LeRoy Donald Simonson was born in Palo Alto County, Iowa on May 11, 1920 to Martin and Mabel Simonson. He was the second of eight children (Ruby – deceased at 93; Richard – deceased at 86; LaVerne (Pete), living in Florida; Doris – deceased at 75; Phyllis, living in Iowa; Avonelle, living in Iowa, and Jim, deceased at 70). Martin passed away at about the age of 80 and Mabel lived to be 101.
The Simonson family grew up on Simonson homestead, a 160 acre farm in Northern Palo Alto County. All went to rural schools in the county. All Simonson children were successful in school, active athletes, and popular with many friends. Their farm life was hard during the depression but enjoyed, based on the many stories the brothers and sisters would tell about their pre-teen and teen years.
LeRoy joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1943 where he met his wife, Lillian Anita Bamburger who was also in the U.S. Marine Corps. Lillian, usually known as Bambi, was born and raised in lower Manhattan, New York City. Her mother died when she was about 12 years old. Bambi had an older brother, Joseph, and a younger sister, Mae who lives outside of Boston. Bambi did a great deal to raise Joseph and Mae. Her father, Joseph, passed away in the 1950s.
During WW II, Bambi enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and achieved the rank of corporal. She met LeRoy (usually called Swede) while both were in USMC training. They married in 1944.
Swede was deployed to the South Pacific where he attained the rank of Master Technical Sergeant as part of a Torpedo Bomber Unit (VMTB). He served on islands throughout the South Pacific until the end of the war in the Pacific.
In July 1945, Michael was born in New York City. Lillian and Mike left New York in 1945 and traveled to the family farm in Iowa.
After WW II, LeRoy returned to Iowa, and he enrolled at Iowa State University where he graduated with a BS degree. Later he graduated from Iowa State with a M.S. in Educational Leadership. He became an Iowa school teacher after college, eventually in Fort Dodge, IA where he served first as the vocational agriculture teacher, then the Audio Visual Coordinator, and ultimately the Assistant to the Superintendent, a position he held until retirement.
Donald Ray Simonson was born in 1952 in Fort Dodge. Donald and Mike graduated from Fort Dodge Senior High School. Mike graduated from Iowa State and after service in the U.S. Marine Corps (rank of Captain) from 1968-1972 graduated with a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. Mike was employed at Iowa State from 1975-1998 when he then took a position at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL where he is currently employed. Mike is married to Margaret Ellen (Maggie). Maggie and Mike have three adult children, Kathryn, Joseph, and Timothy.
Donald graduated from Drake University then attended Northwestern University where he graduated with a Ph.D. Don was then employed as a professor of Music at Iowa State where he is currently employed. Don in married to Gaye who is an executive assistant at Iowa State. They have two sons, Christopher (living in Chicago) and Joseph, a freshman at ISU.
LeRoy and Lillian (Swede and Bambi) lived in Fort Dodge. Lillian passed away at the age of 62 in 1975. LeRoy retired from the Fort Dodge School District and moved to Naples, FL where his sister Ruby and her husband Don Hacker lived. Swede stayed in Naples until his return to Iowa and Ames in 2013.
Swede was an avid golfer, and an active member of the community. He attended St. Olaf Lutheran church in Fort Dodge. He was a member of the Lions, the American Legion, Fort Dodge country club and many other civic organizations in Fort Dodge. After retirement he remained active in Naples, also playing golf and spending a great deal of time with Ruby and Don until their deaths.
LeRoy (now generally referred to as Lee rather than Swede) enjoys socializing and getting to know new people. He eats well and enjoys a white wine spritzer on occasion.
Lee passed away on February 23, 2015 at the Bethany Manor in Story City. Memorial Services will be February 27, 2015 at St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Fort Dodge at 1:30 pm. Visitation will be from 11:00 until time of services also at the church. Burial will be in North Lawn Cemetery with Full Military Rites by the Fort Dodge V.F.W. and the United States Marines.