Elizabeth Simpson was born in Monroe, North Carolina, on 26 June 1908, and raised in both North Carolina and Richmond, Virginia. She attended high school in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Simpson worked for Union Life Insurance in Richmond for fourteen years before joining the Motor Corps of the American Red Cross on 6 March 1942. She resigned from the Red Cross in early 1943 in order to enlist in the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service). After five weeks of training at the Iowa State Teacher's College in Cedar Falls, Iowa, Simpson attended a course for storekeepers at Indiana University in Bloomington from April to June 1943. From 1 July 1943 to 1 January 1946, Simpson served as the secretary to the disbursing officer at the U. S. Naval Training Station in San Diego, California. She received her honorable discharge from San Diego as Storekeeper 1st Class.
Following World War II, Simpson worked for insurance companies and the veterans administration in Richmond and Charlotte, North Carolina. She moved to Nashville, Arkansas, in 1953 and to St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1979.