He was one of the Greatest Generation. Eugene F Simon, age 93, peacefully passed away at his home on Sunday, August 14, 2016 under the care of Ministry Home Hospice. He was born in a log cabin in Bavaria WI on April 5th 1923 to John and Eva Simon, who were first generation American children born of pioneers, Mathias and Leopoldina Kluball and Stephan and Margaret Simon, who homesteaded Wisconsin in the 1880’s.
Eugene worked on the family farm and logged hardwood timber for many winters with his father before enlisting in the Marines in 1944, to prepare for a possible invasion of Japan that never came about when the nuclear age brought the War to an end. He met his bride in 1949 on a chance visit to deliver an item for a friend to Deerbrook Wisconsin and married Geraldine F Petrzelka, on September 4, 1949 at St Paul’s Lutheran in Deerbrook. He and Gerry had three children, Candace Simon Arnold of Madison WI, Eugene Richard (Tammy) Simon and Jeffrey (Kay) Simon of Merrill, who all survive. On return from the Service, he took ownership of a farm milk route and operated the venture with the help of his cousin and life long friend, Edward Simon, who died in 2015.Gene worked as a mechanic for Ronis Chevrolet in Gleason until moving his family to Merrill in 1964, where he became the service manager at Gruett Appliance until retirement. He was known by customers, far and wide, and seldom could go to dinner or out shopping without someone stopping to greet or talk with him. His daughter in law, Tammy, often bet him that he would know, or greet, at least one person, any place, any time, wherever the family gathered, a bet that almost never failed. He lost the love of his life in 1994, following heart surgery, and he never remarried, as he often said he could never replace the woman who was so good to him for so many years. He continued to maintain a house and several gardens until recently and often loved to share his cooking secrets with the family. He was a member of St John Lutheran Church in Merrill and served on a number of committees and boards since 1964. He was often seen tending to the flowers and trees at the church and supplied vegetables from his many gardens to support the church and school. He was active in Merrill Lions and was the Chair of the Merrill Enrichment Center Board, until recent weeks when his health began to slow him. He also served several terms as a Lincoln County board supervisor. He made a return trip to Washington DC on a Never Forgotten Honor Flight with his son Gene in September 2015 and paid one last visit to the Madison Farmer’s Market (one of his favorite trips) in November, 2015, with grand daughter Jodie (Chad Lasco) and great grandson, Chase. Eugene loved the Yankee’s and Cubs and played baseball in Langlade County and slow pitch in Lincoln County for many years, in addition to coaching many years in Legion Baseball in Merrill and Little League Baseball in Langlade County. Eugene is further survived by his older sister, Jeanette Fondow (Richard – deceased) of Antigo, Wisconsin, and sister, Darlene (Don) Granger, of New Auburn, Long Lake, Wisconsin, grandsons, John Stephen Simon of Columbus WI and Jeffrey Scott Simon (Kersten) of Cottage Grove WI. Eugene was blessed with five very talented grand daughters, Tara of Seattle WA, Trisha of Los Angeles CA, Robyn of Milwaukee WI, Jodie Leigh Lasco, Lodi WI and Lynn Simon of Merrill. He was an avid Badger fan, and he and Gerry spent countless days in Waunakee and Madison with the grandchildren and their Badger athlete friends, who often called him Grandpa Simon. He was preceded in death by his parents, sister Adeline and brother John.
Funeral Services for Eugene will be held on Friday, August 19, 2016 at 11am at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Merrill. Rev. David Szeto will officiate. Visitation will be held on Thursday, August 18, 2016 from 4pm-8pm at Waid Funeral Home, and again on Friday, August 19, 2016 from 10am until the time of the service, at the church. Burial will take place at Merrill Memorial Park Cemetery. Military honors will be performed at the cemetery by the Merrill VFW Post #1638. The family wishes to extend their thanks and appreciation to Ministry Home Hospice for their caring support and comfort that they gave to Eugene. Waid Funeral Home of Merrill is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be made at www.waidfuneral.com.
In lieu of flowers, family asks that you direct memorials to St. John’s Lutheran Church, Merrill Lion’s Club or The Never Forgotten Honor Flight.