'Excellent' John dedicated his life to his family

Tributes have been paid to community activist John Simon, a devoted family man and well known community councillor, who has died aged 73.

Mr Simon, of Marchmont, died at the weekend following a brave and dignified battle with cancer.

Family and friends described him as an "excellent man" who would be sadly missed by all who knew and loved him.

Hide Ad

He was born on 25 November, 1936 in the city's Astley Ainslie hospital, to parents John and Margaret Simon (ne Fox). He had one sister, Isobel, who now lives in Canada, and a brother Harry, who died in infancy.

Mr Simon attended Granton Primary and Leith Academy, before spending a year at the army apprentice school.

He met his wife Audrey (ne Rocca) at Granton Congregational Church where he was a scout leader and she a cub master.

Mrs Simon fondly recalled that she did not take an instant shine to her future husband on their first meetings, as he used to play jokes on her cubs.

Yet the couple eventually fell in love and were married in the church in March 1958, celebrating their golden wedding anniversary last year with their loved ones.

Taking pride of place in Mr Simon's life was his wife, a former school secretary at James Gillespie's Primary School, their two children Fraser and Moray, their daughters-in-law Fiona and Janette and their four grandchildren Robert, Kirsty, Eilidh and Euan.

Hide Ad

Mr Simon greatly enjoyed spending time with his family, taking his grandchildren on walks up Arthur's Seat, or playing with them as much as possible when they came to stay.

Mrs Simon said: "John lived for his family and simply adored his grandchildren.

Hide Ad

"He had a very placid nature, never raising his voice or losing his temper. He was a very thorough man, and many people said he was a wonderful writer, which he was."

Mr Simon had many jobs throughout his life, including being involved with the rise of Dictaphones in the 1950s, working for Hans Kristian Furniture on the city's Telford Road and managing the Methodist Halls at Tollcross, helping to bring businesses into the vacant shops below.

However, much of his time was spent on work in the community, serving on both the Tollcross and Marchmont and Sciennes community councils.

As a devoted, persistent and passionate campaigner, he played a massive role in the fight to save the Meadows and Bruntsfield Links from what was considered inappropriate use, as well as replacing out-of-date rocking horses in the children's playpark, benches and fencing in the attractions.

Along with his wife, he regularly removed graffiti from the area and collected litter, and she has vowed to continue his fight to replace paving on Warrender Park Terrace, where the couple lived.

Long-standing friend David Rintoul said: "John was an excellent man who was very hard working and great fun. He is going to be very sadly missed. He always put his family first despite all the work he did in the community – he was great."

Hide Ad

Mr Simon's funeral will be held on Tuesday at 11am at St Mark's Unitarian Church, on Castle Terrace. All are welcome.