When a brain tumor left Betty Simon nearly deaf, the octogenarian embraced the Internet as a way of keeping in touch with her friends and family.
“She was a very strong, very resilient woman,” said her son, Curt Simon. “Mom was inspiration to all of us. She had no hearing in her left ear and the right was very diminished, so she taught herself to use Facebook at age 81.
“She ended up embracing (the Internet), because it was just a really good way for her to communicate.”
Betty Simon, 86, died Friday of throat cancer at Brighton Gardens, a senior living community. A funeral Mass will be held Tuesday at 10 a.m. at St. James Catholic Church.
Curt Simon, executive director of Metro Area Transit, said his mother was born in Omaha and graduated from Benson High School. While growing up, she spent a lot of time on her grandparents' farm near Nebraska City.
“Her grandparents were both born in Sweden, and mom loved being with them,” her son said. “She used to call herself a stubborn Swede.”
The former Betty Anderson worked for the telephone company for a short time, her son said, but quit to become a homemaker after marrying future Omaha Mayor Bernie Simon. She raised four children and contributed to the family income by sewing clothes for dolls.
“She was pretty talented artistically,” her son said. “She painted and she was very good at sewing, making clothes for Barbie dolls and selling them when the dolls first came out.”
When Bernie Simon, who died in 1988, ran for City Council and later for mayor, his wife was always at his side. She reveled in politics and kept up with all the issues, her son said.
“She had her opinions, I don't know if dad always listened,” Curt Simon said with a laugh. “On the Wednesday after the last (mayoral) election, I walked into her room and she popped awake. The first thing she said was, 'Who won?'”
In addition to her husband, Betty Simon was preceded in death by sons Ray and Todd Simon. Besides son Curt, she is survived by daughter Stacy Simon of Omaha, nine grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
Contact the writer: 402-444-1272, firstname.lastname@example.org