Remembering my dad, Don Simonson
by Becky Trip, February 2016
It was just over a year ago, on February 5th, that my Dad passed away. In the time since, I have had so many people come up to me and tell me stories about him, and so many of them had stories of his generosity towards them. I was completely unaware of these amazing acts of kindness that he had shown to so many people. He and my mom never mentioned them to us. Thank you for sharing your stories with me.
Growing up in the Simonson house was great. I probably didn’t realize at the time what great parents I had. I assumed everyone had a Mom and Dad like mine. We were taught to love the Lord, and to always show love and respect to others. We were taught to work hard and be responsible for our own actions. We were taught a love of travel and seeing this amazing country and the world. Our yearly family road trips took us to nearly all of the states, and we stopped at pretty much every tourist site along the way! What a great way to learn about U.S. history. There were five kids in our family, so we were crammed into one vehicle, pulling a tent-trailer behind us. So many KOAs… When my older siblings were teenagers, we began bringing one or two family friends along on our vacations. The more the merrier!
My Dad was very involved in the community. He was busy building a successful business in town, while also working towards making our community a strong community. He knew that we all needed each other. Just like in a family, the people in a small town need to look out for each other. He loved his car customers, and his excellent customer service was genuine. We all learned a lot working at the car dealership every Saturday during the school year, and many days during the summer school vacations. Hard work didn’t hurt any of us!
Since we owned a car dealership, we were blessed with the ability to have many vehicles in our family. We each were provided a car to use when we got our driver’s license on our 16th birthday, but we were also expected to work at the dealership in exchange for that privilege. I learned in later years that the main reason my parents were happy to provide each of us with our own car was so they could control who was doing the driving when their kids were on the road! We had an 11:00 p.m. curfew on the weekends, and since we were the drivers, there was no excuse for us to be late. Also, they trusted us to not be drinking and behaving stupidly while we were driving.
My Dad was very involved in our church. He loved ushering every Sunday and making sure people felt welcomed and at ease. He was a leader in our church, and he always prayed about every decision that needed to be made. His love for God surpassed everything else in his life, and our church life was very active. He taught us to keep our priorities straight: God first, then everything else will fall into place.
Our family dinner table was a place where we all gathered together and enjoyed each other. Well, mostly enjoyed each other! My Dad loved to play tricks on people, and especially on the brother of mine that was seated next to him (I’ll keep him nameless). The “pickle in my brother’s Strawberry Shortcake” will always be a classic! Dad could tell a story like no one else. He grew up with three brothers, and they were quite “lively” boys. He would share his tales of growing up and all of the pranks and mischief they would get up to. It’s quite amazing that none of us actually never took those story as an excuse to be really naughty!
My dad loved to learn, and he embraced new technology. 20 years ago he recognized the vast potential of the Internet as a tool to do business. He started the cookmn.com website as a way to advertise his Simonson Internet Reality business. His love of local history led him to make the decision to make the website a community website, as well. We’re all really grateful that he did!
Simonson Family in 1970 In 2013