Nov. 8, 1928 to Sept. 14, 2020. Those dates are the bookends of a man’s life, but they do nothing to tell the story of Raymond Pasquale Simone.
Raymond was born in Napa to Genaro and Nicolette Simone, the sixth of seven children. He attended Napa High School, served in the Korean War and spent his work life at the Napa County Road Department.
But his real life was his family. He met Anne Cunningham, a neighborhood girl 10 years his junior, while she was still in high school. They married shortly after she graduated on July 20, 1957. They would welcome their first of six children, a daughter, the following May. A second child was born within the year and then a third the next August (both sons). They would be followed by another daughter and two more sons.
Raymond’s favorite refrain was “We have the best family. I love all of my children.”
But he expressed his love with more than words — he showed it. He coached basketball teams at St. John’s Elementary School (attended by all of his children) and the youth baseball league. When he wasn’t coaching he was in the stands — a regular fixture at his children’s sporting events, school productions and any other activities his children were involved with. He built a basketball court, which became a favorite hangout for the neighborhood children and he would load them all up in his GMC Carryall to take them to the local Foster Freeze for ice cream.
Raymond loved the outdoors, and family vacations were always spent camping. He and his sons took annual backpacking trips, and he taught his children how to hunt and fish and appreciate nature.
A repairman never darkened the door of the Napa home that he built himself — he simply took whatever needed fixing to his workshop. (Mostly with good results.) He recalled fondly buying the building materials for his home with a handshake at Noyes Lumber. He built his home next door to his brother, and two doors down from his own family home where his parent still lived.
He would later add a garage, large vegetable gardens, and a swimming pool (following a family vote). He taught his children to work hard and to put family first. They didn’t have to be told, he set the example.
During his retirement, Raymond divided his time between Napa and his home in Graeagle (purchased to be near two of his children who relocated to Plumas County). Neighbors would often stop and talk to the unofficial mayor of Yonkalla. He was also well known to his Napa neighbors where he spent his last years often sitting in the yard visiting with those who walked by.
He died peacefully at home with his wife and children surrounding him. Just the week before he had mowed the fields of his roughly acre lot and trimmed the trees. His family is grateful that he was able to remain active until the last few days of his life.
Raymond was predeceased by his parents, and his siblings, Gigi, Mark, Rosie, Amador and Tony.
He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Anne, and his six children: Debra Moore (Mike), Ray Simone, (Hilary), Joe Simone (Cheryl), Sharon Simone, Mike Simone and Chris Simone (Randi). He is also survived by seven grandchildren: Kristin, Carly (Kris), Nick, Danielle (Tyler), Olivia, Davis (Mia) and Hannah (Cody); and five great grandchildren: Carter, Camden, Colton and Kennedy Anne, and Ridge. Raymond is also survived by his sister, Rena, and by numerous nieces and nephews.
A celebration of his life will be held at a later date.