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Through both his words and actions, Frederic “Fred” Philip Simon helped others find their inner strength.
After coming out of a three-day coma, Mr. Simon learned he had an incurable brain tumor. During the year he lived after his diagnosis he portrayed a life of hope and made others feel like their own struggles were manageable.
Mr. Simon showed those around him they were capable of handling sorrow and tragedy far beyond what they thought.
Mr. Simon, of Williamsburg, died peacefully on Aug. 9, 2015, at the age of 81.
It was Mr. Simon’s guidance during times when it seemed “all hope was lost” that was his greatest gift to others, said John Lowthian, Mr. Simon’s next-door neighbor. No matter the problem someone was facing, Mr. Simon offered advice, told them they were not alone and “they had an inner strength that would sustain them” through their trials.
“Fred was simply a delight,” Mr. Lowthian said. “A ray of brilliant sunshine on the most cloudy day.”
Although Mr. Simon knew he had a finite number of days, Mr. Lowthian said the way he handled those days moved him. Mr. Simon never complained. He was never angry or bitter about his diagnosis, Mr. Lowthian said, and during every conversation he had this last year, he focused on the lives and struggles of others, helping them cope with their situations rather than discussing his health.
“He showed us all how to pass from this world with dignity and with courage, just by his example,” Mr. Lowthian said.
Mr. Simon also showed others how to give back to the community, Mr. Lowthian said. When Mr. Lowthian first moved to the area about six years ago, Mr. Simon brought him to local thrift stores and encouraged him to donate items he no longer needed. Mr. Simon volunteered countless hours in the Grove area of James City County, providing food for families in need.
“I just have the greatest admiration for him,” Mr. Lowthian said. “He’s one of the finest men I think I’ve ever known.”
Mr. Simon also volunteered for many of the James City County Rotary Club-sponsored events. In addition to being a member there, Mr. Simon was a past commodore of the Kingsmill Yacht Club, served with the U.S. Army, became a licensed captain with the U.S. Coast Guard and was past president of the Bond Club of Virginia, the Richmond Bond Club and the Urbanna Creek Yacht Club.
Mr. Simon was born Jan. 7, 1934, son of the late Maurice and Charlotte Simon in Newark, New Jersey.
He is survived by his wife, Ellen Simon; daughters, Peggy Simon, of Petaluma, California and Katie Simon, of Richmond; grandchildren, Kerry Lester and Christopher Lester; and many nieces, nephews and special friends.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Kerry Simon and his sister, Ginny Steiner.
A celebration of his life will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 22, at the Chapel at Kingsmill, Wareham’s Pond Recreation Center, 175 Wareham’s Pond Road, Williamsburg, followed by a reception.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Widener University (formerly Pennsylvania Military College), 1 University Place, Chester, PA 19013 or to Grove Christian Outreach, 8910 Pocahontas Trail #E, Williamsburg, VA 23185.
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Amanda Thames is the obituary writer for WYDaily. Reach her at 757-565-1079 ext. 222 or firstname.lastname@example.org.