John Michael Simons

May 12, 1949May 11, 2018
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John M. Simons, born on May 12, 1949 in Elizabeth, New Jersey passed away on May 11, 2018 at the age of 68.

John worked as a Facilities Manager at Molex for 38 years before retiring several years ago. John was a Vietnam Era Navy Veteran who proudly served between 1967 and 1972 aboard the USS Durham, USS Peoria, and USS Bon Homme Richard.

John was an avid history buff, military and firearms expert, and loved target, trap and skeet shooting, and fishing. He was also the proud owner of a Harley Davidson motorcycle and one of his favorite of many adventures was attending the annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, ND in 2013 with his son, brother and nephew. As a child he was a working model in New York City, appearing in many ads and on the cover of Time Magazine. His most cherished memories include time spent with his children and grandchildren, the proudest Papa to all. John was a well-loved, fun loving and hard-working man who loved to cook and enjoyed fine dining. He was the oldest of seven siblings, and still retains many friendships from his days growing up in Northvale, New Jersey. He settled in the Chicago area after his release from the Navy.

He is preceded in death by his parents, John and Madeline Simons, his brother Peter Simons, and daughter in law Kelly Simons. Survived by his wife Michele, children John Simons, Jason Penick, Jessica Penick, Jennifer (Josh) Simons, and Jamie (Brandon) Taylor, and his eleven grandchildren Matthew Penick, Hailey Penick, Ariella Penick, Julianna Warcholek, Brianna Maniates, Alexander Maniates, Aayden Maniates, Chase Maniates, Dustin Taylor, Jeffrey Taylor, David Taylor, and John’s siblings Paul Simons, Michael (Monica) Simons, MaryAnne (Ralph) Tagliaferro, Maureen (John) Ronan, James (Nicole) Simons, and was “Crazy Uncle John” to many nieces, nephews and other extended family.


  • Visitation Wednesday, May 16, 2018
  • Chapel Service Wednesday, May 16, 2018

John Michael Simons

have a memory or condolence to add?

Dennis Morrison

May 16, 2018

My condolences to John's family
John was a great boss, I met him during my interview and knew that day it would be a pleasure to work for him.
He will be greatly missed


BoB DeRoss

May 16, 2018

I met John in 1973 when I started working at Amphenol Industrial Div in Cicero. He worked as a Lab Tech for Frank Ruffino at the time. He was always a fun guy to be around. We all moved over to Molex in the late 70s and continued our friendship there. John will be missed. We'll see him again on the other side!

Mary Anne Tagliaferro

May 14, 2018

My brother John was my hero. He was one of the "Cool" guys. John was a protector who understood the meaning of family and loyalty. John made time for everyone whether it was family, friend, or a stranger on the street. Even the little sister who would follow her big brother around hanging on your every word.
John, I'll miss your laugh, your dumb jokes and your great hugs. I know you are at peace, pain free and are up there with Mom, Dad and Peter (probably having a cigarette and a drink). I'll love you always and will never forget you. Rest in peace till we meet again.

Tom Schneider

May 14, 2018

My condolences to John's family. My assocation with John was the many years we worked together at Molex. John was the man behind the scenes that keep our employees cool when it was not, hot when it was cold. He was someone you could always count on day or night
If the facility had a problem he was there to make it work and always with that smile of his. I am sorry that I will not be able to attend John's services

Tom Schneider

donald labat

May 14, 2018

John will always be remembered here at Molex. I have been with the company for 38 years also. And worked and scocialised with John on many weekends during our time together. On Thursdays we would go for half priced wings, John would always order two big blue cheese dips, one he would have all over his face, and the other one was for the wings.
John was great guy to work with too, his attitude was never pushy. We would work side by side to get the job done right no matter how long it would take.
John, Rest in Peace
Don Labat


John is the middle knight on this Life Magazine cover


Another of John's modeling pictures, I think he had a crush on the little girl. The ad is for cellophane, a new invention in the 50's!


John and brother Peter, at the park under the George Washington Bridge


The young Simons family photo


Some random posts and journal entries from John:
On Facebook, posted Nov 21, 2017: 50 years ago today I left my home and friends and reported to Great Lakes Navel Training Center. The next 6 years was filled with school and 4 tours in Vietnam. 2 tours on the USS Bon Homme Richard CVA 31, and 2 tours on the USS Durham LKA 114. I saw things of great wonder and great sadness, I continue to have bad dreams to this day. I am so lucky to have a wonderful wife who loves and supports me. My wish for this time of year is an end to fighting and peace to those who are home from the fight.

From Facebook post on June 10, 2015: Today I have been married to the prettiest girl I ever saw for 20 years. It totally doesn't feel that long. I still remember how beautiful she looked in her wedding dress and thinking how did I get so blessed to have this girl in my life. My heart still smiles every time I see her. I am one lucky guy.

From Facebook June 14, 2014: Went for a ride with my son. Weather was perfect, new seat and foward controls worked great. We are going to Marseilles next Saturday will be the longest ride to date looking foward to the ride. Now it is time for a nap life is good.
From Facebook June 1, 2014: Today is my combination birthday and retirement party the whole family is here to celebrate had breakfast with my kids and grand kids from Germany my grandson and son . Went for a bike ride with my son to the lake and now home to get ready to party. We have water pistols for the grandchildren and me this should be fun until someone shoots grandma with the water pistol

John made a journal entry in October 2003, here are some of the entries

I am beginning this journal because the Chicago Cubs have a World Series shot so I figure hell will finally freeze over. If hell does finally freeze over I think that it is time that I put down my thoughts and my story while I still am able.

My father’s father was a great man. We called him Poppa in New Jersey, and he lived in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He worked in a plant and I don’t know what he did there but I remember him taking me up this catwalk that had a huge ventilator fan. He took out a Zippo lighter, lit it and held it in the powerful air stream. The lighter did not blow out. My Grandfather told me that Zippo lighters were the best in the world.

When I was young I was a model and Poppa had a picture of me from one of my ads that he kept on his writing desk. He told me that he looked at my picture every day and it made him smile. In the summer my brothers and sisters and cousins would go to Rockaway Beach with Poppa and Nana in New York. I would have to stay at home to be able to go to shoots for modeling. One day Poppa in New Jersey took me on a shopping spree and bought me a 3 stage Rock Ship model and a catcher’s mitt and baseball. I didn’t feel so bad about being left home after that. My Poppa in New Jersey was a sailor when he was young and served as a cook in the U.S. Navy. He told me he served in WWI. He was also bald but had 4 hairs that he combed over the top of his head using Vitalis to keep them in place. He told me all of his hair blew off during a hurricane when he was aboard ship. I believed every word he told me.

My Mother’s family was from New York City. Her father’s name was Nicholas Schneider. Her mother was Marion Schneider and her maiden name was Marion King. My mother had one brother named Robert who was called Bob. Her sisters were Irene, Helen, and Mary Jane. My Mother’s name is Madeline. My Mother’s father was called Poppa in New York and her mother was called Nana. Poppa in New York was a big man. He was 6’4”. He was always dressed very nice and on Sunday always wore a black Homberg hat. He seemed to know everybody because when we walked down the street people would always say “Hi Nick”.

I remember that we lived in a basement apartment, in the back of an apartment building that you walked through a tunnel to get to the back. There was a long sloping driveway in front of our apartment and a garden across the driveway. I lived there with my parents, my brothers Peter and Paul and my dog named Lucky. The teenage boys in the neighborhood in the summer would borrow a wrench from the gas station and open up the fire hydrants and all the kids would play in the spray. One time they got an old couch and sat on it in front of the hydrant. One of the other boys opened the hydrant and shot the couch all the way across the street. Peter and I shared a bed in one room and we used to scare each other at night by saying the flobadub was coming to get us. The flobadub was a puppet on the Howdy Doody Show. It was like a long dog with spots, floppy ears ad a long mouth and spots all over it. There is not much I remember about that place except that Lucky ran away. (I later found out my mother got rid of Lucky because he had fleas). I also had a Jack in the box that one day shot out of the box and the spring got caught on the light bulb on the ceiling. My Dad was not happy about that.

My Nana would watch Peter and Paul and my mother would take me on modeling jobs. I got into modeling by way of a child actress named Patty McCormick. She was quite famous at the time, staring in a play called The Bad Seed. We met her and her mother in Rockaway. I was represented by the William Schuller Agency. They changed my name to John Simmons because Simons sounded too Jewish. I had great fun modeling and traveled all over New York City and was sketched by Norman Rockwell. He painted the covers for a magazine called the Saturday Evening Post. My mother was very proud about that because he drew me to represent the All American Boy. I once did a shoot in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. I wore a knight’s helmet that a man had to hold from behind because it was so heavy. My mother loved the Met. I met many famous people including Art Carney from the Jackie Gleason Show. New York was a magical city full of bright lights and wonderful stores. I did a lot of work for Macys Department Store.

After I had been modeling for a while my parents bought a house at 143 West Clinton Ave in Bergenfield, New Jersey. Our phone number was Dumont5-4113. Across the street was Garden St. We played stick ball and football all the time. My best friend was Leroy Fox.