Friday, July 11, 2008

In Loving Memory of Simon John Yates

November 22, 1979 - July 3, 2008

Simon was a friend of my son's in Kissimmee, Florida. He was self-employed and did maintenance and carpentry work for a vacation resort community comprised of rental homes. Tragically, he was electrocuted while replacing a pool pump on a swimming pool at one of these rental homes. I never had the pleasure of meeting this young man of 28 years, but I had the opportunity, through my job, to speak with him by phone on occasion. He was a wonderful young man, dedicated to his family and to the rescue and care of exotic animals at a wildlife sanctuary owned and operated by his family.

To Simon John Yates, the entire world was a stage. An expressive, optimistic, and uninhibited individual, he was a performer in the theater of life. To everyone around him, he seemed to be eternally happy and willingly shared that joy with anyone whose life he touched. For Simon, bringing out the best in any situation was as easy as offering a smile, a witty remark or the twinkle of an eye. And with just those simple gestures, he could evoke the most pleasant of emotions. Simon really mastered the art of living and had great fun in doing so.

Simon was born and raised in Liverpool, England until 12 years of age, when his family moved to Florida in 1992. Even as a child, he had the ability to lift the spirits of all those around him. He was raised to be warm, caring and friendly. He couldn't help but capture everyone's attention.

Always a good playmate, Simon was easygoing and fun loving. He managed to lighten the mood wherever he was, even during family squabbles. He seemed to have a knack for bringing compromise and erasing tense situations. Due to a generous dose of common sense, he managed to find a satisfying solution to basic problems. He was raised with one sibling, a younger brother, James, 16.

All of Simon's playful good humor carried over from his childhood. He was possessed with an outgoing personality, a lively imagination and a mellowed enthusiasm for life that allowed him to be constantly on the go. As a result, he experienced a rather active childhood, and this suited him very well. He took part in tack and swimming, and he was also in the British Boys Brigade.

Ask anyone who knew him from school, and they would tell you that he was a class “cut-up.” He didn't do it to be unkind or to garner all the attention. Rather, he simply enjoyed others' laughter and the sounds of his friends having a good time. It could be said that for Simon, grades may not have been the most important thing to him, but he really did enjoy his school experience. Since experience was Simon's best teacher, he enjoyed hands-on learning and applying the “practical” approach to knowledge, rather than getting caught up in “theory.” Simon graduated from Poinciana High School in 1998. He enjoyed some courses more than others, having favorite classes and teachers. His favorite class in high school was swimming. He had an A+ in hall passes.

Simon never actually encountered a stranger in his dealings with people. He was drawn to individuals and crowds, using his gregarious, adaptable and outgoing personality to captivate his audience. This quality allowed him to continually develop new relationships, ever widening his circle of friends. Simon delighted in his role among his acquaintances, because he viewed them all as potential spectators for his performance. Whether it was a story, a joke, a song or just plain fooling around, Simon was always right at home putting on a show among his friends. He utilized his interest in others as a great way to connect with them. He loved sharing life and having his home filled with people he knew.

At work, as in life, Simon was a real “people person.” He had a very successful way of dealing effectively with others, and his enthusiasm and energy was often contagious. He liked to see himself as something of a virtuoso. When dealing with various projects and problems, Simon was an adaptable realist, using his common sense and trusting his experiences and impulses to uncover the correct answer. His talent for being a down-to-earth thinker allowed many around him to see him as an excellent problem solver. His primary occupation was in carpentry.

Simon enjoyed his leisure time by taking part in various hobbies. An “arts and crafts” type, Simon liked creating and making things. His favorite pursuits were water sports and working with animals. Simon was content to enjoy his hobbies alone but was also willing to share his interests with others.

Simon felt excited and challenged by sports. Even if he wasn't the best, he loved to participate and thoroughly enjoyed the competition and the pleasure of being around other people. He relished the opportunities where he could make an impact, and he would often push himself to play above his abilities. A quick thinker who understood the basics, he never seemed to get caught off guard, even when confronted with unexpected conflict. Recreational sports included softball and water sports. He was also something of a sports fan and enjoyed watching his favorite events whenever he got the opportunity.

Simon was a lover of animals and cherished his pets, enjoying them almost as much as he enjoyed being around other people. One of his favorites was his dog, Hennessey, a Doberman Pinscher. They were best friends for 9 years. His family was rounded out by his 4 large snakes.

Simon brought joy to all of those around him. He had not a mean bone in his body. He loved to have a good time and was an eternal optimist, always looking on the bright side of things. He loved to share his energy, wit, and his zest for all of his activities with his friends and family. Simon John Yates lived life to its fullest and made everyone around him happier just for knowing him. He will be remembered with a smile.


Diane@Diane's Place said...

So young, and such a short life to end so tragically.

God bless his family and all those who loved him and mourn him.

Love and hugs,


Lib said...

Oh Nancy, I am so sorry to hear of your Great Loss!!!!!!!
So Young, such a GREAT GUY!
May God give ya'll the strength to make it thru!

hippochick said...

How sad!! What a wonderful tribute.


Heidi said...

I am so sorry for the loss - espcially somthing so tragic! May God give him peace and to his family comfort....

Diane said...

This was such a tragedy. He was so young. His family needs lots of prayers. I know that Tim is saddened by the loss of his friend too.

It was a wonderful tribute.


PEA said...

Breaks your heart when you hear of such a young person losing their life in such a way. He certainly did live a full life and his loved ones can take comfort in knowing he lived life to the fullest while he was alive. My prayers are with his family and friends...such a tragic loss. xoxo

Reva said...

Since this young man is the same age as my daughter and step daughter, it is especially sobering. My mother died at the same age when I was almost 8 of an auto accident. It is never easy to lose a family member but I assure you, it is especially difficult losing a child. I lost my son at only 21 1/2 months old and it must be compounded by the years they knew and loved him. Tell your son, many people are thinking of him and his friends family.

Susie said...

Hi Nancy,
How sad to see a young life cut short right in its prime.
My thoughts and prayers are with those who mourn his passing..

Anonymous said...

Wow. What a tragic post.

It is a shame to lose one's life anytime but so young.

And such a giving man with many talents that touch my heart (animals).

I am guilty of this too, but I wonder why we are reluctant to talk about people like this when they are alive? I can think of several who fit a similar mold but I have never mentioned them.

Thanks for your many visits to my blog, Nancy. You are appreciated a lot more than you realize.

Abraham Lincoln
Brookville, Ohio

Mrs Mom said...

What a beautiful tribute Nancy. Such a shame that one so young has gone on before us- but maybe there was a need for him elsewhere to bring more joy and laughter...
Our thoughts and prayers are with your family and his.

Jess said...

Very touching post. And i can't believe how young he was...scares me to death!

Thanks for always being so kind on my blog...I missed this post too...don't know how.

Anyways, Have a great weekend and tell your furkids hello for me (maybe open up some treats or a can of tuna just from me) :)!

Grace Scott said...

Wow, what a sad thing - I will pray for his family. He was so young but sounds like he accomplished alot in his young life and left a great legacy. Hope you and all your kitties are well. Trying some of your recipes again this weekend. Take care Nancy.


zzop357 said...

When God calls, we go. It's sad he was called so young. My thoughts are with his family and friends. So sorry this happened though. I know your son will miss him dearly.
Take care and God bless, Donna

Anonymous said...

wow! very sweet animals naročitao this little pussy. this is really fantastic blog. you read in the future

Lucy Stern said...

So sorry to hear about the death of your sons friend. Simon sounds like a wonderful person, one that had a special gift of giving to others. I am sure his family and friends will miss him. I have a daughter that is 28 years old and it would be so sad to loose her so young. I know that his family is grieving and I will pray for them.

That was a very nice tribute to Simon.

Mary said...


My sincere sympathies to Simon's family and friends. How tragic that he lost his life at such a young age.

Your tribute to Simon's life if beautiful. I will keep his loved ones in my prayers.


Sammy said...

Oh Nancy, I am so, so sorry. This breaks my heart. I pray for his poor family, as well as for your son and all of the people mourning this tragic loss.


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BClark said...

It sounds as if he packed so much into his short life. I wonder how many people can have so many wonderful things said about them when they pass. His will be an indelible footprint. Thank you for sharing with us. Barbara

Anonymous said...

What does' narocitao 'mean?) Hmmmmm ... I'm sorry, used the term 'narocitao' is error should write is especially once again I would like my apology to You. a pleasant start of the new working week

Merle said...

Dear Nancy ~~ Lovely tribute to your son's friend, and it is such a tragedy when a young person dies.
What an awful shock for his family and friends, may they be comforted in
their sorrow. Thank you for your comments and I am so glad that you enjoy the jokes etc. Had a great visit with Connie (aka Meow), her husband and daughter. Take care, my friend, Love, Merle.

Anonymous said...

My name is Jeff and I knew Simon very well. You have put together a lovely tribute and it seems you know him better than just a few phone calls!! Simon worked for me when he started in construction as a carpenter back in 97 and soon had me hiring his friends.We have all been close friends since. He was quite a person and will be missed dearly.

Monogram Queen said...

I am filled with sorrow for this young man's family and friends. What a loss. He sounds like a wonderful person. RIP Simon.

Nancy said...

I would like to thank all of you who have left such consoling comments. Yes, Simon was a super young man and will be missed by many. I'm sure his family appreciates all the prayers that are being said for him. We know he is in a better place now and that we will all meet again someday. Rest in Peace, Simon. You are sadly missed and have left a mark on the hearts of everyone who knew you!

Love you!
Mama K

Midlife Mom said...

Oh Nancy, my heart breaks for this young man's family at this time. How tragic to lose this life at such a young age when he had so much to give. I guess we aren't meant to know all the answers and God knows what he is doing and we must take comfort in that. Thank you for such a lovely tribute to this fine young man!

PS Thank you for the sites on the swimmers ear!!! I have passed it on to my DIL and the other info you gave me too!!

Anonymous said...

Simon Was My Best Friend In the whole world I loved him like my own brother! when i needed he always was there for me and i miss him more than anything in the world. Every night i Talk to him i know he is listening, Some times i can here him talking to me when i close my eyes and really listen. when i talk to him at the end i always say please visit me in my dreams, And i Dream about him Everynight. I Love him with all my heart And i will continue! I LOVE SIMON AND ALWAYS WILL. 11, Mellissa

Anonymous said...

I became good friends with Simon over the years after buying a property at Trafalgar Village. We spoke frequently on the telephone and always met whenever we visited Florida. Simon was a great guy; reliable, friendly, competent and helpful and someone who could always be trusted. My wife and children and I, have all been terribly saddened by this tragedy and express our sincere condolences to Simon’s family and those closest to him.
Sean Gibson & family, Jersey City, NJ.

Anonymous said...

Me and Simon were great friends for the past decade. He was kind, generous, and always there for me when I needed him. He gave and gave and never once asked for anything in return. Each day I mourn him, knowing he was taken away far too soon. But I know I am a better man and a kinder human being for having known him so closely. I will miss him always. Thank you for the wonderful tribute to a truly wonderful soul.


Denise said...

Nancy- you could of not been more true of how you discribed Simon. I have known Simon since he was 7 Years old. We both are from Liverpool England. His parents are very close and dear to me. They are strong and are doing well as can be expected and I know they would love what you said about Simon. He was a special kind of guy, you dont cross paths with many like him. I miss him and the pain is still very raw to a lot of us but it brings me peace as I have just lost my mom due to cancer in April and I know he is being cared for by her and his grandparents. Once again Thank you. R.I.P Si, Love ya! Denise XXX

james h said...

my name is james and im 16 and i am simons brother. simon was the most kind caring person many people have ever met. every day i think of him and i begin to cry because of just how much i miss him. the last time i ever saw him me and him were joking around with each other about our day and then when we were done he left my room to return to work. i had no clue that would be the last time i saw him alive.i love him and miss him so much and i really appreciate this tribute to him nancy.

Minna said...

Thanks for writing this.