FORT KENT, Maine -– The soccer subject at College of Maine at Fort Kent will bear the identify of a beloved neighborhood determine who died June 30.
Michael Isaac Simon got here from New York to Fort Kent almost 40 years in the past to attend UMFK and by no means left. The sector, previously referred to as Alumni Memorial Area, can be named Michael Simon Area.
Simon, who was 63 when he died as a consequence of problems from a coronary heart assault, had lived in a basement condo on the Northern Door Inn motel since 1983 when he moved to Fort Kent to take lessons. He frequented college soccer video games and practices, the campus and city libraries, and native eating places.
Simon’s household is donating cash in his reminiscence for brand spanking new lights on the college soccer subject in recognition of his distinctive connection to the neighborhood he made residence. The household has supported the college in different methods all through the years as effectively, as a method to thank the neighborhood that embraced Simon.
“My household is and has been deeply grateful to Fort Kent. Our assist for UMFK is a token of that appreciation,” Simon’s brother Jamil stated.
Jamil Simon stated he doesn’t know why his brother selected to attend the college all these years in the past, however he had a fascination with Maine since his childhood — though the household by no means visited it earlier than he began college there.
He stated the household has at all times been supportive of Simon’s determination to make his life within the small northern Maine city, and he would go to Simon from New York thrice a 12 months, staying on the inn that housed his brother’s condo.
“Fort Kent was so good for Mike,” Jamil Simon stated. “He may stroll nearly in all places, and he a lot preferred the city and the folks.”
In his brother’s obituary, Jamil Simon quoted him as saying, “I really like my condo and my city and would relatively be right here than anyplace else on the earth.”
The soccer lights usually are not the primary donation the Simon household has made to the college.
The household donated substantial funding to assist the development of Nadeau Corridor, which was named after a household who lived close to the resort and have become near Mike Simon.
Simon was particularly keen on petting the Nadeau household’s golden retriever, Portia. Jamil Simon stated his brother liked canines, and felt they have been near God.
“He wasn’t simply touched or hugged however may talk bodily with a canine,” Jamil Simon stated.
The Simon household additionally established the Michael Simon Scholarship Fund in 2010, and final 12 months supplied cash to fifteen college college students. They have been chosen based mostly on the necessity to carry their debt to the college beneath the edge that will bar them from registering, even when they have been academically certified.
The Simon household additionally talked about a number of space residents within the obituary, together with Northern Door Inn assistant supervisor Laurie Michaud and former Fort Kent Police Chief Tom Pelletier.
Michaud would sew buttons on Simon’s pants for him, and she or he and supervisor Carl Pelletier and managing proprietor of Northern Door Inn Paul Bouchard would give him rides to physician’s visits and different appointments — as did Tom Pelletier.
“He’s undoubtedly going to be missed round right here,” Michaud stated.
Simon stored up on present occasions and would speak about them with Tom Pelletier. He additionally preferred to provide folks suggestions from the menus of the city’s eating places. He particularly preferred the baked stuffed salmon at Barry’s Kitchen, the previous chief stated.
“Michael was a sort and mild soul,” he stated.
One other of Mike Simon’s favourite eating places was Al’s Dairy Freeze.
Al’s worker of 21 years Derek Desjardin stated Simon, an avid Detroit Lions fan, was the go-to with a purpose to discover out about sports activities.
“I used to play Fantasy Soccer and would ask him who was damage and who was not. He knew his rosters; he may let you know the third string quarterback of a crew. He was a really good man,” Desjardin stated.
Whereas Simon was beloved by the folks of Fort Kent, he additionally took a real curiosity in all these he met.
Al’s worker Sholah Mullins stated Simon made it a degree to be taught everybody’s names on the restaurant, and would ask about former workers too to maintain monitor of them.
Jamil Simon stated his brother had as soon as examined at a 135 IQ and had an amazing grasp on the group of the skin world.
“He would bear in mind all people’s identify and bear in mind particulars of their lives even when he hadn’t seen them for a few years and remembered plenty of particulars about their household,” Jamil Simon stated.”It was very, very touching actually.”
JoAnne O’Leary met Mike Simon in 1990 when she labored as a waitress at China Backyard and her husband Kelly O’Leary was a pupil on the college. The O’Learys grew to become associates with Simon and went on to have three kids, all of whom Simon met.
Though that they had not seen each other for 10 years, Mike bumped into the O’Leary household at a neighborhood fuel station just a few months in the past and by no means forgot the now grown O’Leary kids’s names. .
“Mike talked with each women and was so completely happy to listen to they have been each going to varsity to turn into nurses,” JoAnne O’Leary stated. “Mike was an incredible man with the largest character. I’ll consider Mike each time I see the soccer subject at UMFK lit up and be reminded of how Mike lit up all 5 of our O’Leary hearts.”