On Sunday, September 27, 2020, Nannette Simpson passed away peacefully, surrounded by friends and family at the age of 64 after a courageous three and a half year battle with Pancreatic Cancer. Nannette was born on December 15, 1955 in Linton Indiana, grew up attending the Linton First Baptist Church, and graduated from Linton-Stockton High School in 1974. She graduated from Indiana University with BA in Photo Journalism in 1978, and an MS in Computer Science in 1984.
She began her professional career at Xerox in Palo Alto, CA, developing software for the world’s first commercial personal computer with a graphical user interface. This is also where she first met the love of her life, Jim. In 1987 she joined Sun Microsystems where she developed an early networked Calendar system, and later managed a team of engineers developing graphics tools for video collaboration and the Java software environment.
In 2000 she co-founded a biotech microfluidics company, Silicon Valley style: in her own garage. She provided the seed capital, was the first CEO and led the launch effort securing $27M in venture financing. When her company was acquired by Beckman Coulter Life Sciences in 2019 it employed more than 200 and had estimated revenues over $80M/yr. Picoliter continues to produce leading edge Biotech research instruments used by every major pharmaceutical company and academic research institute to speed the discovery of drugs for the treatment of deadly diseases including Cancer and Covid-19.
Nannette finished her professional career at Sony PlayStation and Apple Inc., helping teams of graphics engineers to produce innovative products. She loved working with the amazingly talented engineers that she encountered at every step of her career, even when her job was to be the adult supervision in the room!
Cooking! Spicy foods. But not cheese.
Baking. Perfected the art of braided challah.
Girl Scout cookie stands (but insisted on the full sales pitch)
Movies; always with a loaded “movie purse”
To be diabolically vicious at Hearts (pass her a club!)
All animals; she never met a dog who was a stranger
Her ‘babies’ (you know who you are)
Softball: a power hitting lefty, strong fielding first baseman
Music, especially 60’s R&B hits
Recruiting, mentoring and building technical teams
To be a ruthlessly impartial Pie Contest Chief Justice
Hot tub topics
Raising the flag on holidays
Working crossword puzzles in pen (defining ‘hubris’)
Swearing at bad drivers
Helping her friends
To laugh and smile
Nannette will be missed by her loving husband of 29 years, James K. Foote, her mother, Thyra Faye Simpson of Nokomis, FL, her sister, Pam Luellen (Kerry) of Apopka, FL, and her brother, Scott Simpson of Nokomis, FL., her sister-in-law Pat Keig of Orlando, FL, and nieces Devon Luellen of Overland Park, KS, Emily Luellen of Dallas, TX, Margaret Keig (Zander) of Orlando FL, Elizabeth Briggs (Zachary), and great nephew Ian Briggs and great niece Molly Briggs of Davenport, FL.
She was preceded in death by her father, Omer Simpson, Jr. in 1978.
In lieu of flowers, Nannette would have been honored by a donation in her name to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, or to your personal choice of cause.
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