Cover photo for Rosalie Van Zandt Simson's Obituary
Rosalie Van Zandt Simson Profile Photo

Rosalie Van Zandt Simson

March 24, 1925 — April 29, 2024


Rosalie Van Zandt Simson

Rosalie Van Zandt Simson (Posie), a long-time resident of Mariner Sands in Stuart, FL passed away peacefully on April 29th with her family by her side.

Born in Plainfield, NJ, Rosalie was the third daughter of E. Warner and Caroline Van Zandt’s four children. Posie grew up in Port Washington, NY and was active in competitive sailing on Long Island Sound. After graduating from the Northfield Mt. Herman School in Gill, MA, she attended Wheelock College in Boston, earning a bachelor’s degree focused on elementary education. It was during her senior year at Wheelock that she met the love of her life, Humphrey Simson, on a blind date.

After college, the newlywed began her life as an elementary school teacher in CT, but when she began her family, Posie chose to stay home and care for her four children. She participated in a number of organizations working on children’s activities such as blazing walking trails for the newly formed Westport Nature Centre (now known as Earthplace). In addition, she was active in the County Assembly, Inc., a nonprofit organization involved with teenagers, eventually becoming Chair.

Over the course of her life, Posie traveled extensively with her husband on trips to Scandinavia and further north to the Arctic Circle, as far south as Antarctica, and even through the Panama Canal. They saw parts of Europe, North and South America, and Tahiti from a sailboat, and the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia via powerboat. Bermuda and Maine were her favorite destinations. She was an active and excellent bridge player, continuing to play into her nineties. In her sixties, she took up golf, initially playing in nine-hole tournaments, but quickly improved enough to play eighteen holes competitively. Working in her community’s library and participating in charity events were also favorite pastimes. Recently, her common sense and organization enabled her to skillfully manage her husband’s healthcare needs in his later years.

There were never any strangers in her life as she was willing to talk to anyone and eagerly become fast friends, whether they were other parents at a child’s or grandchild’s sporting event, fellow sailors at a Cruising Club of America sailing rendezvous, or just members in her community. At Mariner Sands, she was the unofficial welcoming committee for many years and often approached new members to invite them to dinner, golf, or cocktails and introduce them to other members and friends.

Posie’s great joy in life was her family. She nurtured her children growing up and continued that affection until her passing. She also took great joy in caring for her grandchildren who would often visit even as they became adults. The extended family, especially her nieces and nephews, were also blessed with her devotion and affection. She was married to Humphrey for almost 70 years until his passing. Her support was invaluable as they took on both business and recreational responsibilities together. She always accompanied or rendezvoused with her husband on their myriad sailing adventures. Her organizational and provisioning skills were essential given they were often in remote locations. Through the years they belonged to several sailing clubs including the New York Yacht Club, the Cruising Club of America, and the Pequot Yacht Club, and consequently traveled frequently to many beautiful places, thus allowing Posie to continue her love of sailing which began almost a century ago.

Rosalie is survived by her four children, Dr. Deborah Nicholson and her husband, James, G. Barrett Simson and his wife, Rose, Ann Watkins and her husband, John, and Nancy Simson and her wife, Natalie. In addition to her four children, she is survived by seven grandchildren, Michael (Molly), Brian
(Stephanie), Elizabeth (Ryan), Heather (Zak), John (Pamela), Tom (Jennifer), and David. She is also survived by six great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her husband, Humphrey, two sisters, Mary Louise and Carol, brother, Warner, niece, Pamela and granddaughter, Megan. Rosalie will be dearly missed.

A celebration of life will be held at the Mariner Sands Chapel on Saturday, May 11th at 10:30 AM.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the House of Hope or Treasure Coast Hospice both in Stuart, FL.


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