Sen. Gary Simpson released a statement upon learning of the death of WBOC-TV founder Tom Draper, who passed away Sept. 8.

“It is an understatement to say that Tom Draper was a unique individual; philanthropist, naturalist, businessman, hunter, leader, friend, father, grandfather and so much-much more. He was a proud Delawarean and an unashamed lover of southern Delaware and its natural beauty, taking great pains throughout his life to protect it for future generations,” Simpson said. “One of the things that struck me most about Tom was his uncanny ability to quickly sift through the BS of an issue and get to the heart of the discussion. He was a smart and unparalleled visionary who could see into the future and make wise decisions on how things could be made better.”

“Tom was never content in doing things as they had always been done in the past or in maintaining the status quo if he thought he had a better idea,” Simpson said. “He was willing to take calculated risks that almost always turned out to be correct.

“Tom enjoyed life and always lived it to its fullest. If he could have, I’m sure he would have enjoyed being an early pioneer and explorer of the old West or taking that first step on the moon,” Simpson said. “Tom was a personal friend, and I hate to lose his wise counsel when it comes to all things political. Tom had little patience for waste in government and for ineffectual politicians. He liked straight-shooters and was willing to support those candidates who he thought could make a difference.

“Tom Draper was a humble man and didn’t need to build himself up in the public eye. He was not boastful. He could be forceful, but had a quiet strength about him that garnered respect from all those around him. I will miss him. Delaware has lost one of its best,” Simpson said.