Homer, the fictional character, embodies several American working class stereotypes:  he is crude, overweight, incompetent, clumsy, lazy and ignorant; however, he is fiercely devoted to his family.
The “Real Homer Simpson” shared only that fierce family devotion with the TV character.  He was polite.  He was hard working.  He was in top physical condition, having spent most of his adult life erecting and maintaining conveyer systems for home appliances built at General Electric’s Appliance Park on Fegenbush Lane.  He had a high school education, but he could put slide rule engineers to shame, when it came time to estimate the cost of an August shutdown at GE.
He wasn’t clumsy like his namesake on TV.  Dad was like a cat when it came to climbing.  He could scoot across I-beams high in the air, with all the skill of a high wire dare devil.
Dad wasn’t lazy. He would often work around the clock for two or three days during shutdown, with no shuteye.   He was smart, unlike the ignorant Homer on TV, who works at a fictional power plant.
The real Homer Simpson loved to fish, a passion that led to his untimely death. The sun on Lake Cumberland, where he loved to bass fish, is unmerciful in mid-summer. During an August trip there, a skin cancer began to generate beneath the nail on a finger of his left hand.  Thinking the dark spot was a bruise, suffered while launching his boat, Dad ignored the spot.  After all, he had been wounded in combat during World War II and burned by sparks from welding machines and torches when he worked as a millwright.  This little spot was no big deal.
It took a few years for the melanoma to work its way up his arm, unnoticed, through his lymph system and throughout his body, eventually destroying his lungs, kidneys, pancreas and ultimately his brain.
“Iron Man,” as I called him, took his last breath in the backseat of my car on August 20, 1995, after treating my wife and I, his sister and my stepmother to dinner at his favorite restaurant, on a bluff overlooking the Ohio River, southwest of Louisville. He was buried on my sister’s birthday, four days later.
The manager of the military cemetery near Mount Washington, where he and Mom are side-by-side, says his grave is the most popular one in the cemetery. Hundreds of people come each year, to have their pictures taken at the grave of Homer Simpson.
I’m waiting for a call from the cemetery.  Dad hated how television’s Simpsons changed his life; so, I expect him one day to reach up through the ground and grab a person posing for a picture on his grave.
Creeker Chronicles
A compendium of anecdotes and stories by
Contributing Editor Ross Simpson
Ross Simpson: Eyewitness to History
As Told To Jim Sullins
For almost a half century, Fern Creek Class of 1960 alum Ross Simpson has chronicled events that shaped our world. The journey has taken him thousands of miles from home and filled three passports with hundreds of visa stamps. 
    One early dateline found Ross in a bitterly cold Distant Early Warning radar site, on St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Strait of Alaska.  There, in October, 1962, during the Cuban missile crisis, a small, intense group of airmen scanned the Siberian skies for signs of a Soviet attack. 
    Forty-one years later, in March, 2003, as an embedded journalist, Ross reported the Iraq war, in the searing desert during Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Between those historic events, Ross covered armed conflicts in Panama, the Persian Gulf, Somalia, and Haiti.
     After his discharge from the United States Air Force in 1965, Ross began a 45-year broadcasting career in Washington, D.C. that included stints at three major radio stations, WTOP, WWDC and WRC, and career-enhancing stops at two radio networks, the Mutual Broadcasting System and The Associated Press Radio Network.
    Along the way, he covered major events in this country and abroad, including the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King and the riots that followed in Washington, D.C.
    When John Hinkley, Jr. attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan, Ross rushed to the hospital where the President was taken, gained access and was briefed by attending physicians on Reagan’s life-threatening wound.
     Being a correspondent for a major news gathering organization like The Associated Press has given Ross access to people, places and things not available to most people. He has flown with the Navy’s Blue Angels and the Air Force Thunderbirds, and has logged “stick time” in nearly every fighter, bomber and helicopter in the U.S. inventory. He has flown supersonic in the F-14 Tomcat and F/A-18 Hornet, and has spent time on five aircraft carriers, in harm’s way. Ross was on board the USS Key West, a Los Angeles Class nuclear attack submarine that was playing cat and mouse with a Russian sub, deep in the Atlantic, the night former Russian President Boris Yeltsin came to power..
       In between major assignments and anchoring almost 100,000 newscasts, Ross has authored four books, including a best seller on the Fires At Yellowstone in 1988 and hundreds of magazine articles about his adventures.
        Approaching retirement, Ross is putting the finishing touches on his fifth book, an eyewitness account of what it’s like for a civilian to ride into battle with Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, from the Rumalyah Oil Fields in southern Iraq to Baghdad.
The Kevlar helmet, body armor, boots and dog tags Ross wore and the tape recorder he carried during that assignment have been donated for display at the National Museum of the Marine Corps at Quantico, Virginia.
        Mrs. Helen Collings, his English teacher at FCHS, once told Ross that he could be a writer if he worked at it.
“I hope I haven’t disappointed her,” he says.
Moments before embedded journalist Ross crossed the Iraq border in MOPP-4, in full chemical warfare gear in the backseat of his platoon leader's Humvee where he would sleep, eat and work during the war. What a handsome fellow!
Ross reporting. using a satellite phone.  After 21 days in heavy combat, the Marine battalion he was with finally seized the al-Azimiyah Palace on the Tigris River in Baghdad, the final objective of the invasion of Iraq.
Ross at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, in front of the War Correspondent's exhibit that includes gear he wore in the Iraq war
“Hello Homer, is Bart there?”
In 1990, when “The Simpsons,” the animated television series was all the rage, my dad, Homer, failed to see the humor in the constant barrage of telephone calls at all hours of the day and night.  He didn’t have time to watch television, so at first he was dumfounded by the callers.
Dad was taking care of my mother, who was in the throes of Alzheimer’s disease. She required 24-7 care, which Dad decided he could do better than a nursing home. Until she died in December, 1991, he rarely got more than an hour or so sleep a night.
“No big deal,” he would always tell me when I expressed concern about his health.
“I lived on coffee and cigarettes during World War Two,” he told me on more than one occasion and I can live without sleep again.
When we moved to 8403 Beulah Church Road in Fern Creek in 1955, the telephone company assigned a number to us that I remember to this day.  It was burned into my brain like no other number I have known since: CE 9-5090.
The barrage of calls, 287 in one month, caused Dad to release that memorable number and get an unlisted one. I couldn’t tell you that number if my life depended on it. I always kept it on a slip of paper in my wallet and referred to it when I called him.
Homer, the TV character, is the boorish father of a fictional Simpson family. With his wife Marge, he has three children, Bart, Lisa and Maggie.
My mother’s name was Alice and there were four children in our family, Ross, Roger, Bill and Sherrol.
Ross Simpson at Homer and Alice's graves in Mt. Washington, on a day when the crowd was light.
Homer and Alice Simpson, dad and mom to four Fern Creek kids.  The family was nothing like the TV one.
Cartoon sketch of Homer Simpson TV fame. The love of a cold beer was the only thing the Real Homer Simpson had in common with his TV counterpart.  The real Homer drank Sterling.
Associated Press Radio Anchorman Ross Simpson broadcasts from studios in Washington, D.C.
The Real Homer Simpson
by Ross Simpson, Contributing Editor
The real Homer Simpson with son, Ross.
After changing his telephone number, Dad noticed that his mailbox on Beulah Church had disappeared.  After replacing the black mailbox with his name on it three times, he complained to Bob Hawkins, the mailman who lived three doors away on Buelah Church Road. Bob thought it was funny, so called a Louisville TV station."
My sister, Sherrol, who lives in Louisville, was watching the news on WLKY Channel 32 one evening at her townhouse at the Overlook at St. Thomas (J. D. Nichols, FCHS ’60, Developer), when Vickie Dortch, the evening news anchor announced that co-anchor Steve Burgin was going to take them "Live" to the real Homer Simpson's home in Fern Creek.
Sherrol couldn't wait to see her dad explode on "Live" television, as she knew he would. Coming out of a commercial break, Vickie tossed it to Burgin as he walked up the Simpson driveway with a cameraman in tow. 
"We're about to introduce you to the REAL HOMER SIMPSON," said Burgin as he walked into the backyard where my dad was preparing his garden site with his rototiller. When he saw this stranger coming toward him, he turned off his rototiller.
"Homer, we'd like to talk to you about the Simpsons," said Burgin.
He might as well have asked about aliens. Dad had no idea what he was talking about and told Burgin to "get the hell off my property." 
Burgin just about fainted; but he quickly said, "Back to you in the studio." 
Later, another TV reporter, a woman, came to the house and got an interview with the "Real Homer Simpson."  Dad always had a thing for beautiful women.
On a recent visit to Fern Creek, Ross visited the old family home place and found Homer's black wall phone still hanging on the basement stud, with the original family phone number intact.
After changing his phone number, Homer's other woes included stolen mailboxes and uninvited televison reporters