For Love of Food
Roxie Simcoe was a seventh-grader from Shoshone when she first fell in love with the University of Idaho.
A teacher from her hometown came to Moscow for a class in 1951 and invited Roxie to tag along. The two spent a month that summer on campus. Roxie would eventually return to explore her love of food and pursue a degree in home economics.
A biology class at U of I introduced Roxie to another love — her husband of 53 years, Doyt Simcoe. The couple married after Roxie graduated in 1960 and moved to the Burley area after Doyt earned his biology degree in 1961.
“The University of Idaho was such an important part of her life and I think that the field she was in, she totally believed in the value of that program,” Doyt said. “She thought it was important for people to have the opportunity to go on.”
Roxie accepted a home economics teaching position after graduation, but her real interest was dietetics. She spent the summer of 1961 working as a dietician for St. Anthony Hospital in Pocatello before her teaching contract began. The hospital was so impressed with her work that they held the job for her while she spent the next year teaching. At the end of the school year, Doyt and Roxie moved to Pocatello where Roxie worked as a dietician until the day before their first son was born.
Although Roxie didn’t return to a professional career in dietetics, her love for food carried on throughout her life.
“Food was what she really loved,” Doyt said. “I think she was way ahead of her time in terms of what she knew about food and nutrition.”
After staying at home to raise the couple’s three children — Scott, Stephanie and Bryan — Roxie re-entered the workforce as a consumer science representative for Idaho Power. She spent 13 years in this role, traveling across the Magic and Wood River valleys to present programs about conserving energy.
Education was also important to the Simcoes — Doyt spent most of his career as a school administrator in Twin Falls — and the couple were fortunate that all three of their children were able to pursue higher education. Scott and Stephanie followed their parents’ footsteps to U of I and the oldest Simcoe grandson is carrying on the tradition as a freshman this fall.
When she was 55, Roxie and Doyt bought a travel agency and spent many years leading group trips both domestically and internationally. Roxie also remained active with U of I, serving as the alumni chapter leader for the Magic Valley and as a member of the U of I Alumni Association advisory board.
After Roxie passed away in 2013, Doyt decided to honor her memory — and her love for food and sewing — by establishing the Roxie Simcoe Scholarship Endowment in U of I’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. The scholarship is awarded to students studying food and nutrition or apparel, textiles and design in the Margaret Ritchie School of Family and Consumer Sciences, with preference to those students who demonstrate financial need.
“She was an excellent seamstress but I think her number one love was food. Both were very important to her,” Doyt said. “We had 53 great years together. I’m kind of a critical person and I never could find anything wrong with her. I think she was just perfect.”
Article by Amy Calabretta, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Photo provided by Stephanie Simcoe
Published in the fall 2019 issue of Here We Have Idaho.