By Dawn Krebs
MARTIN COUNTY -- For 38 years, Dr. Jim Simpson has cared for children, with 17 years of that in Martin County.
When he officially retired on March 10, he received a special surprise when the community came to his retirement party as their way of saying "thank you."
His party was held at the Children's Museum of the Treasure Coast, and all of his former patients were invited.
Sandy Simpson, Jim's wife, planned for the special day for weeks.
"He has just done so much for everyone in the community, and wanted a way for them to say goodbye," she said.
His career in Martin County is full of recognitions. He was voted the Castle Connolly top doctor of America five years in a row, from 2007-12; awarded with a Patient's Choice Award in 2012 as one of Florida's favorite physicians; and received national attention when he was named twice, in 2012 and 2013, on the U.S. News and World Report as one of the top doctors in America.
"Pediatrics is always what I wanted to do," he said in an interview in 2008.
After graduating from Indiana University Medical School in 1975, and then held a practice until 1993 at the Visalia Medical Clinic in Visalia, California.
During that time, he traveled occasionally on missionary trips to Central America, and in 1994, moved his wife and four children -- Stephanie, Scott, Sara and Steve -- to run a children's hostel in Papua New Guinea.
Moving to Stuart in 1996, he began a pediatric practice at Martin Memorial Hospital, where he's been until this year.
Now he's hanging up his white doctor's coat and is ready to spend more time with his wife.
"I'm so excited for him," Ms. Simpson said. "It's a whole new chapter, and we're ready for it."