Saying Goodbye to Fred Simon

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch, If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much

How do you say good-bye to a man whose heart was as big has his smile and personality?

Who treated you like you were the most important person he talked to that day and when he talked to you, in his eyes you were.

Fred Simon was a guy who could not only hit you up for “dough” but make you feel it was your idea and you felt like you wanted to do more. Whether you contributed in a small way or a large way Fred thanked you over and over and made you feel that you played a huge role in the success of the event.

Fred was a guy who started out selling insurance were he honed his skills at pitching and dealing with people but mastered them when he got involved in politics. He saw people in need and he made it his life’s work to help others. He had so much civic pride and helped his town remember 9/11 and worked to stop the slots that he felt would change his town in a non positive way.

He had a heart that just wanted to help, you never felt he was phony or this was an act. Fred was sincere and you could tell that whether you knew him for 20 years or 5 minutes.

When you were involved with any event that Fred was part of, he took the time to get to know you, ask about your background, your family and then would not only Thank you for whatever you could do but anytime he saw you would ask about your family or tell you a story about someone he knew who he found out was your cousin, your neighbor or the kid you went to high school with.

I met Fred through the Salvation Army Radiothon and he took the time to ask about my family, my background etc. He always Thanked me for my involvement in the Radiothon though compared to many, my contributions are minimal, Fred never saw it that way, he made me feel my contributions were just as important has the guy who just donated $5,000

It was NEVER about Fred, it was always about helping. Owl Diner Charities , the Salvation Army, the Town of Tewksbury, Veterans or his Church. Fred never raised money…he just collected “dough”!

When he wanted to raise some dough for Dana Farber his friends and family planned a day in his honor and even then when Freddy spoke it wasn’t about him, it was about his family, the people at Dana Farber and the people in the room who were always willing to help, they just needed to be asked.

That day it was about him, it was a collection of people he worked with to raise ‘dough”, people he helped, his friends and neighbors who wanted him to know how much he was loved and his family and extended family who are so proud of him. It was about the love and admiration people have for him but he would never acknowledge that.

He could talk with crowds and keep his virtue and walk with Kings and keep the common touch because he was just one of us! a kid from the Acre and he didn’t see a difference in your wealth or social standing, he just saw your willingness to open your heart and contribute your time or “dough” the same way he did.

He taught me that you do what you do to help and you don’t boast about it or use it has an accomplishment. It isn’t about you ! it’s about the people who need help and the people who provide it and you’re just a means or a conduit to that.

This area has a lot of big hearted people always willing to help but a Fred Simon comes along once in a lifetime and if you were fortunate to be able to get to know him, even just a little and for a short time, you saw what goodness, grace and kindness was all about. I was one of the fortunate ones.

May the road rise up to meet you, May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Thanks Fred! You legacy of love and helping people will never be forgotten.

PS: Read Dan Phelps column in the Sun, Fred loved Dan and his family and looked forward to seeing Dan and his Mom at the radiothon. Dan has a great remembrance column saluting Fred today.