Jerry Lee Simon: 1949-2019
Jerry Lee Simon, 70, passed away Saturday, September 28, 2019, at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, MN, due to complications after heart surgery.
Jerry was born January 2, 1949, to Dale and Jean (Ayers) Simon at Rapid City, South Dakota. He grew up on the family ranch just east of Zeona, and resided there until his passing.
Jerry attended the Spring Creek country school near the Zeona store, and high school in Newell. He competed in football, 4-H, roping’s, and also showed Hereford cattle in 4-H. In high school he received the “best freshman” award in FFA. His mother Jean would always say he didn’t have a lot of love for school, but had a high “social IQ.”
At a very early age Jerry’s love of horses, ranching, and the cowboy way was seen by all. He bought or traded numerous horses when young, training them as good ranch horses or competition rope horses.
In 1970, Jerry married Judy K. Knighton. They settled on the Simon Ranch, and lived a regular ranch life until their separation in 1987. Both enjoyed competing in the rodeo world, and had a lot of friends. To this marriage, their daughter DeLynn “Squeek” was born in January 1974.
Jerry continued living on the ranch, raising sheep, cattle, and horses. He also did leather work, braiding, and built saddles with his father Dale. They also became involved in cowboy boot and shoe repair, as well as other tack.
In the mid-80’s, Jerry’s love of horses expanded to Percheron horses. He and his family fed livestock with teams through the winter, and gave sleigh rides at community gatherings. Livestock was checked and mineral was spread by team and wagon in the spring, summer and fall. Breaking teams for others became a hobby. During this time Jerry and his close friend, Steve Elgen, also worked with teams logging in the Black Hills. Jerry’s love of Percherons spread to his daughter, DeLynn, as they showed Percheron horses and competed in team competitions. Jerry was a member of the Percheron Horse Association and participated in their annual horse sale. Jerry still owned a team, and kept in touch with his draft horse friends.
In 1989, Jerry decided to become a SD Brand Inspector as a service to his neighbors and friends. For him it was a social event, as he enjoyed traveling and seeing friends during shipping time.
Jerry’s love for good horse stock continued through the years, even when he did not ride near as frequently. His love of horses could be seen as he would lend horses to the neighbor kids for queen competitions, ranch work, or to use during rodeos.
In 2005, Jerry met Lynda Neumiller in Deadwood, while she was passing time reading a horse sale catalog. Their connection through horses was quick to grow, and they enjoyed attending many barrel racings and roping’s to view the competitive stock. They were married in November 2011, and lived at the ranch near Zeona. Their connection through horses remained until his passing. Together they were producing fine competition horses, as well as having a mare race on the track, one of the things on Jerry’s bucket list. Jerry was also honored in October 2015, by being asked to judge the Ranch Horse Competition at the Retired Racehorse Project “Thoroughbred Makeover” in Lexington, KY. In 2016, he was again asked to judge, but declined so he could enter his own horse in the competition.
Jerry will be remembered as a kind and generous man – always willing to go help a neighbor before doing what he needed to do. He was a very proud grandfather, who enjoyed spending time with the grandkids and attending their sporting events. The sparkle in his eye and contagious laugh will be remembered and missed by many. His love of reading horse pedigrees, watching competitions, especially barrel racing, and being involved in the horse community will be what he is remembered most for.
Jerry was preceded in death by his father, Dale Simon, his paternal aunts and uncles, and both sets of grandparents.
Grateful for having shared his life are his wife, Lynda Simon; mother, Jean Simon; daughter, DeLynn (Bryan) Hanson of Fort Pierre; step daughters, Stephanie Moninger and Rebecca Neumiller, both of Rapid City; seven grandchildren, Chase and Timber Rose Hanson, MacKenzie, Nyal, and Owen “Opie” Moninger, Giavanni and Genavieve Neumiller; special family friend, Todd (Luanne) Youngberg of Nisland, and their children, Dana and Orrin Youngberg; and 11 cousins and spouses, and too many friends and neighbors to list.
Because of Jerry’s love of kids and horses the family suggests that in lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial to the Jerry Simon Memorial Youth Barrel Race to be held at the Golliher Arena in Spearfish. Scheduling details will be announced at a later date.
Celebration of Life Services will be held Saturday, October 5, 2019, at 2:00 p.m., MDT, at the Spur Creek Ranch, 17698-SD Hwy. 79, Newell, South Dakota (8 miles north of Newell).