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Mary “Jean” Simon

Mary “Jean” Simon

Mary Simon

- November 13, 2019

Mary “Jean” Simon, 97, passed away Monday, November 11, 2019, at Avera Maryhouse in Pierre, SD with family by her side. She passed away due to complications with pneumonia.
Jean was born on July 2, 1922, to Homer and Agnes (Olson) Ayres at Newell, South Dakota. She grew up on the family ranch just east of Zeona in an old log house that had been built by the Flying V Cowboys.
She attended the Spring Creek country school near the Zeona store, and high school in Sorum. She graduated in the spring of 1940 and then attended Black Hills Teachers College in Spearfish. She began teaching at Fishdraw School in Butte County in the fall of 1941. In 1942, Jean returned to college to advance her education.
After attending college, Jean’s love of the prairie drew her back again. She always said of that time in her life, “it seemed like paradise as it was green again after many years of drought, the cactus were blooming, and I loved to listen to the meadowlarks sing.”
Jean’s childhood pastimes included listening to the radio shows and going to dances. She and other neighbor kids used any excuse to get together so they could dance, go to a baseball game, or “hang out”. In later years someone was heard to say, “Jean, Jean the dancing machine!”
A neighbor boy, Edgar “Dale” Simon, began working for Jean’s dad, Homer Ayers, in 1936. Many times throughout her life, Jean said she intended to marry Dale from the time she was a little girl, but Dale told her she had to grow up first! Dale would often visit Jean in Spearfish during college or when she was teaching. One dark evening she had her teacherage door locked and had a knock on the door. Jean asked who was there, and the person on the other side of the door said “the big bad wolf.” Dale had made a surprise visit. So on June 8, 1943, they were married in Belle Fourche. With a little smile, Jean would say that her honeymoon shack was a sheep wagon on the Ayers ranch. On January 2, the “winter of ’49,” their son, Jerry Lee was born. He was the light of her life.
Jean and her husband Dale made their living as ranchers from 1945 until retirement in 1994 when they moved to Sturgis. She enjoyed quilting, sewing and making western shirts, square dancing, playing cards with neighbors, going to rodeos and traveling to various states with Dale. She was a member of the SD Farmer’s Union and also a member of the Hand-E-Ettes extension club in Perkins County.
In 1974, Jean was blessed with her granddaughter DeLynn. She would spend numerous hours teaching DeLynn the names of the constellations, local grasses, gardening, cooking, baking, and sewing. They enjoyed taking long walks together across the prairie that Jean loved throughout her life.
Upon retiring from the ranch and moving to Sturgis, Jean continued to can, sew, read and write for local newspapers and magazines. She also volunteered at the Meade County Senior Center and was soon elected as the Center’s president. She volunteered at the Senior Center Thrift Store until 2014 when she moved to Edgewood Vista in Spearfish. Jean was blessed to reconnect with many old friends from “up North” and even high school and college friends during her stay at Edgewood Vista.
Jean’s greatest blessing was the birth of her great-grandkids, Chase and Timber Hanson. She was extremely proud of them, enjoying every minute she got to spend with them.
Jean will be remembered for her beautiful hazel eyes, wisdom that inspired many, and her intense love of writing down her stories and sharing them with everyone. Her stories were such that you always listened from the beginning to the end, as you were not sure what would come next! She lived and demonstrated the motto of an unknown author: “There are THREE things we should do in life: be kind, be kind, be kind!”
Mary Jean (Ayres) Simon was preceded in death by her grandparents; parents; husband, Dale; and recently her son, Jerry.
Grateful for having shared her life are her granddaughter, DeLynn (Bryan) Hanson of Fort Pierre; great grandchildren, Chase and Timber Hanson; 11 nieces and nephews and their spouses, children, and grandchildren; daughter-in-law, Lynda Simon and her daughters and grandchildren; former daughter-in-law, Judith Kaye Simon (Steve Sander); and special family friend, Todd (LuAnne) Youngberg and their children, Dana and Orrin Youngberg.
In lieu of flowers the family has established a memorial in her memory at the Meade County Senior Center in Sturgis.
A memorial service will be held on Monday, November 18, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. CDT at the Black Hills Funeral Home in Sturgis, SD.
Friends and family may sign her online guestbook and leave written condolences for the family at blackhillsfuneralhome.com.

Phone number: 605-347-4455
E-mail: [email protected]
Address: 1612 Junction Avenue, Suite #1
Sturgis, SD 57785