and friend. It was a wonderful way to memorialize his life,” he said.
Michele Kennelly worked with Simpson in the 24th district.
“Timmy was aggressive, but kind hearted,” she recalled. “He took the job seriously and strived to be the best he could be. We don’t forget him.”
State Sen. John Sabatina Jr. wanted to be at the ceremony to honor an officer who made the ultimate sacrifice serving and protecting the people of Philadelphia.
“Philadelphia police officers face so many dangers each day. The fact that Sgt. Simpson was heading to a call while a suspect from an unrelated case collided with his patrol car just illustrates that,” he said.
Elsie Stevens, whose husband Bob was a police officer in the 24th district, spoke on behalf of the Holme Circle Civic Association. Civic association vice president Linda Colwell-Smith joined her.
Stevens spoke of Simpson’s 20-year career and the respect the people of Port Richmond had for him.
“May all who pass along this corridor and view his name remember with reverence and appreciation of his legacy,” she said. “Holme Circle is proud of its son. God bless Sgt. Simpson and his family, and happy birthday in heaven, Tim.” ••